Helpful COVID-19 Legislation and Resources

by Amy Tessmer

In recent days, there has been significant legislation enacted to help individuals and businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.

We have collated a succinct summary of the provisions from federal legislation and a list of resources for further information.  Since this is a rapidly evolving situation, this summary is not intended to be a comprehensive guide, but we hope that it will be a helpful starting point for our clients.

NB: Information provided in this article was correct at time of posting. We will be updating our COVID-19 News page frequently with more up to date information

Federal Legislation

The federal government has been working on three main phases of legislation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  The first two phases have become law, and the last phase is currently being debated among legislators.

Phase 1 – the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (H.R. 6074) provides funding for vaccines, medical equipment, staffing and other items in the fight against COVID-19.

Phase 2 – the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) provides relief to individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.  The provisions generally apply to employers with less than 500 employees and go into effect on April 1, 2020.  We have collated a few of the highlights that may be relevant:

  • The act expands paid family leave to be provided by employers to employees that are unable to work (or telework) due to school and daycare closures resulting from the public health emergency.The first ten days of leave are unpaid (but the employee may substitute accrued vacation, personal leave, or the paid sick leave (explained below) for the unpaid leave).  After ten days, up to an additional ten weeks of paid leave is to be provided by the employer.  See the bill for specific provisions and for the calculation of the amount of paid leave.
  • It provides funding to state unemployment programs.Unemployment programs are run by each state government. Please refer to this website to check state requirements.
  • It requires employers to provide employees with two weeks of paid sick time if the employee is unable to work (or telework) due to illness, suspected illness (including required quarantine or isolation), caring for someone with illness, or caring for children that are out of school or daycare.
  • Employers may claim reimbursable payroll tax credits for the paid sick time and paid family leave time that is provided to employees as required under the provisions summarized above.The credit available is also increased by the amount of qualified health plan expenses that are allocable to the sick/leave period.  There are also provisions that allow self-employed individuals to claim the tax credits.  See the bill for specific provisions.
  • We have collated additional resources that may be a helpful reference:

For additional information on Phase 2 of the federal legislation, you can download a copy of the bill here.

Phase 3 – at the time of writing this article, it is too early to predict what the final provisions may be and when this bill may become law.  Phase 3 is expected to include direct payments to individuals, small business loans, additional funding of unemployment benefits, and additional loans for companies most affected by the crisis.  Stay tuned to our COVID-19 News page for more information.

 Links to Other Resources and State Websites

In addition, we have collated useful links to other resources and state-specific information:

Your TPC team will endeavor to help collate and summarize useful information as we navigate the ever-evolving changes brought on by coronavirus. Please check our COVID-19 News page and feel free to call your planner – we are here to help.


 

Amy Tessmer, CFO, operates out of the Quad Cities office of The Planning Center, a fee-only financial planning and wealth management firm.

Email her at: amy@theplanningcenter.com.

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