Coronavirus and Employment Law (Part 3)
As part of its continued effort to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Congress has passed new legislation titled the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) that contains significant provisions that impact the workplace
Enhanced Unemployment Benefits
The CARES Act provides significantly greater unemployment benefits during the crisis. Specifically, the new law enhances (1) the categories of workers eligible to receive benefits, (2) the amount of benefits available, and (3) in some cases, the duration of payment.
In terms of eligibility, the CARES Act makes unemployment benefits available to many who typically are not eligible. Included are self-employed workers, independent contractors, and certain individuals who do not meet the standard tenure and hours minimums for eligibility. Those who now qualify may seek up to thirty-nine (39) weeks of benefits during the remainder of 2020 in the event that their job loss is caused by circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The most notable change is the amount of benefits employees can receive. In addition to sums provided under state law, employees can receive an additional $600 per week until July 31, 2020. This increase may make the prospect of drawing benefits more attractive to employees, and may provide employers with the ability to furlough employees without creating extreme financial hardship.
Finally, the new law allows for an additional thirteen (13) weeks of emergency unemployment benefits for employees who exhaust their entitlement under state and federal law.
Employees seeking to assess their eligibility or apply for benefits should access the Florida Reemployment Assistance website, FloridaJobs.org.
Small Business Loans/Employment Incentives
The CARES Act also provides access to loans for small business concerns, and provides incentives, through loan forgiveness or credits to businesses based upon the number or percentage of employees retained, the amount of the loan funds used for payroll, and the employer’s reinstatement of workers at the conclusion of the crisis. Your financial planners should study these new requirements and opportunities, as they may provide a benefit to both employers and employees.
Our firm will continue to assist clients in navigating this ever-changing landscape. Please stay tuned to this site for additional updates, and feel free to contact our offices with questions or concerns.