In a recent speech, President Joe Biden outlined a proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus package to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and provide economic relief. Billed as the American Rescue Plan, below we have highlighted key items set forth in his proposal.
Paid sick and family leave benefits that expired at the end of December would be reinstated under Biden's proposal through Sept. 30. It would extend the benefit to those employed at businesses with more than 500 employees and less than 50, as well as federal employees excluded from the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Employers with fewer than 500 workers could be reimbursed for the cost of providing the leave.
Assistance for Small Businesses
Biden's proposed plan also calls for $15 billion to create a new grant program for small-business owners, separate from the existing Paycheck Protection Program. In addition, he proposes making a $35 billion investment in some state, local, tribal and nonprofit financing programs that make low-interest loans and provide venture capital to entrepreneurs.
Enhanced Unemployment Aid
An unemployment insurance supplement of $400 per week extended through Sept. 30, an increase from the current $300 supplement set to expire on March 14.
Increased Minimum Wage
Increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 from $7.25 per hour.
Large Rescue Package
The proposal contains more than $400 billion to fight the pandemic, with money to speed vaccine deployment and safely reopen schools. Another $350 billion would help state and local governments, and also include $1,400 direct payments to individuals.
Action Steps for Employers
The Biden administration is expected to act upon a stimulus package soon now that he is in office. We will continue to provide updates as more details become available.
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This regulatory update is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel for legal advice.