President Trump last night signed into law a bipartisan bill extending a number of benefits set to expand on December 31, 2020 and expanding other pandemic relief benefits. A summary of the provisions which will impact individual employees and workplaces follows:
- FFCRA Emergency Sick and Family Leave benefits were not extended and will expire as originally scheduled. However, the bill makes an effort to encourage employers to continue providing flexible paid leave benefits by extending the tax credit, obtained through refundable payroll tax credits, for employers through March 31, 2021. The relief bill also extends a tax credit initially provided by the Tax Cuts and Job Acts of 2017 to family and medical leave benefits provided after December 2020 through December of 2025.
- PPP eligibility was expanded to include all nonprofits, including 501(c)(6) organizations, and an additional $284 billion was allocated for disbursement. Companies which have already received funds may be eligible to secure a second loan, and some funds will be set aside for the smallest businesses and community-based lenders. It was confirmed that those who received funds last year and received forgiveness will be allowed to deduct the costs covered by the loans on their federal tax returns.
- Stimulus Checks of up to $600 per person, including adults and children, will issue. The payments decrease in size for individuals who earned more than $75,000 in 2019 and are eliminated for those who earned more than $99,000.
- Unemployment Benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance are extended. An additional $300 per week for each individual collecting will be paid through March 14. Due to the delay in the President’s signing the bill, there will be a gap in payments. PUA is extended for an additional 11 weeks for those such as part-time and gig workers who would not otherwise qualify for unemployment.
- Health and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account funds with balances may be rolled over from 2020 to 2021 and from 2021 to 2022. Employers may also opt to allow employees to make a 2021 mid-year prospective change in contribution amounts.
- Student Loan Repayment Benefits paid by employers in amounts up to $5,250 annually will remain excludable from income through Dec. 31, 2025. The CARES Act temporarily allowed employers to provide such benefits to employees through Dec. 31, 2020. he $5,250 cap applies to both the new student loan repayment benefit as well as other educational assistance (e.g., tuition, fees and books) provided by the employer under current law.
- Moratorium on Evictions was extended to January 31. The bill also includes $25 billion in rental assistance.
As more information becomes available on individual provisions, addition updates will be provided on our COVID-19 Resource Page and in this blog.