The American Rescue Plan Explained

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What Else You Need to Know about the COVID-19 Stimulus Package

Congress passed and President Biden recently signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, into law. In addition to stimulus checks of up to $1,400 that are being sent to eligible Americans, there are several major changes that business owners need to know about.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Extension

Previous legislation required employers, with a few exceptions, to provide paid leave for employees who needed to take COVID-related sick leave or child-care leave. Mandatory FFCRA leave expired on December 31, 2020. However, employers who continued to voluntarily provide paid leave were eligible for payroll tax credits through March 31, 2021. The Stimulus Package has extended that payroll tax credit through September 30, 2021 and expanded the qualifying reasons for FFCRA leave.

  • In addition to the previous reasons for FFCRA leave, if employers opt to provide such leave, employees may use FFCRA leave to: 
  1. obtain a COVID-19 vaccine; 
  2. recover from any illness or condition related to COVID-19 vaccine; or 
  3. seek or await the results of a COVID-19 diagnosis or test if either the employee has been exposed to COVID-19 or the employer requested the test or diagnosis.
  • The Stimulus Package also re-starts the 80 hour/10-day limit for emergency paid sick leave under the FFCRA on April 1, 2021.

Extension of Federal Unemployment Benefits

The Stimulus Package extends unemployment benefits until September 6, 2021 and provides an additional $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payment per week for each week of unemployment between March 14, 2021 and September 6, 2021. This $300 weekly benefit is in addition to any State unemployment benefits. In addition, the Stimulus Package waives federal taxes on the  first $10,200 of unemployment benefits received by individuals during 2020.

Expansion of Health Care Subsidies

The Stimulus Package expands Marketplace subsidies for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) yielding substantially lower premium payments for the vast majority of the nearly 15 million uninsured people who are eligible to buy on the Marketplace and the nearly 14 million people insured on the individual marketplace.

In addition, the Stimulus Package provides a federal subsidy of 100 percent of COBRA premiums for people who lose group health insurance coverage because of COVID-related layoffs or work reductions. 

Understanding How the Stimulus Package Impacts Business Owners

These are just a few of the provisions of the Stimulus Package that will impact business owners’ ability to hire and retain employees. An HR professional can help you with all of your human resource needs, including new legislation like the American Rescue Plan Act. From hiring the right employees, running background checks, creating employee handbooks that include anti-harassment policies and procedures, and so much more, Next Level Solutions can work with you to provide the services that you need to run your business.

For more information about our accounting and human resource services, contact Next Level Solutions at info@nextlevelsol.net or (225) 330-8347.