The recently-enacted C.A.R.E.S (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act provides some additional assistance to workers who have lost their employment due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
According to the House Ways and Means Committee, the federal government would provide a temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of $600/week through July 31, 2020, for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation (UC) benefits. The FPUC would be paid in addition to and at the same time (but not necessarily in the same check) as regular state or federal UC benefits. The FPUC, combined with the underlying state unemployment benefit, would replace 100 percent of wages for the average U.S. worker. The federal supplement would not affect eligibility for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. State Unemployment Compensation programs would be fully reimbursed for the cost of administering the supplement and for the cost of the supplement itself.
The federal government would temporarily provide full funding for states with Short-Time Compensation or “work sharing” programs, in which employers voluntarily make an agreement with the state unemployment office to prevent layoffs by reducing employee hours, and workers with reduced hours are eligible for partial state UC benefits. States currently bear the full cost of these arrangements. States would receive $100 million for work sharing program promotion and enrollment of employers, and for implementation or improved administration.
More information on “work sharing” programs can be found here.
Read Complete Payroll's article about NY State's Shared Work Program.
All states would be eligible to provide an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who need beyond what is provided for in state and federal law.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Following the Model of the Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program.
States would be permitted to expand eligibility to provide unemployment compensation to workers
who are not normally eligible for benefits, so long as their unemployment was connected to the COVD-19 pandemic, as determined by the state and the Department of Labor. Expanded eligibility would provide benefits to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, “gig economy” employees, and individuals who were unable to start a new job or contract due to the pandemic. Individuals would apply for these temporary new federal benefits at the state UC office, and states would be fully reimbursed for the cost of benefits and administration.
Most nonprofits, Indian Tribes, and governmental entities do not pay per-worker unemployment
taxes and instead have “reimbursable arrangements” with state unemployment programs, which require them to reimburse the state for 100 percent of the cost of unemployment compensation paid to their furloughed or laid-off workers. During the period of the national emergency, the federal government would pay 50 percent of the reimbursement for those workers so that their employers could follow public health recommendations. Workers at these organizations are also eligible for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation supplement as mentioned above ($600 a week).