Earlier this year, the federal government passed the CARES Act, which was signed into law by President Trump on March 27th. The CAREs act provided government aid to business owners and out-of-work Americans. The CARES Act included the Paycheck Protection Program, as well as disaster relief funds for small businesses, a $1,200 stimulus check for all citizens under an annual income of $75,000.
Since this summer, both the Congress and the Senate have failed to agree on another bill that would help employees and small businesses who are still out of work and in need. The Republicans proposed the HEALS Act while the Democrats proposed the Heroes Act. Both of these bills included funds for the United States Postal Service, which is in danger of permanently closing. The impasse has continued, with a passing of the bill unlikely – according to political analysts. However, there is some thought that President Trump could use an executive order to get some of the things done that were hoped for with the previous bills. Here is what employers might see if this happens.
- Addressing layoffs and record-high unemployment. Industries like airlines have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, with many employees laid off.
- Extending federal unemployment aid. If executive actions do happen, the Trump administration could extend federal employment aid for up to the end of 2020.
- Payroll tax cuts. Trump has supported a payroll tax cut for businesses, with the intent of accelerating the growth of the economy without adding to the federal deficit.
- Liability protection. Trump and the majority Republicans have for businesses to shield them from lawsuits should patrons or people who come to businesses contract the COVID-19 virus at their establishments.
- A second stimulus check. If executive action is taken by the Trump administration, another $1,200 could be sent to people who make under $40,000 a year.
- Help for restaurants and other eateries. In many states, restaurants have either been forced to close or have only been allowed up to 50% capacity. The Real Economic Support That Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed To Survive (RESTAURANTS) Act was another bill that garnered support – but also failed to pass. If Trump uses executive orders, this could also be part of them.
Only time will tell if these bills will pass by the federal government. There are only about two more weeks until the House is scheduled to break for the Presidential election, while the Congress has three weeks. However, President Trump could use executive orders as a part of the campaign to garner votes for reelection.
One thing is for certain – virtual meetings and work-from-home will continue for most, if not all of the rest of 2020. And workplace healthcare coverage will continue to need updates and innovations. If you’re a self-funded employer with healthcare coverage who wants to add or explore options for adding stop-loss protection healthcare, don’t hesitate to give the stop-loss experts here at Prodigy a call.