CARES Act creates new and temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program,  provides other relief
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Friday, March 27, 2020

CARES Act creates new and temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program,  provides other relief

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

On Wednesday, March 25, the Senate passed the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act, which is part of Division A of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. As we go to press, the House must still review and vote on the legislation, however.

Highlights of the Relief for Workers Act, including information on the temporary Pandemic  Unemployment Assistance program, are as follows:

Section 2102. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This section creates  a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.

Section 2103. Emergency Unemployment Relief for Governmental Entities and Nonprofit Organizations. This section provides payment to states to reimburse  nonprofits, government agencies, and Indian tribes for half of the costs they incur through December 31, 2020 to pay unemployment benefits.

Section 2104. Emergency Increase in Unemployment Compensation Benefits.  This section provides an additional $600 per week payment to each recipient  of unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for up to four months.

Section 2105. Temporary Full Federal Funding of the First Week of Compensable Regular Unemployment for States with No Waiting Week.  This section provides funding to pay the cost of the first week of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 for states that choose to pay recipients as soon as they become unemployed instead of waiting  one week before the individual is eligible to receive benefits.

Section 2106. Emergency State Staffing Flexibility. This section provides states with temporary, limited flexibility to hire temporary staff, re-hire former staff, or take other steps to quickly process unemployment claims.

Section 2107. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. This section provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of state unemployment benefits are no longer available.

Section 2108. Temporary Financing of Short-Time Compensation Payments in States with Programs in Law. This section provides funding to support “short-time compensation” programs, where employers reduce employee hours instead of laying off workers and the employees with reduced hours receive a pro-rated unemployment benefit. This provision would pay 100 percent of the costs they  incur in providing this short-time compensation through December 31, 2020.

Section 2109. Temporary Financing of Short-Time Compensation Agreements. This section provides funding to support states which begin short-time compensation programs. This provision would pay 50 percent of the costs that a state incurs in providing short-time compensation through December  31, 2020.

Section 2110. Grants for Short-Time Compensation Programs. This section provides $100 million in grants to states that enact short-time compensation  programs to help them implement and administer these programs.

Section 2111. Assistance and Guidance in Implementing Programs. This  section requires the Department of Labor to disseminate model legislative  language for states, provide technical assistance, and establish reporting  requirements related to short-time compensation programs.

Section 2112. Waiver of the 7-day Waiting Period for Benefits under the  Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. This section temporarily eliminates  the 7-day waiting period for railroad unemployment insurance benefits  through December 31, 2020 (to make this program consistent with the change made in unemployment benefits for states through the same period in an earlier section of this subtitle).

Section 2113. Enhanced Benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. This section provides an additional $600 per week payment  to each recipient of railroad unemployment insurance or Pandemic  Unemployment Assistance for up to four months (to make this program consistent with the change made in unemployment benefits for states in an earlier section of this subtitle).

Section 2114. Extended Unemployment under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. This section provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020 to help those who remain unemployed after weeks of regular unemployment benefits are no longer available (to make this program consistent with the change made in unemployment benefits for  states in an earlier section of this subtitle).

Section 2115. Funding for the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General  for Oversight of Unemployment Provisions. This section provides the Department of Labor’s Inspector General with $25 million to carry out audits, investigations,and other oversight of the provisions of this subtitle.

Section 2116. Implementation. This section gives the Secretary of Labor the ability to issue operating instructions or other guidance as necessary in order  to implement the subtitle, as well as allows the Department of Labor to waive Paperwork Reduction Act requirements, speeding up its ability to gather necessary information from states (CARES Act Section-by-Section Analysis, March 2020).

 

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