Employment Law Update December, 2020
December, 2020, closes out a long year that has seen a number of developments in the area of employment law. Undoubtedly, the major headline heading into the New Year is that President Trump has signed the COVID-19 economic relief bill passed by Congress. The following are a few notable takeaways from the new law:
- The sick leave available to employees through the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) is not extended. However, employers who voluntarily provide paid sick leave will be still receive a tax credit for doing so through March 2021.
- There is an additional allocation to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of $284 billion. New loans under the extension are capped at $2 million, as opposed to $10 million under the previous program. Applicants must have no more than 300 employees, instead of up to 500 under the previous program, and must demonstrate at least a 25% drop in gross receipts from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the same period this year. Also, PPP eligibility is expanded to include all nonprofits.
- Taxpayers are permitted to rollover unused amounts in their health and dependent care flexible spending arrangements from 2020 to 2021 and from 2021 to 2022. Employers are also permitted to allow employees to make a change mid-year in 2021 to contribution amounts.
- Two Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) unemployment programs have been extended for 11 weeks. The provision provides $300 per week for workers receiving unemployment benefits through March 14, 2021. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is extended, with expanded coverage for independent contractors and the self-employed. The Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program (PEUC) provides additional weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to individuals who exhaust their state benefits. The provisions also increase the maximum number of weeks an individual may claim unemployment benefits through state unemployment plus the PEUC program, which is now up to 50 weeks.
Jeff Burke is an attorney at MacElree Harvey, Ltd., working in the firm’s Employment and Litigation practice groups. Jeff counsels businesses and individuals on employment practices and policies, employee hiring and separation issues, non-competition and other restrictive covenants, wage and hour disputes, and other employment-related matters. Jeff also represents businesses and individuals in employment litigation such as employment contract disputes, workforce classification audits, and discrimination claims based upon age, sex, race, religion, disability, sexual harassment, and hostile work environment.