With President Biden’s inauguration this week, his American Rescue Plan is an initiative to “change the course of the pandemic, build a bridge towards economic recovery, and invest in racial justice.” Costing $1.9 trillion, its goals are to rescue the economy and beat the Coronavirus. While this plan highlights many areas where aid will be allocated, here are some of the changes that employers and HR professionals are likely to encounter.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) likely will be mandatory again — and expanded. This expanded FFCRA would:

o Eliminate exemptions for employers with more than 500 employees and less than 50 employees and include healthcare workers and first responders in the pool of employees eligible for these benefits.
o Provide expanded paid sick, family, and medical leave (over 14 weeks) to help employees in need of additional time off because of changes made during the pandemic, exposure to the virus, or needing time off to get the vaccine.
o Expand emergency paid leave to include federal workers.
o Provide a maximum paid leave benefit of $1,400 per week for eligible workers.
o Reimburse employers with fewer than 500 employees for the cost of this leave.
o Reimburse local and state governments for the cost of this leave.
o Extend emergency paid leave measures until September 30, 2021.

Unemployment insurance will be expanded again, with the Administration seeking a $400-per-week unemployment insurance supplement to help workers and self-employed individuals cover their expenses.

Small business funding will be expanded to allow them to reopen and rebuild by:

o Providing grants to more than one million of the hardest-hit small businesses in the form of $15 billion in equitably-distributed grants to help these businesses get back on their feet and rebuild.
o Leveraging $35 billion in government funds into $175 billion in additional small business lending and investment.

Empowering OSHA to issue a COVID-19 Protection Standard so that workers who are not typically covered by OSHA receive protection from unsafe working conditions and retaliation.

While President Biden’s American Rescue Plan outlines many more proposals and initiatives, we wanted to focus on the employment-related side of this agenda. As more updates become available, you can find them here.

As of now, if you have any questions about how these new policies could impact your business, don’t hesitate to reach out to The Coppola Firm.