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The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the ‘‘CARES Act’’ is a $2 trillion package that provides relief for workers, small business and industries impacted in recent weeks by the coronavirus outbreak. The Act, as approved by the House, also includes health provisions to address the COVID-19 outbreak, including funding for healthcare supply shortages, coverage of diagnostic testing, and support for healthcare providers and telehealth services.
The 800 page bill is available here. It now goes to the House for approval.
If the bill is passed into law, some implications for employers include:
  • Eligibility for a 50 percent refundable payroll tax credit on wages paid up to $10,000 during the crisis. The credit could be claimed for employees who are retained but not currently working due to the crisis for firms with more than 100 employees, and for all employee wages for firms with 100 or fewer employees.
  • $350 billion allocated for the Paycheck Protection Program, which is meant to help small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) make payroll and cover other expenses through June 30. Small businesses may take out loans up to $10 million and in some instances the loans may be forgiven.
  • Social Security payroll tax payments may be delayed until January 1, 2021.
  • Forbes reports that the CARES Act also expands access to Economic Injury Disaster Loans under Section 7(b) of the Small Business Act to include not only businesses with fewer than 500 employees, but also sole proprietors and ESOPs. For any loan made under this program before December 31, 2020, no personal guarantee will be required on loans below $200,000.

The Act also includes the issuance of stimulus checks to taxpayers, putting nearly $507 billion in cash into the hands of most adult Americans.