ARPA Coronavirus Relief Bill Provides Renewed Aid to Businesses
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill signed into law on March 11, 2021, provides a broad range of assistance to: individuals, including a new round of direct stimulus payments and extended unemployment benefits; federal, state and local government; and businesses. It also provides numerous extensions to aid offered under previous initiatives (such as CARES and FFCRA).
Assistance for businesses includes:
$7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program
$15 billion for the SBA’s Emergency Injury Disaster Loan program; severely impacted small businesses with fewer than 10 workers will be given priority for some of the funds
$25 billion for small and mid-sized restaurants
$1.25 billion for the SBA’s Shuttered Venue Operators grant program
$175 million to create the Community Navigator Program to increase awareness of COVID-19 relief programs for business owners currently lacking access
Overall, Hawaii will benefit from at least $6.1 billion in estimated funding.
Extensions to aid offered under previous initiatives include:
Employee retention tax credit has been extended through Dec. 31, 2021
Employers have the option to extend emergency paid leave through Sept. 30, 2021.
Emergency paid sick leave (EPSL):
Qualifying conditions have been expanded to include getting a COVID-19 vaccine, and recovering from adverse reactions to the vaccine.
A new 10-day bank of EPSL (previously extended through March 31, 2021) will be available for use starting April 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2021
Emergency family and medical leave (EFMLA):
Qualifying conditions have been expanded to match those for EPSL
The entire EFMLA period (of up to 12 weeks) may be paid; the unpaid two-week provision has been deleted. The per-employee EFMLA tax credit has been increased to $12,000
Dependent care exclusion for employer-provided assistance increased from $5,000 to $10,500 for 2021 only
Employees who receive or are eligible to receive COBRA coverage from April 1 – Sept. 30, 2021, may receive a 100% subsidy paid by the federal government
Employees already on COBRA, as well as those who were eligible but declined (retroactive to Nov. 1, 2019), are eligible for subsidies
Employers may claim tax credits for subsidized COBRA premiums
Employers must provide timely written election and expiration notices to eligible individuals; model notices and further guidance are expected from USDOL and the IRS