Last week, President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law, which I voted for early last Saturday morning. This legislation responds to our health and economic crises by providing for paid sick leave, free testing of COVID-19, and expanded unemployment benefits.
Under this bill, small business will receive a refundable payroll tax credit to reimburse, dollar-for-dollar, wages to employees for paid sick leave and family and medical leave as a result of COVID-19. In order to ensure these expenses do not affect the cash flow of small businesses, the U.S. Treasury has announced “employers will be able to use cash deposited with the IRS to pay sick leave wages. Additionally, for businesses that would not have sufficient taxes to draw from, Treasury will use its regulatory authority to make advances to small businesses to cover such costs.”
Self-employed individuals are eligible for a tax credit of up to two weeks of sick pay at their average pay (with a cap) and up to 12 weeks of family leave pay at two-thirds their normal rate of pay if they are caring for children whose schools are closed due to COVID-19. Click here for a chart with more info.
The bill also allocates $1 billion this year for emergency administration grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, under certain conditions. $500 million of that is for states that experience a 10 percent percent increase in unemployment.
The bill also provides additional funding to ensure our most vulnerable have access to meals and food.
- $500 million is allocated for WIC and allows adult care centers to provide meals to go to eligible individuals.
- $250 million for the Senior Nutrition program in the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to serve approximately 25 million additional home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors who depend on the Senior Nutrition programs in their communities.
The bill also empowers the Department of Agriculture to approve state plans to provide emergency EBT food assistance to households with children who would otherwise receive free or reduce-priced meals if not for their schools being closed due to the coronavirus emergency. Floridians can text FLKIDSMEALS to 211-211 to find their closest participating Summer BreakSpot location, and can also call 2-1-1 to speak with a live operator 24 hours a day for additional locations.
Congressman Daniel Webster represents The Villages in the U.S. House of Representatives.