COVID-19 Update January 15, 2021

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Happy Friday! Over the past two days, president-elect Joe Biden has given us a preview of how he will spend his first 100 days in office.

Last night, he unveiled a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan that offered a wish list of spending measures meant to help both the people and the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden spoke of sending another round of $1,400 checks for households that meet certain income thresholds, supplementing unemployment insurance with an extra $400/week, increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour, along with other financial measures to aid the communities impacted most. In addition, earlier today, he outlined the American Rescue Plan that includes opening up eligibility to get more people vaccinated, creating more vaccination sites, and taking measures to increase the supply and distribution of the vaccines. It will take a 60/40 vote to get it passed through the Senate, so think of this as the rough draft to what will actually be passed. If you have any questions about his proposal or the stimulus bill passed last month, please don’t hesitate to reach out as you might be eligible for certain tax credits.

Many employers are in the process of developing a vaccination strategy as we near public eligibility to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. SHRM has rounded up a group of responses from experienced HR professionals who shared their plans and approaches. If you’re interested in staying informed of the CDC’s testing data, click here to view their tracker.

Lastly, on January 6, the DOL issued a final rule reaffirming the economic reality test, rescinding any prior DOL guidance or ruling that is inconsistent with the rule and stating that businesses who rely on the rule are entitled to the good faith defense. Within the last few years, targeted misclassification lawsuits and government audits were commenced to challenge well-established industry practices using contractors. Examples include challenges to the use of independent owner-operators in the transportation industry, last-mile delivery drivers, and contractors working for online delivery services. The new rule addresses these industry practices by providing examples of how such contractors may remain independent.

Have a nice weekend!

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