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COVID-19 Update March 13, 2021

Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Here’s a brief summary of some of the changes coming out of DC:

American Rescue Plan Highlights for Employers:

  • An extension of the Employee Retention Tax Credit through the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2021.
  • An extension of the tax credits for voluntarily providing FFCRA paid sick and family leave another two quarters – through Sept. 30, 2021.
  • An increase in the exclusion for employer-provided dependent care assistance for 2021 from $5,000 to $10,500.
  • A temporary subsidy of 100 percent for COBRA qualified beneficiaries where the employee’s qualifying event was an involuntary termination of employment or reduction in hours with the subsidy paid by the employer, plan, or insurer and reimbursed by the government through a refundable payroll tax credit.
  • A temporary elimination of the upper income limit for eligibility for premium tax credits in the ACA exchanges – which is currently set at 400 percent of the federal poverty level for 2021 and 2022 – and an increase in the amount of the premium tax credits by decreasing the amount that an individual must contribute to the cost of coverage.
  • An expansion of the eligibility guidelines for the PPP to allow more nonprofit entities to be eligible.
  • A direct subsidy of $28.6 billion set aside for restaurants to be administered by the SBA, with $5 billion of this amount set aside for restaurants with gross revenue of less than $500,000.

Extension of several unemployment provisions in the CARES, Family First, and CAA bills, including:

  • The waiver of interest on outstanding loans to states to pay unemployment compensation.
  • 100 percent federal reimbursement of regular extended unemployment benefits.
  • Additional funding for systems and to address fraud.

An increase in federal reimbursement credits to reimbursing employer accounts.

E-Verify Update

On March 4, 2021, E-Verify updated the Social Security Administration (SSA) Tentative Nonconfirmation (TNC) process.

Now, employees who receive an SSA TNC with a citizenship mismatch have the option to call DHS to resolve their cases instead of visiting an SSA field office.

Also, myUploads is a new feature from myE-Verify that helps employees and individuals electronically resolve their E-Verify DHS Tentative Nonconfirmations (TNCs) by uploading images of their documentation as a JPEG, PNG or PDF through a computer or smart device. 

New CDC Regulations for Vaccinated People

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public, like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing.
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings.
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers.
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.

For this guidance, people are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) or ≥ 2 weeks after they have a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen).

Proposed Joint Employer Rule on Ice

The DOL has proposed to formally rescind the joint employer rule, on the basis that it was “unduly narrow” and was in conflict with many judicial decisions across the country. Notably, no courts had ever adopted the standard contained in the final rule, and that most courts applied a “totality of the circumstances” methodology to the question rather than following a strict several-factor test. But, the DOL is accepting public comments, so we shall see how this goes.

Lastly, our safety team has put together some tips for surviving the spring season – don’t forget, tomorrow your clocks should “spring forward!”

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