The CARES Act is aimed at reducing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by authorizing $2.1 trillion in aid to support various sectors of the economy.  It is huge and therefore will take expert examination in the coming weeks to interpret the fine print details.  For now, here are a few key things included that directly relate to our State:
  • Congress created Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) so laid-off workers will receive their calculated benefit plus an additional $600 per week in compensation. They also expanded unemployment insurance for those who might not typically qualify, like independent contractors. The law also waives waiting periods and extends the number of weeks federally funded unemployment insurance will be available.
  • The CARES package provides working families $1,200 in direct assistance and $500 for each child, available to individuals making less than $75,000, or families making less than $150,000.
  • More than $350 billion in emergency grants and forgivable loans to small businesses and nonprofits, including small business emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief to small businesses. Schools interested in the small business loan aspects of this bill should consult with their financial adviser and bank as soon as possible for more information regarding the process.
  • $150 billion relief fund to help strained local and state governments pay for the unexpected costs related to COVID-19— Washington state will receive at least $2.9 billion from this fund.
  • Additional funding for a number of programs, including education, housing, and childcare. as well as a moratorium on student loan payments through September 2020, with no interest accruing.
  • The bill also includes support for struggling industries that do right by their employees and live by certain conditions like keeping their employees on payroll.
The National Law Review has provided a pdf on the CARES Act and SBA Paycheck Protection Program which outlines Eligibility, terms and steps in applying for a PPP loan.
If your business has fewer than 50 employees, you may be able to apply for an exemption from the Secretary of Labor if providing either of the types of paid leave could “jeopardize the viability” of your business, according to the U.S. Department of Labor:
If providing child care-related paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave at my business with fewer than 50 employees would jeopardize the viability of my business as a going concern, how do I take advantage of the small business exemption?

“To elect this small business exemption, you should document why your business with fewer than 50 employees meets the criteria set forth by the Department, which will be addressed in more detail in forthcoming regulations.”