The latest federal COVID-19 relief bill continues some assistance to workers impacted by the pandemic. It will provide an additional $300 per week of unemployment benefits on top of state benefits through September 6, 2021. In addition, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits are still available to workers who are not normally eligible for unemployment benefits through September 3, 2021. This includes self-employed individuals, certain independent contractors, and “gig” employees.
Federal law no longer requires employers to provide paid sick leave for time needed because of COVID-19 related reasons, but the relief bill has extended the tax credits to employers who voluntarily do so. This means that if employers continue to provide paid sick time to workers to care for themselves or family members with the COVID virus or to care for children of closed schools, they will be eligible for repayment through tax credits. Employees should raise this with any employers not providing sick pay.