Stephanie Ferguson

Special Assistant to the President

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Hope Arrives for Some Unemployed

This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released the Senate GOP’s Targeted Relief Package. After months of stalemate, the Republican offer comes just one week before government funding runs out and a month before emergency pandemic unemployment programs end. Secretary Mnuchin has said that President Trump will sign this proposal into law, should it pass both Chambers of Congress.

The 12 Million Foot Unemployment Insurance Cliff

This holiday season is not so merry and bright for 20 million Americans who are currently claiming unemployment insurance benefits. The coming of the new year is especially grim for the 12 million individuals who are estimated to be left without any pandemic compensation come December 26, 2020. Now, more than ever, a relief package needs to be passed.

UI Fraud by the Numbers

The past month has been arduous for Coronavirus related negotiations. Numerous proposals have gone back and forth between Congress and the White House, but the goal of getting a bill done has yet to succeed.

One piece of the negotiations has been federal aid to state and local governments to meet various needs, such as COVID tracing and testing, support for schools and childcare, and, the focus of this blog, assistance for states to tackle unemployment insurance (UI) fraud.

A Push for Unemployment Tax Relief

Seven months into the Pandemic, states are beginning to grapple with the ramifications for their 2021 budgets. The mandatory shutdowns enacted by many governors in March also shut down revenue streams such as gas and sales taxes.  And of course, the dramatic spike in unemployment drained state unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds – the pool from which unemployment benefits are paid to claimants.

HEROES 2.0: Closer, but No Cigar

Despite a busy time filled with discussions about continuing resolutions, Supreme Court justice nominations, and presidential debates, House Democrats recently unveiled a revised version of the HEROES Act. The original version was passed through the house on May 15 but failed to reach a vote in the senate largely due the high price tag of $3 trillion. The cost of the revised version still comes in at $2.2 trillion, roughly 1 trillion dollars higher than legislation Senate Republicans previously proposed.

School is Back in Session. What that Means for PUA.

As the Pandemic persists and Election Day gets closer, debates surrounding the reopening of schools are heating up. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA) provided relief for caregivers who were unable to return to work because their child’s school or care center was closed due to COVID-19 through means of paid leave or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

Trump Offers UI Buffer, Congressional Action Still Needed

On Saturday, August 8, President Trump signed four Executive Orders addressing unemployment insurance, payroll taxes, evictions, and student loans. According to President Trump, the Executive Orders were a direct response to Congress’s stalemate over a Phase IV deal.

Senate GOP’s Vision for Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Released

Just days before the expiration of the $600 per week Unemployment Insurance (UI) plus up, the Senate Finance Committee released the American Workers, Families, and Employers Assistance Act, which is the economic assistance portion of the larger GOP bill, the Heath, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act. Here is what is proposed in the finance committee’s portion of the fourth stimulus package:

New Virginia Emergency Temporary Standard Sets Out Workplace Safety COVID-19 Requirements

The state of Virginia has become the first in the nation to impose COVID-19 workplace safety mandates and penalties. Yet despite Virginia’s attempt to be precise and comprehensive, questions remain.

Clarification Check: Congress Ensures Relief for Nonprofits

Since the passage of the CARES Act, the narrative surrounding the economic stimulus package has been centered on the essential support provided to businesses and unemployed individuals. One of the lesser known provisions in the CARES Act includes relief for nonprofit organizations. Last week, congress passed legislation ensuring that nonprofits can enjoy this benefit without having to cut through bureaucratic red tape.

UI and Returning to Work: What You Need to Know

Over the past week, dozens of states have begun to reopen, allowing businesses to partially resume operations. Restaurants, retailers, gyms, and other service-oriented industries are calling on employees to return. With this, workers who have sought unemployment benefits are questioning what returning to work looks like, and some are wondering if they actually have to go back. Recent guidance from the Department of Labor clears up this question.

California Expands Workers’ Compensation through New Executive Order

Yesterday, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order (EO) N-62-20. The Order significantly expands current workers’ compensation policy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes a slew of provisions that will likely lead to a surge in workers’ compensation claims, raising costs for employers, insurers, and the state.

UI Eligibility and the CARES Act

With the federal government having passed numerous Corona virus relief bills, there is naturally a fair amount of confusion about how to interpret and apply them. The expanded unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for displaced workers under the CARES Act are no exception. There is some basic information that workers and employers should know about UI.

VA Set to Pass Worker Misclassification Bill

This legislative session, the Virginia State Legislature has taken up numerous pieces of legislation dealing with worker classification, in other words, when a worker should be considered an employee or an independent contractor.

ABC Test Introduced in Virginia State Legislature

 

It is no surprise that certain states and groups want to impose burdensome regulations on business – but the current attack on independent contractors not only undermines successful business models, it also eviscerates the decision-making authority an individual has over himself.  

 

New DOL Regular Rate Rule Benefits Both Employees and Employers

The U.S.Department of Labor published today in the Federal Register the final rule for Regular and Basic Rates under the FLSA.