COVID-19

Government Resources: Federal Level

   

Jump to:

United States

Canada

NPMA continues to monitor the situation in the US and Canada to provide updates on any legislation or regulations that could affect our industry. If you have any questions on federal activity, please contact Ashley Amidon, NPMA's VP of Public Policy.
 

United States

 

Democratic COVID Package Moving Quickly; Expect Passage in March
Posted 2/9/21

Text was released late in the evening on 2/8, and committees will begin marking up on 2.10. Democrats have indicated they want this package done prior to March 14th, as that is when some programs expire. The bill is widely expected to pass, although some provisions may be added or removed.

This bill is not final, and significant changes can be made in either the House or Senate, or during the conference process.

It is also important to note that text has been released piecemeal, so additional tranches of text may be forthcoming.

For those interested in the process: Democrats have used a process known as reconciliation to prepare a COVID bill that can pass the Senate with only the Democrats voting in favor. Currently, Democrats have 50 votes and with the filibuster still in play, they would need 60 votes to pass legislation. There is a special process called budget reconciliation that would require only 50 votes to pass (with Vice President Harris providing the tie-breaking vote.) Originally created in 1974 and further refined by the Byrd rule, its intent and effect must be on the federal budget. Under this process, a congressional resolution is passed instructing committees to draw up legislation to an exact fiscal parameter, which then empowers Congress to write and pass legislation to that exact number. For example, if the resolution says the bill will cost $1.9 trillion it cannot be under and it cannot be over that. Because Congress passes one budget resolution a year, budget reconciliation also happens once a year.

This is all relevant because the Democrats are moving this process along to use on COVID legislation. The legislation has a price tag of $1.9 trillion and the closest the Republican proposal came was $600 billion, so while Biden met with the GOP Senators, the Democrats are moving ahead with their larger piece of legislation. Because the vote threshold is normally 60 votes, reconciliation is the only option to pass this with purely Democratic votes.

 

Individuals

Funeral assistance: Under the President’s emergency declaration from 3/20/20, funds shall be made available to individuals or families who need funeral assistance. No cap or process for requesting is laid out.

Child Care Assistance: Childcare assistance would be provided to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential by public officials, without regard to income eligibility. This could conceivably have an impact on the pest management sector, as states would determine how widely this would be available for categories of workers considered essential.

Expansion of Child Tax credit: the credit shall be expanded to include 17-year-olds and will be $3000 per child aged 6-17 years and $3600 for children under 6. This shall be paid in monthly installments over the calendar year. Income thresholds would apply.

Earned Income Tax Credit for those without children: this would lower the age at which the credit can be taken and would remove the maximum age. It would also increase the amount that can be taken as a credit.

Unemployment insurance extension: An additional $400 shall be extended per week through August 29, 2021. Individuals shall be eligible for up to 48 weeks of this funding.

Renter’s/Owner’s Assistance:

  • Renters: funding is allocated to reimburse states for funding given to renters and owners who need assistance with: rent, rental arrears, utilities and home energy cost or arrears, and other expenses related to housing which are not specified. Households cannot receive this assistance for more than 18 months, and it is not clear if this includes retroactive assistance. None of this assistance shall be counted as income for tax purposes. Individuals and families must meet certain requirements to be eligible.
  • Owners will also receive assistance for mortgage or mortgage arrears, utilities, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, internet service, and homeowner’s association fees.

Direct Checks: Adults will receive $1400 each ($2800 if filing jointly) if their income is $75,000 ($150,000 if filing jointly or $112,500 if filling as head of household). Taxpayers will also receive $1400 per dependent. This money may not be garnished in any way.

 

Businesses

Minimum Wage Increase: This bill makes many changes dealing with minimum wages. [It is worth noting that the future of this provision is unclear, and it is considered one of the provisions most likely to be removed due to opposition. That’s not to say it has not chance, simply that it is contentious.]

The minimum wage would be raised on the following schedule:

  • $9.50 an hour upon this law going into effect
  • $12.50 beginning 2 years after the law’s effective date (2023)
  • $14.00 an hour beginning 3 years after effective date (2024)
  • $15.00 an hour, beginning 4 years after effective date (2025)
  • Annually thereafter the wage would rise based on a series of factors, rounded up to the nearest $0.05.

For tipped employees, the wage would be a minimum of $4.95. For employees less than 20 years old, the minimum wage paid would be $6.

For employees with disabilities, the wage schedule would be as follows:

  • $7.50 an hour upon this law going into effect
  • $10.00 beginning 2 years after the law’s effective date (2023)
  • $12.50 an hour beginning 3 years after effective date (2024)
  • $15.00 an hour, beginning 4 years after effective date (2025)
  • Annually thereafter the wage would rise based on a series of factors, rounded up to the nearest $0.05.

Small Business Support: Funding would be provided through the State Small Business Credit Initiative Act (more information available here.)

Paid Leave Changes: The bill would make the following changes around paid leave.

  • Paid sick leave for employees obtaining immunizations.
  • Extension of tax credits for employers offering sick leave and family leave through October 1, 2021.

PPP Changes: 501 (c)(6) organizations will be eligible for a second draw PPP loan and PPP funding is increased.

EIDL: Provides additional funding for EIDL program and allows for additional EIDL to businesses that have already taken one. Also ensures that EIDL funds are not considered taxable for individuals.

Tax Credits: The employee retention credit is extended through January 1, 2022.

Community Funding: Up to $450 billion in funding to communities that have suffered economic injury as a result of job losses in the travel, tourism, or outdoor recreation sectors. This amount will be determined by measuring the change in economic activity, using data like unemployment claims and GDP.

 

Miscellaneous Provisions of Interest

  • Defense Production Act: Under the DPA, funds are allocated for creation and dissemination of protective equipment and testing.
  • Funding for schools and colleges
  • Funding for airlines and airport
  • Grant program for restaurants. Unfortunately, the disinfection tax credit is not included, and no money can be used for disinfection services, only supplied.
     

Not Included

  • Limiting of Liability/Safe harbor provisions: previous GOP COVID bills introduced included a safe harbor provision for businesses that act in accordance with state and local guidelines. Essentially, it would have held that businesses who acted in good faith would not be subject to criminal suits related to COVID. However, Democrats have not supported this and generally viewed it as a non-starter. This is not included in the package.
     

What’s Next?

NPMA is tracking this process closely and will continue to provide updates. Bill text is expected to change between release of text and passage. For questions, contact NPMA's VP of Public Policy, Ashley Amidon, at aamidon@pestworld.org.

 

 

 

Canada

5.4.20 Canadian Federal Update

The Canadian Government has created helpful links and guides to provide direction to businesses affected by COVID-19. 

Support for Businesses: collection of resources available here.

These links cover avoiding layoffs and rehiring employees as well as access to credit. Support is provided to both small and medium sized enterprises, with specific support also available for self-employed individuals.

Guidance Documents for Businesses

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): For businesses and employees: For both employers and employees who want guides to their rights and responsibilities under COVID specific legislation and regulation.

Risk-informed decision-making for workplaces/businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic: For businesses that are considered essential and are therefore still operating as well as for businesses who will reopen in the short term.

Support for Individuals: collection of resources here.

These links cover items including additional funds for individuals to cover pay loss, extension of tax deadlines, mortgage payment deferral and others programs.

 

3.26 Canada & COVID: C-13 Becomes Law

Wednesday, March 25 Bill C-13 became law in Canada after extensive last-minute negotiations. The bill provides funding for individuals and businesses hurt by COVID-19 and expands the government’s ability to support those affected in the future.

There were multiple concerns that this package drastically expanded the power of the government and so became very contentious this week. Several problematic proposals were changed at the 11th hour to allow passage, including the removal of a provision that would have let the finance minister raise taxes without parliamentary approval.

Included are several important provisions on oversight and spending:

  • Cabinet ministers can spend any amount of money they deem needed in a public health emergency through Sept. 30, 2020.
  • The Finance Minister will begin biweekly reporting to Parliament starting next week to provide a status update on how the funding is being used.

Support for Individuals: Last week two different emergency benefits were announced and through this bill have puttied together and renamed The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Under the program, individuals can receive up to $2,000 a month for the next four months, with an online portal up for applications on or about April 6th, which checks received within 10 days of applying. This benefit will apply to any Canadian out of work due to reasons related to COVID-19, including for sickness, quarantine, caregiving, staying home to take care of children, furloughed workers, those who are still technically employed but not receiving income. The benefit would cover wage-earners, contract workers, self-employed and gig industry individuals. This would apply whether an individual is eligible for unemployment insurance or not. This is a taxable benefit.

Support for Small & Medium Sized Businesses

Formed earlier in March this year, the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) will allow the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Export Development Canada (EDC) to provide more than $10 billion of additional support, largely targeted to small and medium-sized businesses.  This program will allow BDC and EDC to work with private lenders and help individual businesses. Companies interested in taking part can get more information here and can contact their lending institutions to get started.

C-13 also provides eligible small employers a temporary wage subsidy for a period of three months (March 18, 2020 through June 19, 2020) based on a formula within the legislation.

Click here for the latest information on Canadian Government actions surrounding COVID-19.

 

NPMA Special Alerts

 

Other Resources