U.S. CARES Act: unemployment benefits expanded

The United States Congress has passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748) (the CARES Act) to respond to the medical and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among a host of provisions designed to provide financial assistance to individuals and organizations, including small business relief (click here for our bulletin) and corporate tax provisions relevant to foreign investors in the United States (read more here), the CARES Act includes unemployment insurance provisions that temporarily expand unemployment coverage and benefits through December 31, 2020.

Among other things, the Act:

  • extends unemployment benefits to persons not traditionally eligible, such as independent contractors and self-employed persons, who certify they are unable to work as a result of the coronavirus public health emergency;
  • adds $600 per week to the unemployment benefits provided by state law;
  • provides funding to encourage states to waive one-week waiting periods for unemployment benefits;
  • provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to persons who exhaust their benefits under state law; and
  • provides funding to states to support “short-time compensation” programs, under which employers reduce employee hours instead of laying workers off, and provides prorated unemployment benefits to those employees.

Read all our coronavirus-related updates on our COVID-19 guidance for organizations resource page.

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