COVID-19 Response Legislation
AGD is reviewing the economic stimulus package to provide details on how they provide relief to general dentists.
H.R. 6074—Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020
President Trump on March 6 signed an $8.3 billion funding package. The enacted law includes $1 billion in loan subsidies that can be used to help small businesses affected by the outbreak. The loans are to be administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). A dental practice that meets SBA’s definition of a small business would qualify. More information is expected in the third phase stimulus bill.
H.R. 6201—Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Summary: Passed March 18. This bill addresses funding for virus testing, paid emergency leave, enhanced unemployment benefits, food assistance and increased funding for low-income health insurance. In addition, the following points may be of particular interest to general dentists.
Paid Sick Leave: The requires private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees and government employers to provide employees with two-weeks of paid sick leave (80 hours for full-time employees and typical number of hours over two-weeks for part-time employees).
Eligibility: The paid sick leave is available to any employee without regard to duration of employment if they are out to:
- Self-isolate because they have coronavirus,
- Obtain a diagnosis because they are exhibiting symptoms,
- Comply with an order by a health care professional to stay away from work,
- Care for a family member facing the instances mentioned above, or
- Care for children if schools are closed or their caregiver is unavailable because of a public health emergency.
Rate of Pay: Employees are compensated at the higher of their regular rate, the federal minimum wage, or the local minimum wage. However, if the employee is absent to care for a sick family member or a child unable to attend school, they are compensated at 2/3 of the rate they would otherwise receive.
Relationship to Existing Programs: This paid sick leave is in addition to whatever sick leave is already offered by the employer (including subject to state or local requirements). Once this legislation is enacted an employer may not make changes to its sick leave policy.
Effective Dates: The provision takes effect not later than 15 days after enactment of the bill and sunsets on December 31, 2020.
Funding: Each quarter, private sector employers subject to the requirement are entitled to a fully refundable tax credit equal to 100% of the qualified sick leave wages paid by the employer. Qualified sick leave wages are capped at $511 per day ($200 per day if the leave is for caring for a family member) and 10 days. The tax credit is applied against employer Social Security taxes, but employers are reimbursed if their costs for qualified sick leave exceed the taxes they would owe. The Treasury Secretary is provided with regulatory authority intended to help with cash flow issues, for example by waiving penalties on failing to deposit payroll taxes in anticipation of the credit.
Self-Employed: There is a similar tax credit against self-employment taxes for individuals who are self- employed but would otherwise qualify for paid sick leave if they were an employee of an employer.
Both leave provisions sunset on December 31, 2020. Under the bill, these employers can fully recover the wages paid for this leave through refundable tax credits.
>> AGD continues to monitor federal activity on a daily basis and is engaged in lobbying efforts. Please be on the lookout for AGD Action Alerts, which will allow you to contact your legislators and make your thoughts and concerns known.
AGD has created online communities so that you can share information and connect with other members. We have created a new one devoted to allowing members to share specifically about their experiences and suggestions to others in the AGD family about COVAD-19. To sign up for these communities, please email AGDConnect@agd.org.