Heals Act Would Provide Another Round of Federal Aid During COVID-19 Pandemic

From PA Chamber of Business & Industry

A few months after the Democratic-led U.S. House passed a $3 trillion COVID-19 pandemic federal relief package, the U.S. Senate released a plan of their own last week that would spend $1 trillion in an effort to help struggling businesses and individuals in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and contains important liability protections for employers complying with health and safety guidelines.

The Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act would also extend federal unemployment compensation benefits but reduce from $600 to $200 the additional amount claimants would receive on top of regular state benefits. Ultimately, states would have the option to transition from the fixed federal enhancement to an individualized formula that provides workers 70 percent of their previous wages, though state officials have expressed skepticism that Pennsylvania’s antiquated unemployment compensation system could accommodate a percentage-based approach.

The bill would also provide a second round of stimulus checks to taxpayers, an expansion of the Paycheck Protection Program that was originally included in the March CARES Act, and new tax credits for employers who purchase personal protective equipment for workers and customers.