Every day we can see that this public health crisis is also an economic crisis. During the shutdowns, some employers shuttered completely and others were forced to lay off workers. Tens of millions of jobs were saved thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program and other CARES Act provisions, but millions of other Americans lost their jobs and remain unemployed. While jobs numbers have improved since the more dire days of March and April, there are still many Americans facing unemployment.
Talks are continuing to determine how best to modify and extend a federal supplement to state unemployment insurance programs. These state programs and the extra federal aid have been important safety nets for folks who’ve lost their income. But they’re only a piece of what we can and should do.
And, as the Leader said yesterday, we know that those programs shouldn’t pay someone more to stay home than essential workers are making by working. We also know that most people would prefer to have a reliable job or avoid a layoff entirely.
That’s why Republicans, as part of the HEALS Act, have put forward several additional proposals to help already unemployed Americans and prevent others from getting laid off in the first place.
We extend and significantly expand the employee retention tax credit that was included in the CARES Act so employers can keep more people on payroll, and support businesses that hire more workers as the economy continues to improve.
We expand the Work Opportunity Tax Credit to support employers that are helping those currently receiving unemployment insurance find a new, safe and steady job.
Bringing in new employees and expanding the workforce can be complicated, especially in the time of a pandemic. Both employers and employees want to maintain safe working environments.
So it’s important for employers to have the resources to keep their workspaces clean and their employees protected. Republicans propose a new tax credit for these expenses, like additional cleaning expenses, personal protective gear and even office reconfigurations that keep employees and customers safer.
The HEALS Act also provides for another round of economic impact payments. An average family of four will receive 3,400 dollars to help cover expenses. These payments will help any family or individual who’s had to deal with a layoff, and are in addition to any unemployment benefits they may receive.
These tax provisions serve as a complement to the unemployment insurance programs. They set up extra layers of protection for workers and those already out of work. Together, these proposals provide a responsible approach to help employers reopen businesses so that employees can safely and effectively return to work to continue fueling the nation’s economic recovery.