There are a number of things happening at all levels of government this week, below is a brief snapshot of what is expected.
Massachusetts State House
**Breaking** - Legislative leaders announced today the broad outlines of legislation to address PPP and UI issues.
Joint Statement of the MA House and Senate:
“The Senate and House have reached agreement on a bill to help workers and employers jumpstart our nascent recovery as we begin to slowly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic……
We have agreed to provide targeted tax relief to unemployed workers whose income falls below 200 percent of the poverty line. We also recognize that many are navigating our Unemployment Insurance (UI) system for the first time, and so we have agreed to waive penalties for missed tax payments on UI benefits received in 2020.
To help protect employees on the front lines—and to help prevent the further spread of COVID-19—we are making sure all employees have access to paid leave if they are unable to work because they get infected with the coronavirus, are ordered to quarantine, or need to take time off to get the vaccine. In tandem with federal legislation, this state response will ensure employees have access to paid leave and employers are reimbursed for such costs. We believe this will provide a necessary and crucial safety net for the employees, especially essential workers, who have shown up every day to keep our economy and communities running throughout this public health crisis.
Finally, the bill will prevent increases in the UI rate schedule for 2021 and 2022, providing employers with needed stability and relief as the Commonwealth continues to recover….In addition to UI relief, to help many small businesses and employers who received PPP loans to stay afloat and save jobs, we have agreed to conform to the current federal tax code to exclude forgiven PPP loans from gross income for small businesses organized as pass-through entities.”
This is great news and we look forward to both branches passing this legislation to address these costly issues.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
- House passage of American Rescue (with Restaurant Revitalization Fund included) expected on Tuesday with President expected to sign on Wednesday or Thursday.
Click for a topline summary of how this fund will work. Regulations will still need to be written and expect a document later in the week that will outline the provisions of how the Restaurant Recovery Fund will be administered and how each restaurant can benefit. Final passage increased this allocation to $28.6 billion.
Costly consumer product tariffs suspended
- On Friday, the United States and European Union agreed to suspend all tariffs related to the dispute over Boeing and Airbus subsidies. The four month suspension will result in the removal of tariffs on agricultural, industrial, and consumer products worth $11.5 billion including wine, whiskey, cheese, olives, nuts, and other food items from the EU.
Positive Impact Story
Enterprise Holdings Gives $8 million in Restaurant Gift Cards
On Friday, Enterprise Holdings, owner of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental, and Alamo Rent A Car brands, announced that the company would be giving all 80,000 US employees $100 to enjoy at a local restaurant. This represents an $8 million investment into 9,500 neighborhoods in all 50 states where Enterprise operates. As part of the announcement, Tom Bené spoke with Shelley Roither, SVP of Global Human Resources at Enterprise Holdings, about what this announcement means for our industry and to share our gratitude with their team members. Watch the video here