April 1, 2020
Authored by: Amanda Colvin, Charlene McHugh and Chris Girouard
Following tense negotiations throughout last week, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or “Act”) became law on March 27, 2020. The CARES Act represents the third Phase of Congressional relief responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Phase I (Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (P.L. 116-123)) and Phase II (Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127)) were signed into law on March 6 and 18, respectively. At 883 pages, the CARES Act is the largest relief bill in U.S. history and addresses on multiple fronts the hardships faced by individuals and businesses throughout this crisis. These efforts include an unprecedented expansion of unemployment benefits, significant funding for the health care industry, aid to large and small businesses valued in the billions, and even direct payments to individuals.
The majority of economic relief provisions for U.S. workers and employers is provided in Titles I through IV of Division A of the Act (Division B consists of emergency appropriations to fund various program). The CARES Act also has specific provisions regarding relief for airlines, financial institutions, and other sectors that are considered critical to national security. Titles I through IV of Division A of the CARES Act is are described in relevant part below.
Title I – Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act
Title I of the CARES Act provides relief through employee paycheck protections, loan forgiveness, and small business contracting relief. The Act enables the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) to provide