April 9, 2020
Authored by: Jay Warren and Courtney Peterson
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act” or “Act”), enacted on March 27, 2020, has been the subject of government agency interim regulations and guidance. This updates the original BCLP post on the employment-related provisions of the CARES Act through April 7, 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. The three key employment-related sections of the CARES Act, two of which are designed to incentivize employers to retain employees and continue to provide them wages by way of either providing smaller employers with loans, or