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American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Employment Law Update

US President Joe Biden signed into law the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) on March 11, 2021. ARPA follows from weeks of negotiations in Congress and attempts to facilitate the country’s recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Included in ARPA are several provisions that impact employers, including provisions on paid leave, reduced hours and employee retention credits. Employers should be mindful of the employment-specific changes put into effect by ARPA and accordingly update their policies and practices to comply with these changes.

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Pandemic Unemployment Aid Intensifies Debate Over Classifying Gig Workers

The federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program extends relief to workers and employees who don’t have access to state benefits, but it will almost certainly put pressure on gig economy companies to start paying into state unemployment insurance funds as government resources continue to diminish due to COVID-19, attorneys say.

Michelle S. Strowhiro, partner at McDermott Will & Emery, said, “To the extent that, post-COVID, we want to maintain unemployment benefits for those traditionally not eligible, … we’d have to contemplate a way that additional funding could be accessed for the long term.”

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