The HEALS Act (Health, Economic, Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools), is a $1 trillion economic stimulus package. It was introduced as legislation to add to the CARES Act.
The HEALS Act is not one single bill—it encompasses 8 bills in total. We are going to discuss two of them because they are aimed at helping small businesses.
American Workers, Families, and Employers Assistance Act
Part of the CARES Act increased unemployment benefits. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) was added to workers’ unemployment benefits, but that is set to be reduced as of October 5, 2020.
To account for this, PUA will be combined with standard unemployment insurance, but the person receiving it cannot get more than 70% of the wages that he or she is losing by being out of work. The money they receive will not be greater than $500 though. People will either get 70% or $500, whatever number is reached first.
Another round of stimulus payments is also part of the HEALS Act. The term “eligible” is used, but those who received them the first time would receive them again. The same requirements will be used. Previously, only dependents under the age of 17 received $500. This time, any dependent would be eligible.
Employers, under the CARES Act, received a tax credit for retaining their employees. The retention rate would be raised from 50% to 65%. Other opportunities for tax credits can be utilized by hiring employees who were receiving pandemic unemployment payments.
Continuing Small Business Recovery and Paycheck Protection Program Act
One of the most valuable aspects of the CARES Act was the Paycheck Protection Program. Not only was the government going to loan you money to pay your employees, but if you used the loan as they directed, you wouldn’t have to pay it back.
Under the HEALS Act, there will be a new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but there are specific eligibility requirements. For instance, it only applies to companies with less than 300 employees. It is important to note that small businesses are those with fewer than 500 employees, and small businesses make up 99.7 of all employer firms in the United States.
In addition to the employment cap, your business will need to prove that it had at least a 50% reduction in revenue from either of the first two quarters of 2020 when being compared to the identical quarter from 2019.
Please recall that these loans were not issued directly through the government but rather through a bank. If you received a PPP, you’ve likely had to go to the bank you originally received it from. This is because you had to provide documentation as to how the PPP money was spent. A failure to do so would equate to you having to pay the money back.
With the HEALS Act, the forgiveness applications would be reviewed by the lenders (the banks). This would be significantly easier on you, the borrower when trying to have your loan forgiven.
If you need proof that running a small business in 2020, then looks no further than the HEALS Act. Not only is this a $1 trillion relief package, but it is the second of its kind. Don’t make things harder. When choosing a payroll, PayWow stands above the rest for its versatility, ease of use, and accurate calculations.