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COVID-19 Response Emergency Act
On Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the Washington, D.C. City Council enacted the COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020. This new legislation expanded unemployment compensation benefits, increased job-protected leave for D.C. workers, deferred sales tax payments, and created a micro-grant program to assist recovery for D.C.-based businesses and D.C. employees.
Here are the highlights
Businesses may defer payment of February and March sales taxes until July 20th, 2020.
Under the COVID-19 Response Emergency Act D.C. employees can apply for unemployment compensation benefits if:
- They have been quarantined or isolated by the Department of Health or any other applicable District or Federal agency; or
- They have self-quarantined or self-isolated in a manner consistent with the recommendations or guidance of the Department of Health or any applicable District or Federal agency or a medical professional; or
- Their employer ceased or reduced operations due to COVID-19 or as a result of an order or guidance from the Mayor or the Department of Health; or
- They quit their job for “good cause,” which includes:
- An employer failing to timely comply with a written directive from the Mayor or the Department of Health in relation to public safety measures necessary to protect D.C. employees or the public from COVID-19; or
- An employer demanding that an employee be physically present at the workplace despite the employee having been quarantined or isolated by governmental authorities or self-quarantined or self-isolated based on the recommendations or guidance of governmental authorities or medical professionals.
- Under the COVID-19 Response Emergency Act, D.C. employees who meet the above requirements and are otherwise eligible for unemployment compensation can apply for unemployment benefits regardless of whether the employer has provided a date certain for the employee’s return to work or whether the employee continues to be employed by the current employer.
- Employees no longer need to “search for work” if they meet the above requirements.
Job-Protected Leave Expanded in D.C.
- With this coronavirus emergency legislation D.C. employees can take unpaid, job-protected leave if they have been directed to quarantine or isolate by the federal or D.C. government or a medical provider. In this circumstance, the typical one-year employment requirement and 1,000 hour-work requirement does not apply in order for the employee to be eligible to take this leave.
- The D.C. employee can take leave for the duration of the public health emergency and a note from the employee’s medical provider or a recommendation from a D.C. or federal government agency can serve as medical certification to take this leave.
Microgrants to D.C.-based Businesses
- The DC Small Business Recovery Microgrant Program will be housed in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
- D.C. launched a $25 million microgrant program to provide relief to local small businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). As part of the District’s recovery efforts, relief will be provided to workers and small businesses through waivers for unemployment claims, federal assistance, local funding, and local programs.
- The microgrants will be available to businesses, non-profits, and independent contractors or self-employed individuals.
- Grants from coronavirus emergency legislation will provide financial support for expenses such as employee wages and benefits, rent, and other operating costs. The program will provide support up to $25,000.
- For more information, go here.
See more on Dunlap Law’s Coronavirus Page.