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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

Sales Tax Deferral

Businesses may defer payment of February and March sales taxes until July 20th, 2020.

Expanded Unemployment Compensation Benefits

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.