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Senate Passes Relief, House Vote Friday; Paid Sick Leave Guidance for Employers

Thursday, March 26, 2020  
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The Illinois Restaurant Association continues to engage with local, state, and federal officials to help our employers and employees address concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19).

Please see the below resources and information for your business - updated as of 10:50 a.m. on Thursday, March 25.



Senate Passes Phase 3 Relief Package, House Unanimous Vote to Approve Expected Friday


By a vote of 96-0, the U.S. Senate has approved the CARES Act - the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act - a $2 trillion economic aid plan in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Moments ago, Speaker Pelosi confirmed that the House will vote to pass the legislation as is on Friday. Leader McConnell has said the next Senate vote will be on Monday, April 20.

Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act is Division A of CARES, which provides $377 billion for Small Businesses and Nonprofits to meet their payroll and expenses. The IRA thanks Chairman Marco Rubio, Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Durbin, Sen. Collins, Sen. Shaheen, and Chairwoman Nydia Velasquez for their tireless efforts on this legislation. Click here for a one page breakdown of the Senate package.

Below is an overview of the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act:

  • Creates the Paycheck Protection Program, a nearly $350 billion program to provide eight weeks of cash-flow assistance to small businesses and nonprofits through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, which would help workers to remain employed and affected small businesses and our economy to quickly snap-back after the crisis.  

  • Allows the Paycheck Protection Program to cover payroll costs, paid sick leave, supply chain disruptions, employee salaries, health insurance premiums, mortgage payments, and other debt obligations to provide immediate access to capital for small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.

  • Provides $265 million for grants to offer counseling, training, and related assistance to small businesses affected by COVID-19 to SBA resource partners, including Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers and $10 million for the Minority Business Development Agency’s Minority Business Centers and Minority Chambers of Commerce. 

  • Allows for expedited access to capital by establishing a $10 billion program for small businesses who have applied for an EIDL loan to request an advance of up to $10,000 on the loan to provide paid sick leave to employees, maintaining payroll, and other debt obligations.  

  • Requires SBA to pay all principal, interest and fees on all new and existing SBA loan products including 7(a), Community Advantage, 504, and Microloan programs for 6 months, and provides $17 billion for this purpose.

Let's make sure the House passes the Phase 3 package on Friday.

Send a note to your Illinois Congressional leaders to make sure they pass this Phase 3 package that guarantees small businesses and their employees receive the most possible relief.



Emergency Paid Sick Leave Law Employer Requirements, Preliminary Guidance from U.S. Department of Labor


The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued preliminary guidance, in the form of Questions and Answers, in advance of the implementing regulations on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA, a.k.a. COVID-2), which takes effect Wednesday, April 1. 

Click here to read the preliminary guidance.

Click here to review the employer requirements.

The Department advises that they will continue to provide compliance assistance to employers and employees on their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA, and we will be sure to keep you updated as that information is made available.



ServSafe Guidance on Safe Delivery and Takeout, Free Food Handler Training


Food safety training and education are more critical now than ever before. With this in mind, ServSafe will be releasing two new free training videos to reinforce safe food handling during the coronavirus outbreak. These are: ServSafe Takeout: COVID-19 Precautions and ServSafe Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions.

Click here to register to watch the free training videos.

In addition, to support restaurant workers on the front line, ServSafe is making its standard, ANSI-accredited, online ServSafe Food Handler training program available free of charge through April 30, 2020. 

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