American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Highlights for Employers to Watch For

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) became law on March 11, 2021, and there are several provisions that are likely to have a significant impact on employers, including the following:

Unemployment benefits. The ARPA increases the duration of unemployment benefits under temporary pandemic relief programs from March 14, 2021, to September 6, 2021. Unemployment claimants will receive an additional $300 per week in benefits. In addition, eligibility has been expanded to the self-employed, individuals lacking sufficient work history, and those who otherwise do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits.

Expanded FFCRA leave. The ARPA extends FFCRA benefits for sick and family leave to September 30, 2021 and requires all employers to offer FFCRA leave. This requirement applies to health care providers as well as companies with fewer than 50 employees and more than 500 employees. Additionally, the ARPA requires up to 14 weeks of paid sick, family, and medical leave and expands covered parental caregiving circumstances. Employers with fewer than 500 employees will be reimbursed in full for the total cost of providing leave.

Employee safety. The ARPA includes a number of employee safety provisions, including a COVID-19 Standard to be determined by OSHA and additional enforcement funding.

Multiemployer pension provisions. The ARPA includes multiemployer pension provisions that increase the PBGC multiemployer plans premium to $52 per participant beginning in 2031 and then indexed for inflation. Plans that receive financial assistance must segregate those funds from other plan assets, and must invest them in investment-grade bonds.

Single employer pension provisions. Under the Internal Revenue Code, plan sponsors are allowed to amortize contributions required to pay for plan underfunding. The ARPA lowers a plan sponsor’s minimum required contributions by spreading amortizations over 15 years rather than seven years.

COBRA subsidy. Under the ARPA, employers would receive a 100% subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums through a payroll tax credit against their quarterly taxes. Employees who lost their jobs due to the pandemic and their covered relatives would be allowed to remain on their employer-sponsored health plans for a six-month period beginning April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021. The subsidy is not available to employees who voluntarily quit their jobs.

HBL has experience in all areas of benefits and employment law, offering a comprehensive solution to all your business benefits and HR/employment needs. We help ensure you are in compliance with the complex requirements of ERISA and the IRS code, as well as those laws that impact you and your employees. Together, we reduce your exposure to potential legal or financial penalties. Learn more by calling 678-439-6236.

The following two tabs change content below.

Hall Benefits Law, LLC

HBL offers employers comprehensive legal guidance on benefits in mergers and acquisitions, Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs), executive compensation, health and welfare benefits, healthcare reform, and retirement plans. We counsel a wide spectrum of clients including small, mid-sized, and large companies, 401(k) investment advisors, health insurance brokers, accountants, attorneys, and HR consultants, just to name a few. HBL is passionate about advising clients, and we are dedicated to our mission: to provide comprehensive, personalized, and practical ERISA and benefits legal solutions that exceed client expectations.
%d bloggers like this: