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Hassan, Burr Successfully Include Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Small Business Support Amid COVID-19 Pandemic in Government Funding Package

Legislation Will Allow Small Employers to Utilize Both Federal Programs Created Under CARES Act to Help Provide Wages, Health Care to Employees

WASHINGTON – The end-of-year funding bill passed yesterday by Congress includes bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Richard Burr (R-NC) to expand small businesses and nonprofits’ access to federal COVID-19 relief. The bipartisan Employer Assistance Coordination Act will allow eligible small employers to both participate in the Paycheck Protection Program and claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit to help keep workers on payroll and pay for their health care coverage. Currently, small employers cannot participate in both of these programs.


“The winter months are already posing a significant challenge to small businesses in New Hampshire and across the country that are working hard to keep their doors open and their workers employed,” Senator Hassan said. “I was glad to team up with Senator Burr to make sure that our bipartisan bill to provide additional, flexible relief to small businesses and help keep their employees on payroll was included in the final year-end package.”


“For months, small businesses have faced economic uncertainty as we continue to fight this pandemic,” said Senator Burr. “It’s critical that we give eligible small businesses and non-profits the ability to not only retain their employees, but also continue to provide health care coverage. Earlier this year, Senator Hassan and I introduced legislation to allow small businesses and nonprofits who took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program to also utilize the Employee Retention Tax Credit. I am pleased that our bill was included in yesterday’s long overdue Coronavirus relief package to help Main Street businesses into the new year.”


The federal CARES Act created two major programs to assist small employers in retaining their employees: the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Employee Retention Tax Credit – both of which were extended in the package that Congress passed yesterday. PPP provides forgivable loans through the Small Business Administration to cover at least 8 weeks of payroll and other expenses. The Employee Retention Tax Credit provides a fully refundable tax credit to help cover wages and certain health plan costs for each employee.


Currently, businesses and nonprofits can only participate in one of the programs, but the Hassan-Burr legislation that was included in the year-end package enables small employers to participate in both of them. The bill includes rules to prevent “double dipping,” so that employers cannot use funds from both programs for the same costs. 


The Hassan-Burr Employer Assistance Coordination Act is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.


You can read a one-pager on Senator Hassan and Burr’s bill here.