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Everything you need to know about BMD and the industry.

America’s New COVID-19 Relief Package — Unpacked

Client Alert

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the highly anticipated American Rescue Plan Act (the “Act”) into law, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill aimed at addressing and resolving many of the lingering questions and concerns following the expiration of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) on December 31, 2020.

Among the most notable provisions of the Act include the following:

FFCRA Tax Credit Extension | While employers are no longer mandated to provide paid sick leave to covered employees under the FFCRA, the Act grants an extension to the government tax credit previously provided to employers under the FFCRA if an employer elects to continue such paid time off to its employees. This tax credit remains available through September 2021 for employers with fewer than 500 employees. In addition, the Act now gives paid family leave for 12 weeks, instead of 10 weeks, ultimately providing an employee 14 weeks of paid leave when including the paid sick leave. Finally, the Act resets an employee’s FFCRA availability beginning on April 1, 2021. Meaning, any FFCRA time used before April 1, 2021 will not count against the employee’s leave entitlement after April 1, 2021.

COBRA Coverage | Also through September 2021, the federal government will subsidize the entirety of COBRA premiums for employees (and their covered family members) facing layoffs, ensuring health insurance coverage despite COVID unemployment concerns.

Unemployment Benefits | Prior to the passage of the Act, the weekly $300 unemployment supplement was set to expire in mid-March; however, now, these supplemental payments have been extended through September 6, 2021 — the first $10,200 of which will be tax-free for households earning up to $150,000. The Act additionally provides new protections for self-employed workers otherwise uncovered by state benefits.

Based on the changes to the FFCRA and the increased availability of vaccines, we recommend that clients consider revoking their FFCRA leave policies to avoid renewed employee eligibility for paid leave, including increased paid family leave for 12 weeks. If employers continue to provide paid leave under the FFCRA, they will remain eligible for payroll tax credits, up to the permitted maximums, for eligible leave time, through September 30, 2021.

As businesses across the country witnessed firsthand last year, federal and state legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic is ever-evolving and requires a watchful eye to remain in the know. For more information on any of the above-provisions or for any questions related to the American Rescue Plan Act, please contact BMD Labor and Employment Partner Bryan Meek at bmeek@bmdllc.com or 330.253.5586.

Thank you to Monica Andress for her assistance drafting this Client Alert.


Valley National Bank/Trulieve Loan: A Big Step Out of the Shadows

In a late December press release, Trulieve announced that it had secured a $71.5 million commercial bank loan. In addition to the amount of the loan, which may be the largest commercial bank loan to date to a cannabis company, the release prominently identified Valley Bank and featured both a quote from Valley’s Senior Vice President, John Myers, and a description of the Bank’s service platform and commitment to the cannabis industry.

The End of Non-Competes? The Impact It Will Have on the Healthcare Industry

On January 5, 2023, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) announced a proposed rule that, if enacted, will ban employers from entering into non-compete clauses with workers (the “Rule”), and the Rule would void existing non-compete agreements. In their Notice, the FTC stated that if the Rule were to go into effect, they estimate the overall earnings of employees in the United States could increase by $250 billion to $296 billion per year. The Rule would also require employers to rescind non-competes that they had already entered into with their workers. For purposes of the Rule, the FTC has defined “worker” to also include any employees, interns, volunteers, and contractors.”

2022 Healthcare Recap and 2023 Healthcare Check-Up

As the country begins to return to a new “normal” following the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many healthcare rules changing on both the federal and state levels as a result. Thus, it is important for healthcare providers and their employers to be aware of these changing rules, and any implications they may have on their practice. Look back on healthcare in 2022 and find a checklist for 2023.

Direct Support Professional Retention Payments

On December 15, the Ohio Senate and House passed House Bill 45, which authorizes the Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD), in conjunction with the county boards of developmental disabilities, to launch their initiative to issue retention payments to Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). These retention payments will be distributed quarterly to participating home and community-based waiver providers to address the workforce crisis in the direct provider sector. Governor DeWine needs to sign the Bill to begin the payments, but he is expected to do so by the end of 2022.

Real Estate Investors Position for 2023 Opportunities

Real estate investors weathered another year in a post-pandemic world, with the year closing with yet another interest rate increase coupled with both uncertainty and heightened interest carrying into 2023. Just last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate 0.50 percentage points, shifting the target range to 4.25% to 4.50%. The new level is the highest the fed funds rate has been since December 2007 and marks the seventh rate hike this year. So what does this mean to investors, brokers, lenders, and others in the real estate world? Read a few perspectives below from stakeholders familiar with our BMD clients and the markets in which they do business.