March 14, 2020

Orchestras have joined the broader arts and nonprofit sectors in speaking up out of concern for their workforce in the wake of COVID-19 closures and concert cancellations. Early this morning, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan COVID-19 relief package that includes the following:

  • mandated emergency paid leave for employees for qualified sick leave, family and medical leave, and to care for a child whose school has closed
  • refundable payroll tax credits for required emergency paid leave provided by employers with fewer than 500 employees (nonprofits are eligible for relief)
  • refundable individual tax credits for leave taken by self-employed workers for qualified sick leave, caring for a family member, or caring for a child whose school has closed
  • emergency funding to states for unemployment compensation
  • additional provisions related to nutrition assistance and cost-free COVID testing provisions for the uninsured

This reader-friendly summary (PDF) outlines more details about these provisions, and the fine print is in the full bill text (PDF).

Federal agencies will be required to swiftly issue guidance and regulations detailing plans for implementation, eligibility, exemptions, and record-keeping. The paid leave provisions will apply to leave taken beginning within 15 days of the bill being signed into law, starting on a date still to be identified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Senate is expected to take up the bill on Monday, March 16, and the White House has signaled support.

The League will provide a more detailed analysis of these provisions as additional information becomes available.

Thanks to everyone for your continued advocacy! Further relief packages are being created. We urge the orchestra community to continue communicating with Congress.

Please also see the League’s coronavirus resources for information and tools to help navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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