2. Unemployment Benefits
As countless Americans lost their jobs at the onset of the pandemic, lawmakers swooped in with the CARES act which provided unemployment benefits even to self-employed individuals and contractors who struggled to find work. This was seen as a lifeline, as they normally wouldn’t have qualified for benefits.
But the COVID-Related Tax Relief Act from December extended benefits even further. More payments were also authorized, but the amount was decreased from $600 a week to $300. In addition, people were now able to claim more weeks of benefits, from 39 to 50 while payments were extended to March 14, 2021. If you did not use the maximum weeks available to you, you could still receive checks through April 5, 2021.
President Joe Biden has big plans going forward. He wished to increase compensation to $400 per week until September 2021, though there is a chance that this deadline would increase depending on the employment opportunities and how they will evolve as time goes by. Another plan is to extend benefits for those who have exhausted their regular benefits. Good news for self-employed individuals, as they can continue to qualify for unemployment moving forward.
3. $15 Minimum Wage
In addition to putting more money in the American peoples’ pockets via stimulus checks, President Biden also plans on increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour. While this is not actually related to the current pandemic, it’s still a huge step in the right direction for countless workers across the U.S.
The current rate sits at $7.25 per hour, though twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia already have a minimum wage that is higher. In D.C., the rate is at $15 per hour.