Vol. XIX, Issue 14

March 30, 2020

COVID-19 Legislative Update—CARES Act

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed a "Phase III" response and economic stimulus package into law aimed at countering some of the economic impacts of the Coronavirus disease ("COVID-19") pandemic in the United States. A preliminary summary of the CARES Act is available. Full text of the package is also available here.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748) ("CARES" or "Act") is an unprecedented aid package, with a price tag of over $2 trillion, that creates new small business government-backed lending programs, including for non-profits; significantly expands unemployment assistance to those unemployed because of COVID-19, including to many who might not otherwise be covered; expands access to retirement plan funds; and creates payroll tax incentives for employers, including tax-exempts, to retain employees; among other relief.

Some of the provisions have direct applicability to local churches, annual conferences, and other tax-exempt employers associated with The United Methodist Church (UMC).

Wespath's Legal Department worked with colleague lawyers in the Church Alliance to create this summary of some of the important provisions of the Act as an information source for our stakeholders across the Church. It is a preliminary assessment based on the text of the statute and the understanding of Wespath's Legal staff and in-house and outside counsel who support the Church Alliance. Wespath staff will review forthcoming regulatory guidance implementing the new law, and determine our ability to implement retirement and health plan provisions.

More information about Wespath's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is on our webpage. If you have specific questions, please contact members of our Legal team: Andy Hendren, Steve Clark or Jim O'Connell.

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