Pandemic-Related Restaurant Aid Bill Would Bar Employers with Wage Violations

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The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would provide funds for restaurants, arts and entertainment venues, and small businesses that have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic—but the bill excludes employers that have a wage violation at the time of application.

We've gathered articles on the news from SHRM Online and other media outlets.

Replenishing the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The House passed the $55 billion bill in a 223-203 vote on April 7. The measure, H.R. 3807, would provide $42 billion to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF), which was a grant program that was launched under the COVID-19-related American Rescue Plan in 2021. An additional $13 billion would be available for other businesses affected by the pandemic.

(NBC News)

Exclusion for Wage Violations

An amendment to the bill would exclude businesses from receiving funds under the Hard Hit Industries Award Program if they have a wage violation at the time of application. "Restaurant workers risked their lives and are a critical part of the restaurant industry," Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., told Bloomberg Law in an e-mailed statement. "These dollars should go to businesses who do right by their workers, not those who exploit and steal from them." 

(Bloomberg Law)

Slow Recovery

"As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on well beyond anyone's expectations, recovery for many small businesses is proceeding substantially slower than expected," according to a backgrounder from the House Committee on Small Business. The American Rescue Plan allocated $28.6 billion for the RRF, which provided relief to more than 100,000 restaurants and other food and beverage businesses. However, 278,000 eligible applications were submitted, requesting more than $72.2 billion in relief. "Additional funding is needed to provide relief to eligible applicants that continue to struggle who were unable to access RRF due to funding shortages in the program," according to the backgrounder.

(House Committee on Small Business)

Senate to Consider Bill

The bill will now head to the Senate for consideration, but any further action on the bill will be stalled while Congress takes a two-week recess.

(The Hill)

Pandemic-Related Resources for Employers

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we work and manage employees. Visit SHRM's resource page on the coronavirus and COVID-19 for information to help you work your way through the pandemic

(SHRM Online)

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