In the legislation entitled the Continued Assistance to Rail Workers Act of 2020, as outlined below, Congress essentially extended the benefits created by the CARES Act. In addition, Congress has finally granted some relief from sequestration – though not permanent. The legislation grants temporary relief from sequestration beginning 10 days from enactment through 30 days after the date on which the Presidential declaration of emergency for COVID terminates. This means that railroad employees will no longer have their regular unemployment and sickness benefits reduced for sequestration during the specified time period. In addition, the temporary relief is not retroactive to any earlier period of time.
Similar to the CARES Act, this legislation provides for the following benefits:
· A recovery benefit of $600 per 2-week unemployment registration period. The duration is for registration periods from December 26, 2020 to March 14, 2021. This amount is down from $1,200 per registration period in the CARES Act.
· Extended unemployment benefits for employees who have otherwise exhausted benefits. These are payable for claims starting after enactment and on or before March 14, 2021. No extended benefits are payable after April 5, 2021.
· Waiver of the 7-day waiting period for unemployment and sickness benefits. This was also extended to March 14, 2021.
As with previous legislation, the RRB will update the information on its website with the details regarding these benefits.