Gig workers would get unemployment benefits under Senate coronavirus stimulus deal

A vote on the measure could take place this afternoon.

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Congress Works Toward Finalizing Coronavirus Stimulus Bill

After days of tense negotiations — and Democrats twice blocking the nearly $2 trillion package — the Senate and Treasury Department appear to have reached important compromises on legislation to shore up the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Senate agreed on a bipartisan coronavirus stimulus package early Wednesday morning. There still has to be a vote on H.R. 748, the legislative vehicle for the “CARES Act – Coronavirus Phase III.” A vote could be as early as this afternoon.

Here are several highlights in the package, provided by Democratic Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY. More details are expected as the measure is finalized.

GOOD NEWS FOR GIG WORKERS

Schumer said in an early-morning letter to his colleagues:

“The extended UI program in this agreement increases the maximum unemployment benefit by $600 per week and ensures that laid-off workers, on average, will receive their full pay for four months. It ensures that all workers are protected whether they work for businesses small, medium or large, along with self-employed and workers in the gig economy. 

“The structural reforms we have made would allow workers to get unemployment insurance quickly and would allow furloughed workers to stay on as employees, so that when, God willing, this crisis ends, they can quickly resume work with their employer and businesses can start running again.”

MARSHALL PLAN FOR HOSPITALS

More from Schumer:

“Our second major priority was a Marshall Plan for our health care system so that it can provide needed treatment during this pandemic. I am happy to report that the final agreement will include more than $150 billion for this plan. We cannot begin to heal our economy until we can turn the tide against the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of our negotiations, the amount of funding for hospitals and medical facilities has greatly — greatly — increased.

“We now have agreement to inject $100 billion into our hospitals and health system, $1 billion for the Indian Health Service, and billions more into critical investments such as personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, new construction to house patients, an increase of the Strategic National Stockpile, medical research into COVID-19 and Medicare payment increases to all hospitals and providers to ensure that they receive the funding they need during this crisis.

“State, local, and tribal governments that are propping up local health systems on their own were originally left out of the Republican bill entirely. As a result of our negotiations, state and local governments will now get $150 billion, with $8 billion set aside for tribal governments.”

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