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The federal government has passed three stimulus in response to COVID-19. Unfortunately, these bills are not always clear, so we’re here to break them down for you.

Two are important for you to know about as a W-2 Substitute Teacher:

  1. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
  2. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) 

What it is: 

The Act provides an estimated $2 trillion in assistance, including:

  • Almost $500 billion in individual rebate checks
  • Another $500 billion to support businesses and industries affected
  • $400 billion in tax credits to businesses for wages and payroll tax relief
  • $300 billion to support various state and local governments
  • $150 billion to support the health care system.

How it affects you: 
You may receive a recovery payment and see an increase in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.
Recovery payments:
For individuals, the CARES Act includes a recovery rebate payment. The rebate amounts are:

  • $1,200 for an individual
  • $2,400 for a married couple
  • $500 for each child under the age of 17

However, not everyone is entitled to a rebate. The amount of each check is phased out by $5 for every $100 in excess of a “threshold amount.”

The excess amount is based on a taxpayer’s 2018 adjusted gross income (AGI) unless they have already filed their 2019 return—then it will be based on 2019 AGI.

The threshold amounts are:

  • $75,000 for single filers
  • $150,000 for joint filers
  • $115,500 for heads of households

Unemployment insurance benefits:
For those applying for unemployment insurance (UI), you’ll notice the program has been extended and eligibility expanded.

Some workers who are approved for unemployment insurance will receive an additional $600 per week for four months (or until work resumes), on top of what state programs pay. The CARES Act also extends UI benefits for 13 weeks (through Dec. 31) for eligible workers once state benefits have been exhausted.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

What it is: 

The FFCRA expands paid sick leave or family and medical leave (FML) for employees of certain employers. The bill came into effect on April 1, 2020.

See the employee rights posters:
Employee Rights  | Derechos de empleados 

When it passed: 
At first, it seemed that Scoot’s substitute teachers would be eligible for benefits. But, on March 26th the Department of Labor released new guidance. This new guidance reduces the scope of employee eligibility.

How it affects you: 
Under questions 28 and 27 of the current guidance from the Department of Labor, Scoot’s substitutes are only eligible for expanded sick leave or FML through the FFCRA when both of the following requirements are met:

  1. You have been confirmed for an upcoming substitute assignment with Scoot
  2. You meet one of the six qualifying reasons for leave
    (Note: “Shelter-in-place”, “stay-at-home” or similar orders do not meet qualifying reason #1).

Meet both requirements?: 
Contact your Scoot consultant orYou email as soon as possible.

What to do instead:
If you need financial assistance, apply for unemployment insurance (UI). The CARES Act expanded eligibility and included additional financial payments.

Employees cannot simultaneously benefit from both UI and sick pay/FML via the FFCRA, so if you are eligible for both you are financially better off claiming UI due to the additional $600/week payments that are included via the CARES Act.

apply for unemployment

what if i’m not a W-2 employee working for Scoot?

You’re considered a “gig worker,” a self-employed worker who earns income through short-term commitments instead of traditional, long-term employer-employee relationships. Although freelancers usually don’t have unemployment insurance, the government has taken unprecedented steps.

How the CARES Act affects you:

The CARES Act provides relief regardless of whether you’re a W-2 employee or not. As described above, you may receive a recovery payment and see an increase in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

The same potential changes in unemployment insurance benefits also apply.

Additionally, the CARES Act provides the following benefits and rebates for self-employed individuals or small businesses:

  1. Paycheck protection program (PPP) provides federally guaranteed, low-percentage loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA).  These are available to those affected by COVID-19 and certain portions of the loan will be forgivable. You can apply online through any existing SBA lender, which includes most banks.
  2. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program creates a temporary, federal unemployment insurance plan for individuals not otherwise eligible for state benefits. You’ll have the opportunity to collect unemployment benefits and receive an additional $600 a week from Apr 5 – Jul 31, 2020.
  3. Deferred payment of employer payroll taxes will enable self-employed individuals to defer paying 50% of the social security portion of their self-employment tax from Mar 25, 2020 to Dec 31, 2020. Those who take advantage of this benefit will be required to pay 50% of what was owed by Dec 31, 2021 and the remaining 50% by Dec 31, 2022.

How FFCR affects you:

FFCR provides some benefits paid for by tax credits that are available to the self-employed and gig workers similar to those working at small and midsize companies.

If you’re self-employed but work for another employer, you will be eligible for a tax credit of up to two weeks of sick pay at the average pay of your employer and 12 weeks of family leave pay at two-thirds the normal rate. The benefit is capped at $511 per day for sick leave and $200 for family leave. Whichever amount is lower will be used.

The tax credit can be applied against a person’s income taxes, and it is refundable, meaning taxpayers will get a government rebate if their sick or family leave pay was greater than their tax bill.

To qualify, you must meet the following requirement:

  1. You meet one of the six qualifying reasons for leave
    (Note: “Shelter-in-place”, “stay-at-home” or similar orders do not meet qualifying reason #1).

Conditions apply:

Self-employed individuals have a maximum of 50 days for use of the credit for FFCR’s expanded leave. Those who are self-employed should maintain documentation to prove their eligibility for all of this.

Common questions about the FFCR’s expansion can be found here.