Late last night/early this morning, Trump administration officials and top Democrats finalized an agreement on a nearly $2 trillion rescue package which will include provisions that help musicians, freelancers and other gig workers.
As the New York Times reports: “At the insistence of Democrats, the program was broadened to include freelancers, furloughed employees and gig workers.” The LA Times writes, “(Senate Minority Leader Chuck) Schumer said negotiators agreed to put ‘unemployment insurance on steroids’ by expanding those covered to include people who were furloughed, gig workers and freelancers, and by increasing the payments by $600 per week for four months on top of what states provide as a base unemployment compensation.”
This was added in and was not in the initial bill. Your letters helped!
Thank you to everyone who wrote your representatives, educating them that musicians don’t work paycheck to paycheck, but gig to gig and that we needed to be taken into consideration with the stimulus bill. It worked!
And if you’re a “small business,” like if your band is an S Corp or LLC and you are an employee of it, or if your project has people on salary, “the bill provides federally guaranteed loans available at community banks to small businesses that pledge not to lay off their workers,” writes the New York Times. “The loans would be forgiven if the employer continued to pay workers for the duration of the crisis.” Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida and chairman os the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, who worked with Democrats to create the program said “The goal is to keep employees connected to their employers, so that people aren’t just having to stay home and aren’t just feeling the stress of being laid off, but the uncertainty of whether they’ll even have a job to go back to.”
This is really great news! And for everyone who wrote your reps, well done. If there’s one thing I learned during the battle I’ve had the past few months getting the music industry an exemption under the “gig worker” law AB5 here in California, it’s that most politicians have no idea how we operate our businesses – until we educate them on it. And that letters, phone calls and public pressure helps tremendously.
It’s a crazy time we’re living through right now. I hope you’re staying creative, inspired and productive. And inside.
We will get through this, together. Even if we have to be physically apart for a little while longer.
Sending you much love out there.