Today, U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Tina Smith (D-MN) introduced the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act of 2020 to help ensure Americans who earn a living through a mix of traditional (W-2) and independent employment income (1099) can fully access the financial relief made available under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program.
This legislation has the possibility to bring much needed financial relief to playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists whose incomes are often earned through several gigs, jobs, and employment opportunities accumulated over the course of a year.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most theatre mixed income earners were ineligible to apply for unemployment insurance in their state. This proposed legislation recognizes the reality that mixed income earners have been left particularly vulnerable by archaic employment definitions that fail to recognize that more and more people use several jobs to make ends meet.
The Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act would:
- Allow workers who earn a minimum of $7,250 independent (e.g. 1099) income to request reconsideration into receiving PUA benefits, instead of regular state unemployment compensation.
- Allow states to opt-in to implement this expanded coverage for mixed earners, acknowledging that not every state will be ready to implement this change.
Please write to both of your U.S. Senators, and ask them to support the Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act.
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The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Chris Coons (D-DE). A copy of the bill text can be found here. Companion legislation was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Judy Chu (D-CA).
The Mixed Earner Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act is endorsed by the Actors’ Equity Association, All Creative Writes – New York, Alternate ROOTS, American Association of Independent Music, American Federation of Musicians, Americans for the Arts, American Photographic Artists, Artist Rights Alliance, Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston, Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, Arts in a Changing America, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts – Tennessee, Asian American Arts Alliance, Association of Performing Arts Professionals, Atlanta Contemporary – Georgia, The Authors Guild, BMI, C4 Atlanta, California Lawyers for the Arts, CERF+- the Artists Safety Net, Chocolate Factory Theater – New York, Chorus America, Christian Music Trade Association, Copyright Alliance, CreativeFuture, Dad’s Garage Theatre Company – Georgia, Dance/NYC – New York, Department for Professional Employees – AFL-CIO, Digital Media Association, Dramatists Guild of America, The Field – New York, Fourth Arts Block – New York, Freelancers Union, Future of Music Coalition, Graphic Artists Guild, Guild of Italian American Actors, Halau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine – Hawaii, Independent Music Professionals United, International Documentary Association, The Laundromat Project – New York, Lawyers for the Creative Arts – Chicago, League of American Orchestras, Live Nation, Maryland Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Mississippi Center for Cultural Production, More Art Inc – New York, Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Art, Music Artists Coalition, Music Business Association, Music Workers Alliance, Musicians for Musicians Inc., The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), National Coalition for the Art’s Preparedness and Emergency Response, National Employment Law Project, National Press Photographers Association, National Writers Union, Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts – New York, New Yorkers for Culture and Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, North American Nature Photography Association, Opera American, PA’I Foundation – Hawaii, Peters Valley School of Craft – New Jersey, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Power Haus Creative – Georgia, Recording Academy, the Recording Industry Association of America, SAG-AFTRA, Songwriters Guild of America, Songwriters of North America, SoundExchange, Southeast Community Cultural Center – Georgia, Springboard for the Arts, Minnesota Lawyers for the Arts, St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts, True Colors Theatre Company – Georgia, Universal Music Group, UrbanGlass – New York, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, and the Writers Guild of America – East.