Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has introduced the “Work Safe Act,” legislation that provides tax credits to businesses that test employees for COVID-19.

As the focus turns towards reopening the economy and getting Americans back to work, the Cruz bill will give employers and consumers the confidence they need to safely participate in the reopening process. ATR supports this legislation and urges its swift passage.

The Coronavirus took a sledgehammer to one of the strongest economies in American history, forcing millions of businesses to close and leading to over 40 million Americans filing for unemployment. 

After a brutal few months, there are strong signs that the American economy is turning the corner. In May, American businesses added 2.5 million jobs, the first job growth since February. 

Despite this progress, there remain concerns that a second wave of Coronavirus will threaten our economic recovery. 

To mitigate these concerns and foster the conditions for businesses to safely reopen,  the Work Safe Act gives a tax credit to businesses that test their employees for Coronavirus biweekly in states where infection rates are higher than the national average. The bill provides: 

  • A $300 credit per employee tested in the month the legislation is enacted
  • A $250 credit per employee tested in the month after the legislation is enacted
  • A $200 credit per employee tested two months after the legislation is enacted
  • A $150 credit per employee tested in the rest of 2020.

These tax credits provide a direct incentive for employers to implement robust testing programs that keep their employees safe. As the pandemic runs its course and state governments continue loosening lockdown restrictions, the Work Safe Act will be a critical part of our economic recovery.

Cruz has been a leader in proposing legislative solutions to improve our nation’s Coronavirus response, and the Work Safe Act builds on his strong record during the pandemic. For example: 

  • Cruz has introduced the Pandemic Healthcare Access Act, legislation that allows all healthcare plans to use Health Savings Accounts for the duration of the pandemic. Currently, there is a mandate that any American wanting to open or contribute to an HSA must be on a high-deductible health plan. Cruz’s legislation would pause this mandate in order to help mitigate the pandemic by Americans in Medicare, Affordable Care Act health plans, TRICARE, the VA, Indian Health Service and any employer plan to use HSAs. A coalition of 30 organizations supports this legislation. 
  • Cruz has introduced S. 3545, the “Reciprocity Ensures Streamlined Use of Lifesaving Treatments for Coronavirus Patients Act of 2020,” legislation that establishes a reciprocal marketing approval process for COVID-19 drugs, biological products, and medical devices. This bill allows the sale of COVID-19 in the United States that have not yet been approved by the FDA if the product has already been approved in other countries.
  • Cruz has introduced S. 3769, the “Right to Test Act,” legislation that would allow states to approve and distribute Coronavirus tests as long as the state or federal government has declared a public health emergency. This would empower states to bypass FDA approval and drastically ramp up our testing capacity.

Taken together, these bills provide a strong roadmap for the safe and successful reopening of our country and economy. The Work Safe Act builds on Senator Cruz’s previous efforts during the pandemic by incentivizing employers to create safe workplaces by regularly testing their employees.