H.R. 6201 “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” is emergency legislation that covers family medical leave, paid sick leave, Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance and unemployment benefits is making its way through Congress. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Advocacy Team worked with Congressional leaders to include help for self-employed professionals and other small business owners in the bill. NAR says robust measures supporting those groups were included.
NAR reported this bill focuses on employment issues and they anticipate legislation targeting the overall economy to come later.
Read more information from NAR about HR 6201.
NAR prepared the following summary of each provision:
Family Medical Leave Expansion
- Allows up to 12 weeks of certain virus-related family medical leave through the end of 2020
- Covers employees at businesses with between 50-500 employees
- Provides a refundable tax credit for eligible self-employed individuals equal to their qualified family leave equivalent
- Provides employers with a refundable tax credit equal to certain family leave wages paid to employees
Paid Sick Leave Expansion
- Allows two weeks of certain virus-related paid sick leave through the end of 2020.
- Covers employees at businesses with fewer than 500 employees
- Provides a refundable tax credit for eligible self-employed individuals equal to their qualified sick leave equivalent
- Provides employers with a refundable tax credit equal to certain paid sick leave wages paid to employees
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Insurance and Unemployment Changes
- Requires insurers, Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health programs to fully cover testing and related services for COVID-19, without cost-sharing
- Increases funding to Medicaid to help cover uninsured populations
- Provides additional funds for certain programs aiding elderly Americans
- Increases funding for emergency transfers to state unemployment programs and increased flexibility for states to modify unemployment policies based on effects of COVID-19, such as waived work search requirements
Refundable tax credits are considered especially generous since any amount above taxes due is paid in the form of a refund. The payroll tax credit provided to employers will provide cash to them relatively quickly as it is creditable against their portion of an employee’s Social Security tax liability, which is generally due monthly or semi-weekly. And since most self-employed persons are required to pay quarterly estimated tax payments, they will not have to wait until the end of the tax year to see the cash.
Many of the tax credits and benefits mentioned above have limits and/or qualifications, so we encourage you to explore NAR’s comprehensive briefing document for more details.