In March, Congress passed a new law called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Among other emergency protections, the law creates new tax credits for freelancers and other self-employed people to compensate for lost income when you cannot work for certain coronavirus-related reasons. Here’s what freelancers need to know about how to access these credits.
Building on changes to paid family and medical leave that many states saw beginning in January 2020, July marks new developments as well.
Beginning July 1, workers in Washington, D.C. will be able to take paid family and medical leave benefits under the District’s universal paid leave program—a much needed development as the country continues to battle with COVID-19. Eligible workers will receive benefits for up to 2 weeks for medical leave, up to 6 weeks to care for a seriously ill family member, and up to 8 weeks to bond with a new child, up to a total of 8 weeks of benefits in a 52-week period. Most private sector employees in the District are covered and self-employed workers can opt in to coverage.
Also beginning July 1, workers in California will be able to take up to 8 weeks of family leave benefits in a 12-month period—previously, workers could only take up to 6 weeks of family leave. Under the Golden State’s paid family leave law, workers can receive these benefits while bonding with a child with a new child or caring for a family member with a serious health condition, including symptoms of COVID-19.
Similarly, workers in New Jersey will see an increase in the amount of family leave benefits that they’ll be able to take. Come July 1, workers will be able to take paid family leave benefits for up to 12 weeks in a 12-month period, twice the prior limit of 6 weeks. Also as of July 1, workers will see an increase in how much money they’ll receive. First, the wage replacement rate (the percentage of their regular paycheck workers receive while on leave) will increase to 85% of their average weekly wage, up from about 67% (2/3). In addition, the cap on maximum weekly benefits will go up to 70% of the statewide average weekly wage (for 2020, $881), from 53% of the statewide average weekly wage (currently, $667).
For a closer look at current paid family and medical leave laws and changes to come, please visit our Comparative Chart of Paid Family and Medical Leave Laws in the United States. For more information about your leave options during the COVID-19 crisis, please visit https://www.abetterbalance.org/covid19/.