On Thursday, May 28, 2020, the House of Representatives just passed the "Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act," cosponsored by Representatives Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Chip Roy (R-TX), which makes several amendments to the CARES Act to make PPP loans more helpful to small businesses by increasing flexibility. The changes include:
- Extending the program sunset to December 31, 2020;
- Extending the length of time businesses can use the loans from 8 to 24 weeks, or until the end of the year (whichever is earlier) (note: businesses that have used it in 8 will not be penalized);
- Removal of the requirement that 75% of the loan go toward payroll costs;
- Makes PPP recipient businesses eligible for the delayed payment of employer payroll taxes in the CARES Act; and
- Creating an exception to the rehire requirement for employees that were let go due to COVID-19 if a business can show that they are unable to return to normal operations due to compliance with federal government rules or guidelines based on maintaining sanitation, social distancing, or worker/customer safety requirements related to COVID-19.
NAR sent a letter thanking the sponsors of the bill for their work to improve PPP loans. The Senate is expected to consider similar legislation next week, although there may be some differences from the House bill. NAR will continue to advocate for improvements to this program so it can be more responsive to the needs of small businesses and independent contractors during this crisis, and to ensure that the maximum number are able to reopen when it concludes.
As the PPP Flexibility Act moves through Congress and the federal agencies provide new guidance on the program, NAR will continue to update its resources for members at www.nar.realtor/coronavirus.