The Daily Rundown: Retirement Made Easier

DOL and SBA issue two new rules aimed at expanding services for small businesses and their employees. Plus, women entrepreneurs in the outdoor sphere face gender-bias when it comes to their products and the new trend toward paid safe leave. 

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The Daily Rundown

Welcome to the Small Business Run Down. Each day, we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.

It’s a good day for rules, as the DOL and SBA issue two new rules aimed at expanding services for small businesses and their employees. Plus, women entrepreneurs in the outdoor sphere face gender-bias when it comes to their products and the new trend toward paid safe leave. 

New DOL rule increases retirement fund access for small biz employees

The Department of Labor announced a new rule, set to go into effect September 30th, 2019, that aims to make it easier for small businesses to band together and offer joint 401(k) programs to their employees. The rule will enable smaller companies to offer plans similar to those sponsored by bigger organizations and is expected to cut down on cut down on administrative costs and increase bargaining power for small businesses. 

The Number: 38 million. Currently, 38 million Americans employed in the private sector do not have access to a employer-sponsored 401(k) program. 

The Quote: “Many small businesses would like to offer retirement benefits for their employees, but are discouraged by the cost and complexity of running their own plans.”

SBA expands definition, allowing more businesses to qualify for help

Speaking of rules, the Small Business Administration weighed in with one of their own recently. The interim final ruling makes an adjustment for inflation when using monetary-based criteria to determine who is eligible for SBA support. This ruling will increase the number of small businesses that qualify for help from the federal agency, and is the first time that an adjustment for inflation has occurred since 2014.

The Number: 90,000. Under the new rule, as many as 90,000 new companies would qualify for small business status and become eligible for both SBA loans and contracts. 

The Quote:This could possibly lead to as much as $750 million in additional federal contracts awarded to small businesses and up to 120 additional small business loans totaling nearly $65 million.”

Gender bias extends to perception of product quality, study finds

The subject isn’t new and the studies were released in March, but this fresh look at how gender bias impacts the bottom line for female entrepreneurs in the outdoor sector is worth a read. As the author points out, “our innate gender bias when it comes to products might make us devalue, say, a craft beer or even a ski, if we know that product was made by a woman.” But as women are poised to control $28 trillion in consumer spending in the next five years, business owners and consumers can benefit from examining biases. 

The Number: 51%. Women account for just over half of all outdoor goods consumers in the US. 

The Quote: “If retailers want to have more women in their stores, which just makes economic sense, they have to be able to speak to a woman’s point of view the best they can.”

“Safe Leave” literally protects workers–and their jobs

Westchester County, New York just became the newest spot in the nation to enact paid safe leave laws. The law seeks to help victims of domestic violence by protecting their jobs while they seek to escape abusive domestic situations. 

The Number: 20.  An estimated 20 people are victimized by their partner in the US each minute. 

The Quote: “These laws may be timely: victims of domestic violence are estimated to lose approximately 137 hours of work annually. It’s estimated overall that 8 million work hours are lost every year in the US to domestic violence.”

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