Welcome to the Small Business Rundown. Each day, we bring you stories that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Small Business News Highlights for April 29:
- Congress considering tax holiday for grocery workers
- Big banks temporarily shut out of SBA’s online portal
- Skilled H-1B workers in danger of losing legal status soon
Proposed GROCR Act provides tax holiday to grocery store workers
“The GROCER Act is a simple way of saying ‘thank you’ to the men and women who put themselves on the front lines, sanitizing, stocking, and serving communities by putting a little more of their hard-earned money back in their paychecks.”
Federal lawmakers are considering bipartisan legislation that would allow grocery and convenience store workers who make less than $75,000 per year to forgo paying taxes on up to $25,000 worth of earnings from February 15th through June 15th of this year.
The Giving Retailers and Our Convenience Employees Relief (GROCR) Act proposes a 3-month tax holiday, with the option to extend for an additional three months, should the circumstances around the COVID-19 pandemic warrant it.
Big banks temporary shut out of PPP portal
“SBA and Treasury will evaluate whether to create a similar reserved time again in the future.”
In an attempt to level the playing field, the Small Business Administration announced that banks with more than $1 billion in assets will be temporarily shut-out from their portal, beginning at 4 pm today. For an 8-hour window, the online portal will only accept loan applications from small banks as part of the SBA’s effort to give smaller lenders access to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds.
As the SBA has refined the program’s guidelines, nearly $2 billion worth of funds have been declined or returned.
H-1B workers in jeopardy of losing visa
“Should I just go back home and maybe chase the American dream later on in life?”
As the COVID-19 pandemic changes the employment status for tens of millions of people across the company, skilled workers in the U.S. on H-1B visas are doubly impacted. Furloughing these workers, reducing their pay or even allowing them to work from home changes can violate the terms of their visa and put them in jeopardy of being unable to renew.
While many companies have lobbied the government to delay visa expiration dates or provide some other relief, however the Trump Administration has not responded so far. Further complicating the issue, many H-1B workers would not be able to return home due to travel restrictions and border closures.