The Daily Rundown

SMB News Daily Rundown: Update for July 16

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

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Small Business News Highlights for July 16: 

  • SBA reports all funds were disbursed but many SBOs still waiting for money
  • What happens when small businesses can’t pay the rent?
  • Why the WFH revolution is good for inclusion and diversity standards 

SBA reports all funds were disbursed but many SBOs still waiting for money

“The system had a temporary glitch that affected initial disbursements.”

The Small Business Administration announced earlier this week that the Economic Injury Disaster Relief program had allocated and disbursed all $360 billion it received from Congress during the initial rounds of COVID-19 stimulus funding. The program allows small businesses to apply for up to 6 months of operating expenses directly from the government and approximately 8 million business owners applied. 

The SBA reports that it has disbursed 99% of the funds, yet a survey last week from the National Federation of Independent Businesses found that only 55% of approved applicants actually received the money

The SBA has admitted that a glitch might have impacted disbursements, however they’ve so far declined to provide any additional data on the situation. 

What happens when small businesses can’t pay the rent?

“Should we be responsible for rent when we’re forced to close by the government? Should it be on us or on the landlord? It’s nobody’s fault but whose responsibility is it?”

One of the most common critiques of the Paycheck Protection Program is that the money must be used for payroll if small business owners want to have their loan forgiven. This means that small businesses across the country, in cities of all sizes, have struggled to pay rent during the pandemic.   

While landlords and real estate leasing companies have their own expenses, many small business owners are questioning whether they should continue paying rent when the government is forcing them to close. 

Many tenants have attempted to strike deals with their landlords, with The Main Street Alliance reporting that 60% of their membership has paid reduced rent over the past 4 months. New York City has set up a free legal clinic to assist business owners with negotiating terms of their lease. 

Why the WFH revolution is good for inclusion and diversity standards 

“If handled appropriately, the remote revolution could have knock-on effects that create radically healthier work environments across industries.”

As an increasing number of companies move to make their workforce remote on a more permanent basis, work from home (WFH) policies are being scrutinized from all sorts of angles. And while some people are concerned that this change will jeopardize efforts at inclusion and diversity, others note that there are ways that WFH can be done in a way that champions inclusion, diversity, and emotional well-being for employees

In fact, WFH removes the pressure that some employees might feel to conform to workplace and cultural norms. People with special dietary, religious or other needs and preferences no longer have to deal with curious or even hostile colleagues. WFH scenarios remove most obstacles that prevent workers from truly being comfortable in the workplace. 

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