The Daily Rundown

SMB News Daily Rundown: Update for July 8

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

temperature-check

Small Business News Highlights for July 8: 

  • Businesses continue to weigh value of testing employees during reopening
  • Post-pandemic work means a higher level of workplace surveillance
  • Economists weigh consequences of ending federal unemployment supplements

Businesses continue to weigh value of testing employees during reopening

The cost of the test at scale is pretty prohibitive.”

Organizations of all shapes and sizes continue to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks of widespread testing programs for coronavirus. While widespread testing is a crucial part of curbing the spread of the virus, many companies are grappling with the prohibitive costs of the test, as well as concerns about violating employee health privacy.  

Instead, employers are using less reliable measures, such as temperature checks, in an attempt to safely reopen. Other options, such as antibody testing have varying degrees of accuracy and scientists have still not determined if antibodies confer lasting immunity. 

Post-pandemic work means a higher level of workplace surveillance

“I think most of it doesn’t have nefarious intent. But, that being said, we don’t have clarity on how these data might be accessed by an insurer, for example.”

In fact, according to new research from Gartner, 51% of employers are planning on collecting temperature data on their employees, opening up new concerns about the level of surveillance in the workplace and how employers might use — or misuse — the data they collect. 

In addition to manually checking employee temperatures, infrared camera technology now allows employers to monitor their employees temperatures from afar. To monitor productivity, companies have also asked remote workers to install keystroke monitors to track workers from at home. 

Economists weigh consequences of ending federal unemployment supplements

“That’s why they make credit cards.”

One week into the last month of the expanded $600 per week unemployment benefits, economists are considering what will happen to the economy if Congress fails to extend aid beyond July

A recent report found that two-thirds of unemployed workers would be able to stay afloat longer than 3 months without the additional $600 per week from the federal government. 

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