The Daily Rundown

SMB News Daily Rundown: Update for October 12

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

flu vaccine

Small Business News Highlights for October 12: 

  • White House now advocating to repurpose unused PPP funds for new SMB aid
  • Small businesses adding services to compete for holiday shoppers
  • Can you require your employees to get a flu shot?

Unused PPP funds

“Now is the time for us to come together and immediately vote on a bill to allow us to spend the unused Paycheck Protection Program funds while we continue to work toward a comprehensive package.”

The White House has changed tactics once again and is urging lawmakers to use approximately $130 billion in unclaimed funds from the Paycheck Protection Program to fund a new aid package to help the country’s small businesses.

Last week, President Donald Trump signed off on an almost $2 trillion aid package that addressed a wide range of economic priorities. The offer was largely rebuffed by both parties and many Washington D.C. insiders expect this newest proposal to be refused, too.

Shopping small for the holidays

“I think a lot of it is people wanting to shop small. They’re concerned about how small businesses have been hurt through all of this.”

Small businesses across the country are adding more services to their offerings this year in a bid to get a larger share of holiday dollars.  From FaceTime virtual shopping sessions to curbside delivery, SBOs are looking for ways to make it easier for consumers to support local businesses instead of giant retailers.

Many small businesses report that the last quarter of the year brings in their biggest profits.

Workplace flu vaccination

“Although promoting a safe workplace and protecting the health and wellbeing of your workforce is a noble cause, you should proceed with caution in implementing an across-the-board, mandatory flu vaccination policy.”

Public health officials continue to tout the importance of the flu vaccine this year as a means of preventing further devastation from the novel coronavirus. If hospitals are not overburdened caring for influenza patients, the argument goes, they will be better equipped to care for people who contract COVID-19.

In light of this, many employers have considered requiring employees to get the flu jab. But the question remains: can you mandate influenza vaccinations for employees?

The short answer: No, not really.

While OSHA says that employers can “require” the vaccine, any employee “who refuses vaccination because of a reasonable belief that he or she has a medical condition that creates a real danger of serious illness or death (such as a serious reaction to the vaccine) may be protected under Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act pertaining to whistleblower rights.”

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