SMB News Weekly Rundown

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

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Small Business News Highlights:

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Congress passes and President Trump signs $900 billion stimulus bill

“You don’t get everything you want, even if you’re the president of the United States.”

Nearly a week after calling the bill a “disgrace” President Donald Trump signed into law the $900 billion stimulus package sent to him by Congress, narrowly averting a partial government shutdown. The COVID-19 relief bill, attached to a larger omnibus spending bill, provides $600 direct payments for individuals, extends weekly federal unemployment benefits of $300, directs $82 billion for education, and an additional $285 billion for small business loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

coronavirus stimulus payment

The amount of direct payments still under consideration

“The House and the president are in agreement: We must deliver $2,000 checks to American families struggling this Holiday Season. The House just passed the #CASHAct — it’s time for the Senate to do the same.”

The President did not sign the bill without comment, however, and sent the redlined legislation back to the Hill for lawmakers to consider raising the amount of direct payments to $2000.

The House passed a bill with bipartisan support to increase the amount of the payments, putting the ball in the Senate’s court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not announced whether he will move the bill forward to the Senate floor for a vote, so Senator Bernie Sanders has indicated that he plans to filibuster a separate bill in an attempt to force a vote.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department has announced that they are working to get payments out by the end of the week.

delivery worker covid 19

Delay in unemployment benefits will impact millions of Americans

“If you are an unemployed worker, of course you can breathe some sigh of relief.” But with Trump’s delay, “he has introduced substantial uncertainty for people who are struggling to make ends meet on a day-to-day basis.”

President Trump’s delay in signing the bill allowed federal unemployment programs created by the CARES Act to lapse, causing a further delay in assistance for as many as 12 million American workers.

The new legislation provides an additional 11 weeks of $300 federally-subsidized payments and also extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program to non-employees, such as gig workers.

Study finds that construction industry has highest rate of COVID-19 infections

“The distinction is that the virus is not spreading occupationally — in other words, workers are not getting the virus from their jobsites — but instead is being transmitted via local communities and then workers are showing up, asymptomatic, and testing positive.”

A new study reviewing the results of more than 730,000 COVID-19 tests found that the construction industry has the highest number of asymptomatic cases.

The study found that construction workers had a positivity rate of 5.7% for asymptomatic individuals, and a 10.1% rate for symptomatic workers.

The study also suggests that construction workers are more likely to go to work when sick due to a lack of paid-time off benefits. It also made the distinction that the virus is not spreading on construction sites, but rather workers are catching the virus in the community and bringing it to work.

The Latest from Workest

As 2020 draws to a close and many people start considering the ways they’d like to change and grow in 2021, consider this List of Lifestyle Benefits for Competitive Small Businesses from Valerie Bolden-Barret for ideas on how to help your employees feel more engaged and satisfied with their jobs and lives.

And for small business owners looking for ways to improve their leadership, management, or overall office culture, Dan Marzullo discusses how anonymous feedback can be an effective way to give staff a voice about workplace issues.

Finally, before we say goodbye for the week, here are 3 things you should know:

  1. Looking for a change? Baltimore recently ranked high on the list of metropolitan areas with high levels of small business optimism.
  2. Though there were no bystander casualties from the Christmas Day bombing, a total of 41 businesses in Nashville were damaged or destroyed.
  3. Check out these cool interactive graphs representing how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted employment across the nation.
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