Welcome to the Small Business Weekly Rundown. Each week, we bring you stories and trends that impact small business owners and their workforce.
Small Business News Highlights:
- Small businesses reporting higher tax burden after accepting PPP loans
- Senate continues to debate employees liability protection against COVID-19 outbreaks
- Texas plans to give small businesses access to rapid COVID-19 tests
- Restaurant workers report fewer tips, more harassment during pandemic
- Working parents report skyrocketing childcare costs as another pandemic hardship
Small businesses reporting higher tax burden after accepting PPP loans
“It truly is a bit of a case of a ‘gotcha’ for businesses that proceeded to accept the loan on one basis of understanding of the tax outcome and now being presented with a very different basis.”
After months of turmoil and scandal, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is getting more bad press, as small business owners find another flaw in the emergency loan program: small business owners who used funds to pay business expenses are no longer eligible to deduct those expenses as they normally would, effectively raising their tax bill for the year.
This realization comes as many businesses are already struggling with a significant drop in revenue due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Senate continues to debate employees liability protection against COVID-19 outbreaks
“This is not just about businesses. It’s about universities, charities and others who see this developing epidemic of lawsuits headed their way.”
The White House and federal lawmakers continue to negotiate the details of another stimulus program and a major sticking point for both sides is whether or not business can be held liable for coronavirus outbreaks in the workplace.
In general, Democrats want protections for workers, while Republican lawmakers argue that it could open up businesses to lawsuits.
The White House has offered a $918 billion package that includes $600 direct payments, but drastically reduces unemployment benefits. Federal emergency benefit programs are currently set to expire at the end of this month.
Texas plans to give small businesses access to rapid COVID-19 tests
“This rapid testing pilot program will protect the safety of small business owners, their employees, and Texas consumers as we continue to combat COVID-19.”
Texas announced on Monday a plan to provide access to rapid testing to sinking small businesses. The program, aimed at protecting frontline workers and consumers and slowing the spread of the virus, will start with 6 local chambers of commerce and then roll out as more supplies become available.
Currently, Texas small businesses employee 4.8 million people or 45% of the state’s private workforce.
Restaurant workers report fewer tips, more harassment during pandemic
“[A male customer] asked me to take my mask off so they could see my face and decide how much to tip me.”
Service industry employees, already hit with reduced hours and fewer customers, are reporting another troubling trend related to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent survey of restaurant staff in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, Illinois, and Massachusetts, restaurant patrons are tipping less and — in some cases — harassing their servers more.
According to the researchers, a significant number of survey respondents reported that male customers would demand that they remove their mask so that they could determine how much to tip based on the server’s physical appearance.
Working parents report skyrocketing childcare costs as another pandemic hardship
“I was like, ‘Are you serious?’ There was no way we could afford that price with three kids.”
As infection rates skyrocket across much of the country and schools send students home, working parents are grappling with the increasing cost of childcare during the work day. With schools closed, parents are forced to pay for care of school-aged children, or to juggle their schooling with their own workload during the day. One DC-area couple reported that their monthly childcare cost went from $1,850 before the pandemic, to $5,300.
The Latest from Workest
Though the holiday shopping season is already well underway, there’s still time to implement 5 tips to increase your holiday sales. Analysts note that consumers are spending less money this year on dining out and entertainment and are more inclined to spend their holiday dollars at small businesses.
It’s not too late to plan a safe and enjoyable holiday celebration to acknowledge the hard work of your employees this year. Dan Marzullo offers a convenient checklist for creating safe, enjoyable celebrations this season.
Finally, before we say goodbye for the week, here are 3 things you should know:
- American Airlines is now offering pre-flight COVID-19 testing for passengers headed to destinations with travel restrictions in place.
- The Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the pay gap between male and female federal employees dropped from 19% in 1999 to 7% in 2017.
- The mass pivot to remote work has exacerbated the need for IT professionals, with the United States reporting over 500,000 open positions in the field of cybersecurity.