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:
- President Biden signs order to reopen Healthcare.gov
- Millions of Americans still waiting for unemployment benefits due to backlogs
- “Maximum unemployment” and what it means for the country’s economic recovery
- Economists debate the overall impact of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
President Biden signs order to reopen Healthcare.gov
“The problem is, if you don’t have insurance, you might be able to piece together some care through free clinics. But generally, you’re not going to get great care.”
Americans who don’t receive employer-sponsored health insurance benefits will be eligible to obtain coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplace during a special 3-month enrollment period starting on February 14, 2021.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order announcing the marketplace would be opened for the extended enrollment period to help Americans who have lost coverage due to COVID-19 related changes in their employment status. As of June 2020, an estimated 7.7 million people lost employer-sponsored healthcare coverage due to the pandemic.
Millions of Americans still waiting for unemployment benefits due to backlogs
“It drains you so mentally and emotionally, and it makes you just feel worthless, like you’re begging someone to give you something that was entitled to be given.”
Inefficient systems and delayed processing times have created major backlogs in state unemployment offices across the nation, impacting millions of Americans waiting for government assistance.
In fact, a recent analysis found that only about 30% of unemployed people are currently receiving unemployment payments, which equates to roughly 8 million people struggling to make ends meet without help.
Furthermore, without Congressional action, extended federal unemployment benefits will expire in roughly 6 weeks, impacting over 11 million unemployed Americans.
“Maximum unemployment” and what it means for the country’s economic recovery
“It is going to take a long time to get back to 2000, to the absolute best situation, if ever.”
As policymakers debate the best way to promote economic recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some economists are asking questions about what “maximum employment” will look like moving forward and what the overall goals of stimulus policies should be.
For instance, the question arises whether it’s more important to dedicate immediate support for people waiting to return to a job in an ailing industry? Or whether the resources should go towards retraining and relocation assistance to help people move to new jobs and industries?
Economists debate the overall impact of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
As the Small Business Administration continues to approve new loan applications and award debt forgiveness to old ones, some economists continue to critique the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and question how effective it has been at preserving jobs.
While the Treasury Department suggested that the PPP had saved 19 million jobs as of December 2020, other economists estimate that the loan program has really only saved somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 million jobs.
The Latest from Workest
For companies looking to attract top talent, offering hospital indemnity insurance is a good way to stand out from competitors. Riia O’Donnell explains the ins and outs of hospital indemnity coverage.
What does it mean to run your HR department from a People Ops framework — and how does it impact the hiring and onboarding process? Catherine Tansey explains in this article on improving onboarding with a People Ops perspective.
Finally, before we say goodbye for the week, here are 3 things you should know:
- Pandemic pay premiums continue to be a hot-button issue for employers as some voluntarily increase premiums while other companies close locations in response to government-mandated wage increases.
- Nike is providing California employees with see-through masks in response to a class-action lawsuit on behalf of deaf and hard-of-hearing customers who are unable to read lips while employees wear masks.
Visa hopes to score big on Super Bowl Sunday with a program aimed at helping small businesses accept digital payments.