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:
- White House says U.S. Jobs Plan supports small businesses
- LinkedIn adds “Stay At Home” parent as job title option
- Consumer prices increase by over 2% since last year
- Senate Democrats propose overhauling U.S. unemployment system
- Experts say businesses can require proof of vaccination
- Small businesses report growing optimism despite persistent hiring challenges
White House says U.S. Jobs Plan supports small businesses
“Alongside his American Jobs Plan, President Biden is releasing a Made in America Tax Plan that will help level the playing field between small businesses and large, multinational corporations.”
The White House released a fact sheet yesterday outlining the ways that the administration’s American Jobs Plan will help support small businesses through infrastructure and workforce improvements.
In addition to direct investments and improvements to infrastructure that impact SMB logistics and shipping, the plan would create more access to government contracts, expand access to capital and lending (especially for minority business owners), and strengthen manufacturing supply chains.
LinkedIn adds “Stay At Home” parent as job title option
“…the changes include the ability to add job titles such as “stay-at-home mom,” “stay-at-home dad” or “stay-at-home parent,” and LinkedIn will remove requirements that users’ resume entries be linked to a specific company or employer.”
Changes are coming to LinkedIn, including new job titles that reflect the large number of (mostly) women who left the workforce for caregiving roles during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The changes are meant to create a more “expressive and inclusive” platform that accurately reflects that many different types of work and workplaces.
Consumer prices increase by over 2% since last year
“What we are experiencing this year is an unusual economic recovery — one in which the U.S. economy’s reopening, Americans’ elevated savings levels, pent-up demand and significant fiscal stimulus is likely to create a ‘perfect storm’ — a strong burst in spending.”
New data from the United States Department of Labor indicates that the consumer price index increased by 0.6% from February to March, representing an overall 2.6% increase in prices over this time last year.
While many worry that this signals the beginning of an upward trend in inflation, federal officials believe that it will normalize and is just a small part of the economy recovering after the damage inflicted by the global pandemic last year.
Senate Democrats propose overhauling U.S. unemployment system
“Too many unemployed folks, people who are laid off through no fault of their own, are getting a benefit that leaves them unable to pay rent and unable to pay for groceries.”
Democratic senators from Oregon and Colorado have proposed new legislation to overhaul the U.S. unemployment system in light of perceived failings of the current system exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senators Wyden and Bennet have proposed legislation that would allow unemployed workers to access unemployment benefits sooner and would also increase the benefit to 75% of the worker’s former pay. Under the new legislation, the benefit would be available to unemployed workers for at least 26 weeks.
Experts say businesses can require proof of vaccination
“It is lawful and ethical for a business to require proof of vaccination as a condition of working or getting service.”
As tech companies race to create digital tools to streamline the process for providing proof of vaccination, the American public is debating the pros and cons of these so-called “vaccine passports.” Though the White House stated that a federally-mandated passport is not on the horizon, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and employment law experts have weighed in on the issue, indicating that it is reasonable and lawful for private businesses to require proof of vaccination.
Small businesses report growing optimism despite persistent hiring challenges
“Main Street is doing better as state and local restrictions are eased, but finding qualified labor is a critical issue for small businesses nationwide.”
The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) announced that small business optimism has reached a pandemic high of 98.2, even though it is still well below pre-pandemic levels.
The NFIB also found that 42% of small businesses were unable to fill open positions, despite the persistently high national unemployment rate.
The Latest from Workest
For business owners who want to encourage workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19, offering incentives can motivate employees to get the shot. This week, Andrea Curry looks at some of the ways SMBs are getting workers to get jabbed.
New Mexico is the latest U.S. state to legalize recreational medical marijuana. What does the growing trend toward legalization mean for your company — and do you have a marijuana in the workplace policy?
Finally, before we say goodbye for the week, here are 3 things you should know:
- Forget a kitchen stocked with snacks, some companies are taking workplace perks to new (and outrageous levels) and using “amenities” like wild horses to attract talent.
- As President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure proposal undergoes scrutiny, the conversation is growing around whether caregiving qualifies as infrastructure and what it means for women returning to the workforce.
- Just because your employer says you can continue to work from home doesn’t mean that you can (or should) pick up and move. Here’s why.
Check out our People Ops Podcast episode “Build Your People, Build the World”