The St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce presents: Coronavirus Impact Insights.
In the wake of the passage of the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump Wednesday, Sean McConnell, CEO of Modern Business Associates, along with Brady Diggs, Senior Director of Business Development, join Catalyst Publisher Joe Hamilton and St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce CEO Chris Steinocher in the Catalyst studio.
Modern Business Associates, a human resources outsourcing company, provides HR, payroll and worker’s compensation services. All of its HR consultants are labor employment attorneys. With that knowledge, McConnell breaks down the components of the new federal legislation and the effects it could have on small business. He offers his best human resources advice for hospitality-related business owners and sheds some light on moves that might be best for employees. Then, Steinocher and Hamilton speak with Chad Nuss, co-founder of InsideOut Sales Labs, to discuss the 150 new jobs the company is hiring for over the upcoming months.
One common concern that Modern Business Associates has dealt with throughout this crisis is remote work. Companies are grappling with the logistics of allowing their employees to work remotely, and determining which position can safely and productively transition to remote.
McConnell covers the Family First Coronavirus Response Act, which goes into effect April 2. The bill includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, which applies to all employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Employees may take paid sick leave if he/she is unable to work because they are subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation; advised to quarantine by a healthcare worker; experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis; caring for an individual who is subject to quarantine or isolation or has been advised to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19 or is themselves infected; caring for a child whose school has been closed.
The bill also includes the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, which provides family leave for employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees – whose child’s school has closed – with paid leave. There is a special exemption for businesses of 50 or fewer employees who can prove that the paid leave benefits would cause serious financial hardship to the business.
McConnell is concerned that these provisions will hit small businesses hard. “Small business runs this country,” McConnell said. “Their concerns particularly are – if they’re closed down, just doing take out, how are they going to afford to pay for things?” Small businesses will see some relief, in the form of a tax credit, but McConnell says he worries that it may be too little too late for some.
Many employers are struggling with employment decisions. Should they furlough employees? Lay them off? Keep them employed?
According to McConnell, laying off employees is the most ideal situation, particularly if the layoff is temporary, because it effectively acts as a termination for benefits purposes, allowing them to claim unemployment and COBRA. Furlough, he says, is least ideal because employees are not eligible for benefits.
Diggs discusses the details of the project Modern Business Associates started to help hospitality businesses. It’s called #CarryOutStPete and it takes place Friday, March 20 and Friday, March 27. The goal of the project is to get people utilizing social distancing but buying some food from local restaurants owned and operated in downtown St. Pete. So far, downtown employers have committed to purchasing (in bulk) over 500 meals.
Get more details in Finance Editor Margie Manning’s article here.
Finally, Nuss joins the show to bring some great news for laid off hospitality workers. InsideOut Sales Lab, which helps companies like T-Mobile, Google, IBM, ADP and Honeywell sell more effectively, is hiring 150 workers in the next few months after signing deals with T-Mobile, Google and others. Get more details on that great news here.