Human Resources

Small Businesses Relying Heavily on Federal Relief

Attorney Harrison Oldham

On May 3, 2021, the National Federation of Independent Business (“NFIB”) released its latest survey on the impact the pandemic has had on small businesses.  The NFIB is the largest small business association in the country, with about 300,000 members, and this survey is the 17th survey the NFIB has conducted.  You may see the survey for yourself, here: https://www.nfib.com/content/press-release/coronavirus/nfib-covid-19-survey-small-business-recovery-working-towards-pre-crisis-levels/.

In this latest survey, which cataloged responses from roughly 550 small businesses in late April, more than half of the respondents said that a worker had taken sick or family leave related to the virus.

According to the survey, which includes about 550 respondents, about half (53%) of responding small business employers have had an employee take COVID-19 related sick or family leave.  More specifically, the survey provides:

70% of small business have had at least one employee take COVID-19 related paid sick leave or paid family leave;
13% reported it being unpaid leave;
17% reported it being a mix of both paid and unpaid leave, and
43% percent of owners providing paid time off for COVID-19 sick or family leave have claimed the tax credit.

In looking at these numbers, an interesting fact is that of the 53% of small employers that said they’d had an employee take virus-related sick or family leave, the vast majority of these workers, 70%, were paid during their time away from the office.

This figure represents a significant jump from NFIB’s December survey, which netted about 600 responses, of which a little over a quarter of small employers reported an employee taking COVID-19 leave.  In the December report, only about 25% of the responding businesses said that an employee had used either sick leave or family leave.

In addition, the NFIB survey sheds some interesting light on other aspects of operating as a small business during the COVID pandemic.  For example, a little over half of the small business owners said they had already been vaccinated.  This is a significant increase from March when 26% of owners had received a vaccination.  Further, 37% said they had no plans to get inoculated against COVID-19. Another 9% said that they plan to get the vaccine, but not right away, according to the survey.

As for their workers, small employers appear fairly evenly split on whether to promote the vaccine in their business. About 46% of the respondents reported that they will encourage employees to receive the vaccine. A much smaller portion (3%) said they have required or will require workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

As it relates to the PPP and with the extension of the PPP deadline, about 15% of those small business owners who did not receive a PPP during the first round in 2020, applied and received a PPP loan in 2021.  Additionally, 37% of those who received a first PPP loan in 2020 received a second PPP loan in 2021. Finally, the vast majority (82%) have submitted a PPP loan forgiveness application for their 2020 PPP loan.

These are some really interesting numbers that, in my opinion, show that the federal programs put in place to help businesses survive the pandemic, are being heavily utilized and hopefully accomplishing the exact goal they were set out to achieve.

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About Harrison Oldham

Harrison grew up in Mansfield, Texas. He attended Texas A&M University for his bachelor’s degree, where he met his wonderful wife, Kelsey. After graduating magna cum laude from Texas A&M, he attended SMU Dedman School of Law, graduating with honors in 2012. Today, Harrison and his wife live in Dallas, Texas with their son, Teddy.

Since graduating from SMU Law, Harrison has worked exclusively in the field of business law. He has spent time in private practice and in-house, working with clients of every size; from single person startups to Fortune 250 companies. Today his practice focuses on serving the diverse needs of businesses and individuals throughout Texas. You can learn more about Harrison by visiting his website, at: http://lonestarbusinesslaw.com/.

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