As if our economy wasn’t in enough turmoil already, here’s something else we should all be worried about.
Sometime in June the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on efforts to end DACA
the immigration program that offers work permits and deportation relief to immigrant “Dreamers” who came to the United States illegally as children.
The court’s decision could greatly impact our employees, business associates and customers. (And, of course, our families, friends and neighborhoods.)
There are an estimated 5,600 Dreamers in Massachusetts and 649,000 nationwide. They’re integral to every segment of our economy
including an estimated 29,000 health-care practitioners
who right now are fighting on the front lines of coronavirus pandemic.
If the court ends the program, Dreamers, whose average age is 26, could face deportation, creating more havoc (and heartbreak) in many workplaces.
Last fall, more than 140 companies and 18 major business associations, warned the Court
in a brief that ending DACA would “inflict serious harm” on their businesses, workers and the U.S. economy.
MIRA, the Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Coalition explores steps the private sector and advocates can take in this policy brief.
Confused by Baker’s ‘four phases’?
Are you having a hard time finding your business or nonprofit on the list
showing which business can open when
under Gov. Charlie Baker’s four phase reopening plan
Or, do you have a specific question about how the available guidance applies to your work place?
The state has set up a portal just for those kinds of questions: Submit your inquiry here
Officials promise that every comment will be reviewed and compiled, but only questions will receive a response.
Deadline today for Newton’s bricks and mortar grants
Today’s the deadline to apply for the City of Newton program offering help covering commercial rent or mortgage, wages, loss of inventory and other demonstrated
costs. Grant awards will range from $10,000 for microenterprises (five employees or fewer, including the owner) and $15,000 for businesses with six
to 20 employees. Nonprofits and marijuana establishments are ineligible per federal regulations. Franchisees of national or regional chain businesses
are also not eligible. Details here.
Organizing the hospitality industry
As our restaurant operators continue to anxiously await reopening guidelines and timelines (and diners express their own skittishness
about how reopening plays out), a long-needed new statewide group of independent restaurant operators has been established.
Yesterday about one dozen chamber member restaurateurs participated in a zoom meeting with Jody Adams
and Bessie King
to learn about the Mass Restaurants United
coalition, a group of 500 independent restaurant professionals created to advocate for the hospitality industry and to plan solutions to survive, repair
and rebuild now and beyond.
We talked about everything from delivery fees
rent relief and business disruption insurance to the need to educate consumers about how challenging and tenuous this industry is even in good times.
The chamber’s own restaurant owner group meets via Zoom on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. If you’re an owner or operator and would like to join our group email Tiffany Chen.
- “Let’s Open! (Opening our Restaurants Safely in the COVID-19 Era)” Today, May 27, 2 p.m. Go here.
- “Common Sense Suggestions for a Restaurant’s Response to COVID-19 and Planning the Logistics of Reopening” Thursday, May 28, 11 a.m. Go here.
- “Employee Relations, How to Effectively Return Your Workforce During COVID-19” Thursday, May 28, 2 p.m. Go here.
PPP: The saga continues
But what do they mean?
Forbes.com takes stab at translating it all
. The BBJ reports
(paywall) that the new rules allow using PPP funds to pay bonuses, hazard pay or other extra compensation for employees, but not for owners.
And Elizabeth Adler, an attorney with the Beacon Law Group
provides some helpful navigation:
- Loan Forgiveness Process (p. 7)
- Payroll Costs Eligible for Loan Forgiveness (p. 8)
- Nonpayroll Costs Eligible for Loan Forgiveness (p. 12)
- Reductions to Loan Forgiveness Amount (p. 13)
- Documentation Requirements (p. 22)
- SBA Reviews of Individual PPP Loans (p. 7)
- The Loan Forgiveness Process for Lenders (p. 10)
- Lender Fees (p. 15)
Of course, the thing that’s driving business owners crazy is that they still don’t know if Congress
will follow through on efforts to reform the rules or extend the spending period. Some businesses are already six weeks into their eight-week spending
What’s Adler’s advice? “As of this writing, neither of these proposed changes has become law, and it is necessary to proceed on the basis of the eight-week
spending period and 75% payroll cost requirement.”
Naturally, you may want to consult your own financial advisor, attorney or tarot card reader before doing anything.
Emergency pandemic unemployment compensation
Last week, the state announced
that Massachusetts residents who are eligible for the federal CARES Act and qualify for having exhausted their regular unemployment compensation may
receive Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). This program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to individuals
who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits. Visit www.mass.gov/peuc
for eligibility rules and to apply.
And finally, news about your chamber!
We’re now just $13,025 short of our goal to make sure the chamber ends this year in the black.
One third of our 2020 operating budget depends on revenue for events that have been cancelled or put on hold. Dues revenue has declined too, as some members
seek to regain their financial footing.
But thanks to the remarkable generosity of 74 businesses, large and small, and individual donors, the finish line is in view.
In particular we’re thrilled to announce a $10,000 donation from Karyopham
the Wells Ave. based pharmaceutical company that happens to be in the middle of clinical trials
to treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
We’re committed to standing with the businesses and nonprofits that make our communities special. Please stand with us by donating to underwrite our advocacy
Thanks very much!
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber