COVID-19 Update March 17, 2021

We came across a few interesting articles this week on some major topics we wanted to share:

First, the American Rescue Plan Act, signed into law on March 11, contains several key provisions to help struggling businesses and workers during the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, it allocates a total of $50 billion to small businesses including an additional $7.25 billion in PPP funds and $28.6 billion for a new grant program for certain bars, restaurants, and other venues that had to close during the pandemic. Additionally, FFCRA and other tax credits have been extended, along with unemployment supplements. The government will also subsidize 100 percent of COBRA premiums for laid-off workers and covered relatives, allowing them to stay on their company-sponsored health plan through September.

Next, research shows that a quarter of workers plan to quit their jobs outright once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and recruiting efforts ramp up, causing a ‘Turnover Tsunami.’ Retention and turnover experts now predict voluntary job-leaving will increase significantly in 2021 as employees resume job searches they put off for the past year. The key takeaway was to be sure to take special care of your most valued team members. It’s a good time to check in with everyone and gather feedback. Delta is happy to help in these areas to complete surveys of employees and drill down on anything to make your company a better place to work.

Lastly, there is lots of controversy around the minimum wage increase to $15/hr. Opponents of increasing the minimum wage to $15 argue that it will burden small businesses—which make up 99 percent of all employers — with increased labor costs and result in layoffs, expediting automation, or going out of business. Proponents of the wage increase argue that a higher minimum wage would benefit employers by boosting morale and productivity and decreasing employee turnover and absenteeism. The best solution seems to be to use a locality-based wage system tied to the median wage, taking care not to disproportionally impact lower-cost areas negatively.

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