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State & Local Financial Resources for Businesses to Combat Coronavirus Challenges

If your business missed applying for PPP loans or didn’t quality, the federal government has approved Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for small businesses in all 50 states. This relief is offered via the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Targeted EIDL Advances

As of April 7, 2021, a new round of EIDL Advances, called Targeted EIDL Advances, was launched. It’s important to note that the combined amount of the Targeted EIDL Advance and any previously received Advance will not exceed $10,000.

The Targeted EIDL Advances differ slightly than previous EIDL grants. Businesses are only eligible if they meet ALL the following criteria:

  • Located in a low-income community, as defined in section 45D(e) of the Internal Revenue Code. Check the mapping tool to see if you’re in an area that qualifies.
  • Suffered economic loss greater than 30 percent, as demonstrated by an 8-week period beginning on March 2, 2020, or later, compared to the previous year. You will be required to provide the total amount of monthly gross receipts from January 2019 to the current month-to-date.
  • Must have 300 or fewer employees. Business entities normally eligible for the EIDL program are eligible, including sole proprietors, independent contractors, and private, nonprofit organizations. However, agricultural enterprises, such as farmers and ranchers, are not eligible to receive the Targeted EIDL Advance.

While there isn’t an available application, be on the lookout for an email invite from the SBA to apply, as it’s the ONLY way to apply. Just to be sure, you can search your inbox for this domain now – @sba.gov – to be positive you haven’t received it already.

Businesses that received a previous EIDL Advance less than $10,000 will have first priority to apply for the Targeted EIDL Advance, followed by businesses that applied before December 21 but did not receive because available funding was exhausted. They take several weeks to be sent out fully, so don’t fret if you don’t get it right away.

If you receive an email and qualify, you may be asked to provide an IRS Form 4506-T for tax information purposes.

For more info about the Targeted EIDL Advances, read more here. Here is a list of FAQ’s from the SBA’s website about the grants for more information.

FAQs

This program offers:

  • Loans of up to $2 million
  • Interest rates of 3.75% (2.75% for non-profits)
  • Collateral of $25,000 for all loans (might be waived in some cases)
  • 30-year repayment terms
  • Funds within 14-20 days
  • Cash advances of up to $10,000 upon application that DO NOT need to be repaid
PPP vs EIDL Loan

We’ve pulled some of the most important distinctions between PPP and EIDL loan properties for you (but can read them for yourself here):

  • While the PPP loan is forgivable, the EIDL loan is not (the $10,000 advance is actually a grant and does NOT require repayment)
  • There are fewer restrictions on what you can spend EIDL loans on, making them a perfect avenue to invest in marketing or other business growth efforts
  • PPP lenders are regulated lenders like banks, while the SBA handles EIDL loans
  • There is a personal guarantee required for EIDL loans exceeding $200,000
  • The SBA will place a UCC lien against your assets for collateral
  • You can still apply for an EIDL loan even if you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes. However, you will be asked to submit IRS form 4506T, which provides the SBA with access to your previous tax returns

You can read more about EIDL loans here. You can begin the official application process online here.

Flexicrew

Our priority here at Flexicrew is to keep businesses like yours informed about COVID-19 — to stay up to date on developments.

Mental Trauma of COVID and 6 Steps to Protect Employees

According to the Washington Post, “Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in one month compared with the same time in 2019. In one month, roughly 20,000 people texted that hotline, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.”

Inspirational Quote Pic

It’s terrifying to realize a pandemic such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) remains around the world. The different stages of a pandemic can provide panic and anxiety. No one knows just how widespread or deadly the novel coronavirus will end up being.  But being proactive about your workers’ mental health can help to keep their mind and body healthy.

In the following information, we have detailed suggestions on ways to protect yourself and your staff.

One of the first steps you can take is to recognize the things you can control. Practicing self-care such as seeking professional help from a licensed mental health professional and finding ways to manage stress. Your means of coping with stress and anxiety goes a long way in managing your mental health. Here are some ways to help you ease anxiety surrounding COVID-19.

1. Help Employees Practice Good Self-Care

Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and engaging in some form of exercise may seem obvious since we were taught them as early as grammar school.  But they are always good steps to helping your personnel stay as physically and psychologically healthy as possible during stressful times.

Good self-care also keeps your workers’ immune system healthy which means eating well, sleeping well, and managing stress.

2. Peace of Mind

Practice recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, The World Health Organization, and other excerpts to curtail transmission of COVID-19 still include wearing a mask when going out, keeping at least 6-foot distance from others, and washing your hands regularly.

If you live in an area where the COVID-19 infection rates are very high, try to stay home as much possible, avoid crowds, and when do you go out practice the methods of safety detailed above. There are always steps you can take to decrease risk. Be aware that steps like washing your hands, wearing a mask, and keeping social distance remind you to focus on the things you can control.

Knowing you are doing everything possible to keep safe gives a lot of peace of mind.

3. Professional Help

If your staff’s  mental health is being affected by the stress and anxiety of COVID-19 then they may need to seek support.

Workers experiencing burnout should reach out to their Human Resources department. Frequently supervisors are not familiar with what benefits are offered, particularly relating to mental health. But HR personnel are more aware of what’s available from a company and will be able to help obtain those resources.

It might mean to seek the help of a mental health professional. A licensed mental health professional can help you manage stress while helping you to make the best personal decisions. The good news is thousands of therapists are now using remote methods, such as video conferencing, telemedicine so you can talk to someone right from home or your workplace (in private, of course).

High anxiety and stress can cause some workers to adopt unproven or unsafe prevention methods. Some of these methods can be harmful to you and others. It’s important to make sure any actions you take are truly beneficial.

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller

4. Develop an Action Plan

Be aware that increased depression and anxiety is probably going to occur with your workers. So, plan for it. If they start to feel sad, overwhelmed, frustrated or anxious – talk with them, have them write about it, just get it out, do not let it fester inside them. Be prepared and make a plan. Who to talk to?.

Another important issue is that employees often adopt the coping strategies they observe in their bosses.  Supervisors who show anxiety and stress during a pandemic may end up projecting the anxiety right along to their subordinates.

5. Read News From Trustworthy Sources And Limit Media Consumption

Avoid media outlets that provoke stress or focus on issues that can’t be controlled. Instead, turn to sources that give reliable information. One reputable source is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They provide helpful tips to keep you and your co-workers safe during these unprecedented times.

Watching media stories that talk about how fast an illness is spreading, or the death toll will increase stress and anxiety. Limit your media consumption to a certain time frame or a certain number of stories.

It is helpful to stay informed, but you shouldn’t allow yourself to be bombarded with anxiety-provoking news all day. The most important actions are to keep you and your workers properly informed, calm, and healthy as possible.

6. The Bottom Line

Remember one thing.  People are strong.  We will get through this.  It is not forever and most important do not project what has not yet happened. If you are healthy and safe, don’t worry about what might happen.  Get vaccinated when it is your turn.  Stay in the moment and enjoy the present.

Need Help Finding Top Performers for your Team?

Call Flexicrew. As one of  the Southeast’s top staffing agencies, we have 14 years experience serving employers – and helping them find truly exceptional people. Contact us today to learn more!

Majority of Workers Want Safe Return to Office

Excerpted from Eden Workplace survey published 3/10/2021Safe return to workplace

85% of office workers are looking forward to returning to the office in some capacity according to research.  This however, does not necessarily reflect non-office or contrach workers.

Eden Workplace released findings from its Eden Workplace Return to Office Survey, which finds that at the 1 year mark of quarantine, 85% of office workers are looking forward to returning to the office in some capacity. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research and involved 1,000 nationally representative U.S. full- and part-time office workers ages 18+ between February 9th and February 17th 2021.

As the availability of COVID-19 vaccines has elevated discussions about employees returning to the office, the survey reveals more than half (52%) of office workers report socializing with colleagues as their top reason for wanting to return to the office. Other missed benefits by employees included having access to proper work equipment (44%) and getting out of the home (44%).

Attitude Differences by Segment 

The results also indicate different perspectives by age, ethnicity, and education levels. While 89% of millennials wish to return to the office, only 80% of baby boomers felt the same. Also, while 90% of non-white office workers expressed that they were looking forward to returning to the office, the results for white office workers were slightly lower at 84%. In terms of education, those with a college degree were the most likely to want to return at 90%.

Employee Health & Safety

The survey results also feature a number of insights related to safety, including that more than 3 in 5 (61%) respondents want strict enforcement of COVID-related workplace regulations by their employers. In fact, a quarter (26%) even feel that employees who violate COVID safety rules should face the steep consequence of being demoted or even fired.

The survey data showcases just how strong the national demand is among employees to return to the office, but also how insistent they are that employers provide a safe environment. The enthusiasm was universal, but it was especially strong for earlier career team members as well as non-white team members. It is clear that people miss seeing their colleagues.  A more flexible future is desired with a shift to the hybrid office.

Other Key Fndings

Employers are going to have to rethink their approach to traditional in-house proceedings.

  • Two-thirds of office workers (66%) will not be comfortable with in-person meetings unless everyone in attendance is at least six feet apart.

While most workers miss their coworkers and they don’t expect a major shift in how they will dress for work.

  • More than half (53%) expect to return to their pre-COVID, in-office dress style.
  • Another 23% think their colleagues will use the opportunity to showcase more formal attire (9%) or stylish and chic outfits (15%). On the flip side, 24% expect their colleagues to dress as casually as they did while working from home.
COVID Protections

Most workers feel basic COVID protections are important, but there is a large discrepancy among employee expectations depending upon access to COVID health and safety information and their level of displacement during quarantine.

  • The vast majority of workers expect free hand sanitizer (71%), company-provided masks (61%), and their workspace to be socially distanced (59%).
  • Meanwhile, those who never worked from home are far more likely to not want their employer to enforce COVID rules (46%), compared to those who have been working from home during quarantine (38%) and those who have already returned to the office (33%).
Technology to Keep Employees Safe

One prominent theme from the data is that, despite some variation in employee expectations about how the return to the office will roll out, they want to go back. Working from home clearly has its place, but the drive among workers to be among peers and colleagues is extraordinary. The timeline for a full return to the office is fluid, but it seems that we have turned a corner. It is therefore critical that employers invest in the proper technologies to help them manage their space and keep their employees safe.

You can review the full results from the Eden Workplace Return to Office Survey here.

Flexicrew Staffing Keeps you Informed

Flexicrew will continue to monitor changes in the workspace, worker attitudes and employer actions.  Stop back for pertinent findings.

$1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Summary

The $1.9 trillion relief bill, known as the American Rescue Plan, has passed Congress and will head to President Joe Biden for a signature. Highlights of the bill include extended unemployment benefits, direct checks to individuals and more.

While some of the bill was changed during its time in the Senate, it’s largely similar to the initial version passed by the House. However, some key provisions, such as a higher minimum wage, were scrapped amid efforts to pass the bill swiftly.

This article defines the most relevant terms included in the bill.

Small Business Assistance

The bill invests billions toward small business assistance. Here is the current funding breakdown:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan program: $15 billion
  • New grant program for bars and restaurants, specifically: $28 billion
  • Paycheck Protection Program: $7.25 billion
Direct Payments

Just like the two other COVID-19 relief bills passed during the pandemic, this version also features direct payments to Americans. This time around, eligible recipients can expect $1,400 per person ($2,800 for couples), including adult dependentsa family of four could receive up to $5,600.

However, payment parameters are stricter this time around than with the previous direct payment. The full amount will go to individuals earning under $75,000 (or $150,000 for couples), with payments cut off entirely for individuals earning over $80,000 (or $160,000 for couples). Individuals earning an amount between those figures will receive a reduced sum.

Unemployment Aid

The bill extends two previously established pandemic unemployment assistance efforts: the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Unemployed gig workers, freelancers, contractors and others who previously qualified for aid will continue to be eligible under these programs. The financial assistance provided by these two programs is currently set to expire in mid-March, which pressured legislators to act quickly.

The bill also provides for enhanced unemployment assistance payments of $300 per week. Under the bill, these programs and their financial aid are extended through Sept. 6.

Housing Assistance

The bill sets aside billions in financial aid to homeowners and renters. Here is the funding breakdown:

  • Aid for emergency rental assistance: $22 billion
  • Aid for mortgages, utilities and property taxes: $10 billion
  • Aid to states and localities to help individuals at risk of becoming homeless: $5 billion
Emergency Paid Leave

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), signed into law on March 18, 2020, required certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. That requirement expired Dec. 31, 2020.

The American Rescue Plan maintains the status quo, in that it does not require employers to offer leave under the FFCRA framework. However, the bill does provide tax credits for employers that voluntarily provide leave under the FFCRA framework through the end of September 2021.

Aid to Schools and Child Care

A significant portion of the relief bill involves aid to states, including schools and child care facilities:

  • Aid for getting K-12 schools ready for in-person learning: $125 billion
    • Money may be used for purchasing protective equipment, improving ventilation systems and hiring support staff, among other things. However, 20% of the money schools receive must be used to address pandemic learning loss—for example, extending learning time into the summer.
    • Aid carved out specifically for private schools: $2.75 billion
  • Aid for colleges: $40 billion
    •  Institutions will be required to spend at least 50% of their allocated funds on emergency financial aid grants to students.
  • Child care provider assistance: $39 billion
    • Funds may be used for payroll, rent, protective equipment and other expenses.
Tax Credits

The relief bill provides an overhaul of the child tax credit for the 2021 tax year. The bill increases the amount of the credit to $3,000 for each child under the age of 18 and $3,600 for children under the age of 6. The credit will also become fully refundable, meaning low-income individuals would receive the benefit.

The bill also expands the earned income tax credit for individuals without children. The maximum credit will be nearly tripled, and eligibility will be expanded as well.

Health Insurance

The bill subsidizes private health insurance premiums for unemployed workers through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). The provision allows individuals eligible for COBRA insurance coverage to maintain their employer-sponsored coverage after losing employment without having to pay any portion of the premiums through the end of September 2021.

Additionally, the bill invests nearly $35 billion in premium subsidy increases for those who buy coverage on the ACA Marketplace. The bill increases the subsidies provided to currently eligible individuals, and removes the 400% federal poverty level cap (equal to approximately $51,000 for an individual) on subsidy eligibility.

Aid to States, Local Governments, Tribes and Territories

The bill provides billions in financial assistance to states, local governments, tribes and territories. Here is the current funding breakdown:

  • Aid to state and local governments: $325.5 billion
  • Aid to tribes and territories: $24.5 billion
  • Creation of the Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund, to carry out capital projects directly enabling work, education and health monitoring: $10 billion
What’s NOT in the Bill

A minimum wage hike to $15 per hour—one of the most discussed provisions from the initial bill—has been removed from the final version due to strict rules governing budget bills in the Senate. Some Democrats have suggested this provision may be considered as a standalone bill, but any movement on that front remains to be seen.

Additionally, the bill does not include an extension of the eviction moratorium, which is set to expire on March 31, or an expansion of mandated paid sick and family and medical leave. While neither were included in the original House bill, these were popular provisions contained within one of the previous bills.

Summary

While there are many complex provisions in this nearly $2 trillion relief bill, many legal and tax consultants are available to help employers make sense of everything. Please reach out with questions about how this new bill may affect your organization.  And if you need assistance with recruiting or flexible staffing support, please contact Flexicrew.

Come back again to this space to track Flexicrew’s Coronavirus efforts and information for your business and workforce.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.

New CDC Guidelines for Fully Vaccinated

Excerpted from CNN Tuesday, March 9, 2021

 

Top federal health officials on Monday, March 8th told Americans who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 that they could once again gather in small groups at home without masks or social distancing.

Umbrella Take Care of Yourself

The guidance, issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, came almost a year to the day after the coronavirus first gripped the United States and Americans were told to avoid large groups to stop the spread of the deadly disease.

Still, the good news is heavily caveated. Travel, even for those who’ve been vaccinated, is advised against — though some prominent medical experts said the CDC is being overly cautious. And the threat of pernicious Covid-19 variants may be about to inflict another surge of death and sickness.

But the announcement of the guidelines on Monday was a striking moment after 12 months of pain and heartache, signaling the first step in a real — albeit restrained — return to normal life for the 30 million Americans already fully vaccinated.

The new CDC guidance says fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing.
  • Visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without masks or physical distancing, if the unvaccinated people are at low risk for severe disease.
  • Skip quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has Covid-19 but are asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

But people who are fully vaccinated still need to take precautions in many scenarios:

  • Wear a mask and keep good physical distance around the unvaccinated who are at increased risk for severe Covid-19, or if the unvaccinated person has a household member who is at higher risk.
  • Wear masks and physically distance when visiting unvaccinated people who are from multiple households.
  • Keep physical distance in public.
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized crowds.
  • Avoid poorly ventilated public spaces.
  • Wash hands frequently.
  • Get tested for Covid-19 if you feel sick.

The airline industry is pushing back against the guidance that fully vaccinated people should avoid travel.

Follow this space for additional information from Flexicrew as it develops.

 

Stress Kills: Is Yours Out of Control?

On the job or outside work stress is arguably one of the most silent killers on the planet, largely because people don’t realize something is going wrong, or they refuse to act on it.workplace stressors

But why does stress contribute to so many aspects of ill health, ultimately leading to death?

It is because often it is untraceable. You may not realize you are suffering from stress overload.

Interested to know if your stress is rapidly becoming out of control? Look for the following tell-tale signs:

Unexplained Aches And Pain About The Body

A little pain here and there is normal, and should be nothing to get worried over; but it can spell a worrying trend when it occurs too often. And this is the case with being overly stressed at work or even worse – all the time.

Muscular pains most commonly occur around the back, neck or shoulder areas, and may be attributed to poor sleep patterns, although it is not always the case. Medications to treat the pain may only yield temporary relief, and you should not rely upon them as a long-term solution.

Frequent Colds And Infections

One thing associated with high stress levels is the negative effect on immunity. Cortisol suppresses the immune system and leaves the body wide open to infection. This is especially troublesome during this pandemic, and necessitates that extra precautions be taken (such as increasing anti-oxidant food consumption).

Poor Sleep Patterns

Insomnia is usually one of the first signs to appear when you are over-stressed, as cortisol does not work by itself. In fact, it recruits the neurochemicals adrenalin and noradrenalin, which enhance awareness, and energy levels.

This is an important function in the mornings when you need that “get up and go” boost to get to work, but not at night when you should be unwinding. Use of heavy stimulant based supplements (such as caffeine) too late at night will cause this to occur.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure involves multiple pathways all experiencing dysfunction for its development, with cortisol happy to oblige. High blood pressure in this case is precipitated by increased retention of water (which increases blood volume), faster heart rate, and blood vessel constriction. All these factors increase blood pressure, so you need to take care to manage cortisol and stress levels.

Frequent Outbursts or Mood Swings

It can be hard to maintain a level head when stress levels are high, causing you to lash out to anyone or simple issues at work that seemingly irritates you. This is not normal behavior, especially if you are generally very level headed. If it does occur, it may be best to reduce work load, and spend more time with family and loved ones in an attempt to relax.

Depression Or Feelings Of Inadequacy

Stress can seriously affect your emotional well-being, especially since it can tear apart relationships with associates. You are likely to be irritable, picking fights, or feel pressured to perform. This can amount to depression, anxiety or feelings of disappointment. Depression is sometimes difficult to diagnose, especially if your organization does not provide a strong support system.

Conclusion

If you find yourself experiencing one or more of the symptoms above with increasing frequency, it is time to take a step back from the burden you have placed on your shoulder. Sometimes, a short vacation, weekend getaway or just a simple trek in the outdoors can do wonders for your wellbeing.

 

 

Dealing with Anxiety in Today’s Turbulent Business

Okay, so besides the normal day-to-day hustle and immense stress of the work environment in the modern world, we have a pandemic to contend with and we don’t know for how long.

Unfortunately, dealing with anxiety has become somewhat of a normal part of work life for many individuals today. Although this problem is not necessarily a new phenomenon, there are certain aspects of modern times that have served to exacerbate the issue.

anxiety

Due to our being so connected through the internet, social media and other forms of media, workers today are not only exposed to the issues in their immediate work environment. Instead, we are shown all of the bad things taking place across the entire nation. Furthermore, we are expected to juggle so many more responsibilities at one time, all while being as productive as possible.

Although anxiety certainly varies in intensity and frequency from employee to employee, there are a few ways to deal with the problem that are beneficial for anyone experiencing this issue.

 

This article intends to discuss a few of these techniques in order to alleviate some of your anxiety, hopefully improving your performance and overall quality of life.

Live in the Moment

Although it may seem obvious when stated, the only point in time in which you will EVER exist is right now. Ironically, most of us dedicate the bulk of our mental energy into the past or future. Anxiety is great at causing us to replay past mistakes in our head and constantly worry about things that have yet to occur.

A big part of dealing with anxiety is to live in the moment. This means focusing all of your physical and mental energy on what is going on right now. Not only does this simplify things for you, it also allows you to get the most performance out of your limited time.

Trying to deal with your entire past and future on a constant basis makes it virtually impossible to appreciate what is right in front of you.

Control What You Can Control

The truth is, many of the issues causing anxiety in your life are beyond your control. This includes global and community issues as well as problems in your personal life.

What you need to realize is that the weight of the world is NOT on your shoulders, even though it can certainly seem like it at times. Anxiety tells you that you should be worried about solving problems that are way out of your hands.

In reality, focusing on-the-job issues that you actually have the ability work on and to resolve is a much healthier response to a problem-filled situation.

It’s Okay to Not Feel Okay

Another side effect of anxiety is a feeling of isolation. People experiencing anxiety on a routine basis tend to feel like they are the only employees dealing with this issue.

Because of this perspective, we often feel like everyone else is much happier than we are, like we won’t be accepted by associates if anyone else knew the extent of our anxiety. It is so important to realize that this is far from the truth.

Everyone on your team is experiencing some degree of anxiety or mental hang up. You are far from alone. Don’t feel like you have to perform your tasks acting as if everything is okay when it isn’t.

Get Help if You Need it

Finally, if your anxiety is something you are having trouble dealing with on your own, then don’t! There is absolutely nothing wrong with reaching out to HR and even seeking professional help for this issue. Ironically, our society welcomes getting help for even minor physical ailments but acts as if doing the same for a serious mental issue is taboo.

Consider this, if you had the flu, you would most certainly seek the appropriate doctor to take care of it. Why would you not seek a doctor that is medically trained in alleviating mental health issues if you are dealing with anxiety?

There is help out there, get it if you need it!

Finding Hope during the Pandemic

There is a lot of uncertainty these days, whether in our work environment, financial affairs or in our changing and unsteady political climate. The strategies that most of us rely on to contend with such uncertainty tend to be self-defeating. When we face an uncertain future we often resort to feeling anxious, worrying, complaining, or being negative about events that may never occur.

But some employees rise to meet these uncertain times with hope and resilience. We need to develop such attitudes if we want to be successful in the face of COVID’s ups and downs.

What does having hope mean? Think of how you handle difficult situations. Do you offer platitudes like, “I hope everything will work out”? Unfortunately, this is just a way of disengaging or checking out of a difficult situation. True hope comes from a source much deeper – your core. At your core, there are vital qualities that help to determine how much hope you yourself feel, as well as what you can offer to co-workers. Hope is an essential component in facing any type of uncertainty: from layoffs, to sickness, to working from home, and to the current state of the world.

Hope’s Primary Qualities
  • Strength – You draw from inner strength to tap into your personal powers.
  • Resilience – You bounce back when faced with setbacks and obstacles.
  • Optimism – You stay positive despite the challenges ahead of you.

The above qualities are the antithesis of pessimism, complaining, and worry. Rather than be self-defeatist, you can be strong, resilient, and optimistic, and in this way improve your self-esteem.

Hope is essential for handling a crisis but it can also serve as your core value on a daily basis. Uncertainty can arrive at any time, whether it appears in a personal issue, a business issue, a national event, or a global event. The situation doesn’t even necessarily need to be negative. It could be the uncertainty and excitement of getting a promotion.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the qualities that were mentioned above.

Strength

Most of us are all too willing to give away our power. Yet, what could be a more hopeless situation than being without power? This can happen in both business and personal relationships. You can find yourself going along with something you disagree with simply because you don’t have the strength or power to speak up.

Retaining power means that you can stand up for yourself, that you can overcome resistance, that you can turn a catastrophe into an opportunity. True strength is in the core of your being. It’s a quiet calm that isn’t disturbed by events or the turmoil of emotions.

Inner strength established self-power that will anchor, uplift, and encourage you.

Resilience

Here’s an outside-of-work example:  We often see the elderly celebrated in the media for reaching 100. They are always happy to share the secret to their long life. They all have different secrets, from a cigarette and a glass of whiskey every day, to 3 glasses of red wine a week.

The truth is that they didn’t win the gene pool lottery, nor were they immune to the woes of life. They were resilient. They faced hard times and bounced back, shook defeat off at every turn. Being resilient is the true secret to avoiding victimhood.

It isn’t about positive thinking. When we’re faced with sadness, it’s healthy to deal with sadness; when we lose a loved one, grief is natural.

Resilience and overcoming adversity comes from a strong sense of self.

Optimism

Society has taught us that life is difficult, that some struggle is the norm. Society wants us to believe that the safest place for us is behind a wall. In this environment, optimism seems foolish and unrealistic. Yet, when we meet people who are truly optimistic, we are jealous of their cheerfulness. Attitudes of pessimism, skepticism, and cynicism come from fear and distrust. Life can take care of itself, that’s the attitude of optimism.

Finding hope in uncertain times is easier than you think, it’s within you.

Federal Coronavirus Relief Packages and Stimulus

As of January 11, 2021, another round of Coronavirus relief and economic stimulus has been launched and is now ready for applications.

coronavirus-stimulus-package-860x484

Read more about what’s here.

Last week there were several new changes added that could affect you. Here’s what’s different this time around:

Download the application here.

Timeline of when you can apply:
  • Community financial institutions will be able to offer PPP Loans to first-time borrowers today, January 11, 2021.
  • Then, on Wednesday (January 13th), lenders can offer PPP loans to second-time borrowers.
  • The PPP program will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter.

Loans probably won’t be approved same-day this time around, as lenders are taking more caution to approve lending and avoid fraud. This means that same-day approvals will be very unlikely this time around.

This additional support was built for small businesses. Who is eligible for what, exactly? Those businesses who:

  • Have less than 300 employees per physical location.
  • Business that have suffered revenue declines of more than 25 percent in any given quarter this year compared to last year
  • Qualified businesses can receive loans are up to $2 million
Minority-owned businesses and business located in a Low to Moderate Income Areas (LMI) are eligible for more support.
  • A low-income person is someone whose total annual income is 50% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) or average income for the community where they live.
  • LMI geographies can be defined in many ways – city borders, county lines and zip codes. The most precise way to look at a geography is by using census tracts.
  • A low-income census tract is an area where more than half of the people living in that census tract meet the definition of low-income.
  • If you’re unsure about your area, here’s the government’s dataset and map service to figure it out.

Additionally, there is more support set aside for certain types of businesses. You’re eligible for these exclusive funds if you:

  • Have 10 or fewer employees
  • Are a minority that owns a business
  • Are located in a LMI area
  • Run a small community bank, credit union, or small agricultural credit institution
  • Run a mission based-community lender like community development financial institutions (CDFIs), certified development companies (CDCs), minority depository institutions (MDIs), and SBA Microloan intermediaries.

If you received money from the first round of PPP funding, you must have used or will use the full amount of your first PPP, and you need to demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter.

If you have an existing PPP loan, you can request an increase. If these new interim rules changed your loan calculations, you’re permitted to work with lenders to increase the loan amount, regardless of whether you’ve received it all or not. Reach out to your SBA banker about increasing your PPP loans.

Forgivable Expenses

“Forgivable” expenses have been expanded beyond payroll-related expenses, utilities and rent. They now include:

  • Operating costs, such as payment for any software, cloud computing, and other human resources and accounting needs.
  • Property damage costs, related to property damage due to public disturbances that occurred during 2020 that are not covered by your insurance.
  • Any supplier costs, such as a contract, purchase order, or order for goods expenditure before taking the loan that was essential to your day-to-day operation. Perishable goods, however, can be forgiven before or doing the life of a loan.
  • Worker protection costs, such as personal protective equipment and adaptive investments to help you comply with federal health and safety guidelines

Depending on your industry, you can save up to $54,000 in principal and interest payments on a new loan or $72,000 on an existing loan. Hard hit industries such as food service, arts, entertainment and recreation, educational, laundry, and personal care services are eligible for 8 months of forgiveness principal and interest payments and are capped at $9,000 a month. For those loans approved before September 20 2021, your first 6 months of principal and interest up to $9,000 a month is also forgiven.

Employee Retention Tax Credit

The Employee Retention Tax Credit   has been expanded and extended into July 1, 2021.

  • The credit rate was increased from 50% to 70% of qualified wages.
  • Eligibility for the credit was extended by reducing the required year-over-year gross receipts decline from 50% to 20% and provides a safe harbor that allows employers to use prior quarter gross receipts to determine eligibility.
  • The limit on per-employee creditable wages was increased from $10,000 for the year to $10,000 for each quarter.
  • For more information on the Employee Retention Credit system, read here.

In addition, you can take advantage of the Employee Retention Tax Credit through 2026 if you hire those on welfare or veterans.

Social Security Taxes Deferred

Deferral of social security taxes has been extended through March 2021 and you can pay them as late as the end of 2022. While extending these payments doesn’t relieve you of your obligations, it does provide an ‘interest-free loan’ from the government.

The government will give a tax benefit for supporting restaurants. You can now deduct 100% of business meals that take place at a restaurant in 2021 and 2022.

Nonprofits can get more donations. Make sure you include this in your marketing!! The “above-the-line” charitable contribution has been extended through 2021 at $600 for those married filing jointly and $300 for others. This means taxpayers will be able to take the standard deduction and deduct up to $600 in charitable giving when calculating their taxable income. For the 2020 tax year, taxpayers could deduct up to $300 above-the-line for charitable contributions.

For sole proprietors – you can apply for this loan as well! However, how you calculate your loan and its forgiveness differ from a small business with employees.

You can calculate your loan by dividing last year’s profit by 12 to get a monthly average net profit. Multiply that figure by 2.5 to determine the amount of your PPP loan.

Since sole proprietors don’t have payroll, 2.5 months’ worth of new profit is automatically forgiven, without having to actually spend it on anything. This is called “Owner Compensation Replacement” – read the official text here.

Here is the PPP Forgiveness Application for sole proprietors.

Disclaimer: This publication is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal or tax advice. Financial, bookkeeping, tax filing and legal advice should always be obtained from qualified professionals for any business conditions or loans or grants associated with them. Every possible effort has been made in preparing and researching this material. We make no warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability of its contents or any omissions.