Bi-County Business Roundtable – Updates & Resources for your Business

With all of the fast-moving changes that will impact your business and livelihood; I would like to provide you with some up to date information and helpful resources. I hope that you and your loved ones are well in these uncertain times and that the information below is helpful.

Bi-County Business Roundtable

Darryl Barnes

How to Handle Unexpected Unemployment

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, 59% of Americans were living paycheck-to-paycheck, according to a 2019 Charles Schwab survey. In March, the number of people reporting a temporary layoff more than doubled, bringing the number to 1.8 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the same survey, it was noted that the number of people who are unemployed rose by 1.4 million. This marked a March increase in the unemployment rate of 0.9 percent — the largest monthly increase since January 1975. If your job was one affected by the coronavirus, coping with the effects of that loss can be emotionally taxing. Here are some ways to handle the sudden change and to stay positive. Read Here

Small businesses wanted stimulus, but got a payroll tax deferral instead. Many are opting out.

Small business owner Marina Vaamonde said she believes a new option to defer payroll taxes — part of a package of executive actions pushed by President Donald Trump — could pose a potential problem.

“I think the payroll tax deferral program is a huge liability trap for all businesses,” said Vaamonde, a Houston commercial real estate investor and owner of “A company that chooses to offer a delay in collecting the employee portion of the payroll taxes is ultimately taking on the responsibility of paying that money back to the government.”

The decision to let employers defer payroll taxes, which amounts to about 6.2% of wages dedicated to Social Security, is part of the Trump administration’s effort to boost the economy absent any action from a stalemated Congress on a stimulus bill. Taxes can be deferred from Sept. 1 through the end of 2020, but must be fully repaid in 2021, no later than April 30. Otherwise, on May 1, unpaid taxes will incur penalties. The Trump administration has said it would be opting in all federal employees.

Small business owners, experts and advocates say the confusing, complicated nature of the program leaves such businesses on the hook at a time of desperate need as they attempt to recover from the economic fallout of Covid-19. A payroll tax deferral lay at the bottom of preferences — ranked 15th out of 16 items — in a recent S-Corp Association survey of 60 trade groups on which stimulus efforts they felt would be most helpful to small businesses. At the top was liability protection from Covid-19 claims and restoring the tax deductibility of expenses made with the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program loans. The only thing that ranked lower than the payroll deferral was expanding the child tax credit.

Maryland unemployment claims continue to drop as state moves further into reopening

Regular unemployment claims ticked down again last week, continuing a two-month trend of decreases as Maryland enters the seventh month of the pandemic and prepares to embark on the next stage of reopening.

Figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor Thursday show 6,536 regular claims were filed for the week ending Aug. 29, a decrease of 1,108 after the number of Aug. 22 claims was revised upward by more than 700 to 7,644. Last week’s number of regular claims is the lowest since the pandemic began and means that regular claims stayed below 10,000 for all of August. In contrast, regular claims were above 13,000 for all of July, hitting a monthly high of 33,191 for the week ending July 4.

However, August has not seen as dramatic a drop in claims over the month as in July and June. Regular claims hit 33,191 for the week ending July 4, but were down to 9,762 for the week ending Aug. 1. Similarly in June, regular claims were at 41,638 for the week ending June 6 but had dropped to 22,623 by the week ending June 27. By contrast, in August, the state logged 8,892 regular claims for the week ending Aug. 8 and ended the month with 6,536.

The decrease in weekly claimscomes as Gov. Larry Hogan announced this week that Maryland would move into Stage 3 of its reopening plan starting Friday at 5 p.m., allowing all businesses to reopen, including movie theaters and other public venues at limited capacity. However, not every jurisdiction plans to move into the next stage, with some jurisdictions, including Baltimore City, electing to hold off. Read More

63% of In-Office Employees Have COVID Stress

A significant number of in-office employees (63%) say they experience COVID-19 related stress according to Paychex. The survey highlights the impact the pandemic has on the mental health of the American workforce.

Remote workers however feel less stressed about COVID with only 35% affected by stress. According to the survey having all onsite employees working remotely full time helped decrease the stress levels among a quarter of those surveyed.  Read More – 

Bi-County Business Roundtable