NFIB Weekly News

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NFIB Weekly News Leading the News

NFIB’s Harned Argues For The Necessity Of The Safe To Work Act (09/22/2020)

Law360 (9/18, Campbell, Subscription Publication) reported on the current state of COVID-19 liability for employers as the Safe to Work Act, along with other pandemic relief legislation, remains stalled in Congress. The article quotes NFIB Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned as saying the Safe to Work Act is necessary for businesses, because while liability suits are still fairly uncommon, “Coronavirus suits may follow a similar trajectory as asbestos litigation, which has stayed consistent despite expectations that it would taper off years ago,” adding “just because there’s not a flood right now doesn’t mean there won’t be one later, or that it won’t be a steady stream for years to come.” The article noted that the Safe to Work Act “would simultaneously empower workers to seek damages when they contract the novel coronavirus on the job while shielding all but the most reckless employers from legal liability,” though it would not preclude “enforcement actions by the U.S. Department of Labor.”

Business Climate

Yelp Data Shows 60% Of Pandemic Closures Permanent (09/22/2020)

The Hill (9/16, Coleman) said a Yelp report shows that around 60% of business closures that have taken place since the beginning of the pandemic are permanent. In total, 163,735 business have closed between March 31, shortly before most US shutdowns, and August 31. “The restaurant industry has taken a particularly hard hit during the pandemic, with 32,109 restaurants on Yelp closing and 19,590 of those – 61 percent – being permanent. The bars and nightlife industry has seen 6,451 closures, 54 percent of those are permanent.” In all, the states with the highest unemployment rates saw the highest closure and permanent closure rates.

Small Business Marketing

Facebook Unveils Business Suite App For SMBs (09/22/2020)

ZDNet (9/17, Gagliordi) reported Facebook “is rolling out a new app for small business owners that lets them manage their business pages or profiles across Facebook and Instagram.” Facebook Business Suite “will enable businesses to post to Facebook and Instagram at the same time, and manage and receive messages, notifications and alerts in one place.” The interface “will also provide access to engagement metrics with a Facebook and Instagram insights tab.”

Wages and Benefits

Commission On Civil Rights Calls For End To Program That Permits Subminimum Wage For Workers With Disabilities (09/22/2020)

The Hill (9/17, Budryk) reported that last Thursday, the US Commission on Civil Rights “called for an end to a program that allows employers to pay disabled workers less than the minimum wage.” In a report Thursday, “the commission said both the Labor Department and the Justice Department have failed to regulate the program and let it fall short of meeting the needs of disabled people. Overall, the commission said, the program has been ‘inconsistent with the civil rights protections to which people with disabilities are entitled.’” The commission “called for Congress to phase out the program, noting that similar phaseouts have been implemented at the state level to keep disabled people from losing access to key services.”