Regulatory Advocacy

Recent News

OSHA and NLBMDA Discuss New Employer Requirements on COVID-19 Vaccinations

Recently, NLBMDA was asked by senior staff at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to participate in a high-level briefing regarding the recent announcement that employers with 100+ employees will be required to ensure that all employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 or require weekly COVID tests. This will take the form of an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to be issued by OSHA.

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White House Announces Initiatives to Protect Workers from Extreme Heat

The Biden Administration announced new initiatives at the Department of Labor (DOL) and other federal agencies to protect workers from extreme heat in both indoor and outdoor workplace settings. Specifically, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is implementing an enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards, developing a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections and launching a rulemaking process to develop a workplace heat standard. OSHA is also forming an advisory committee to provide better understanding of challenges and to identify and share best practices to protect workers.

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IRS Releases Additional Guidance on Employee Retention Credit

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released additional guidance on the employee retention credit, including guidance that addresses changes made by the most recent COVID-19 relief law (American Rescue Plan Act of 2021). These changes are applicable to the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

The changes made to the employee retention credit in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 include:

  • Making the credit available to eligible employers that pay qualified wages after June 30, 2021, and before January 1, 2022
  • Expanding the definition of eligible employer to include “recovery startup businesses
  • Modifying the definition of qualified wages for “severely financially distressed employers
  • Providing that the employee retention credit does not apply to qualified wages taken into account as payroll costs in connection with a shuttered venue grant or a restaurant revitalization grant.

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SBA Launches Streamlines PPP Loan Forgiveness Portal

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced the launch of a new streamlined application portal to allow borrowers with Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $150,000 or less to apply for forgiveness directly through the SBA. The loan forgiveness portal will begin accepting applications from borrowers on August 4th, 2021.

In addition to the new portal, the SBA is establishing a PPP customer service team to answer questions and directly assist borrowers with their forgiveness applications. Borrowers that need assistance or have questions should call (877) 552-2692, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. EST.


IRS Issues Additional Guidance on COVID-19 Paid Leave Tax Credits

Recently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a new set of Frequently Asked Questions to assist small businesses in claiming tax credits for paid sick and family leave under the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The paid sick and family leave credits reimburse eligible employers for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave to their employees for reasons related to COVID-19, including leave to receive and recover from a vaccination. Self-employed individuals are eligible for similar tax credits.

The FAQs include information on how eligible employers may claim the paid sick and family leave credits, including how to file for and compute the applicable credit amounts, and how to receive advance payments for and refunds of the credits. Under the ARP, eligible employers, including businesses and tax-exempt organizations with fewer than 500 employees, may claim tax credits for qualified leave wages and certain other wage-related expenses (such as health plan expenses and certain collectively bargained benefits) paid with respect to leave taken by employees beginning on April 1, 2021, through September 30, 2021.

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OSHA Releases Small Business Safety and Health Handbook

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) have updated their workplace safety and health handbook for small businesses. The Small Business Safety and Health Handbook summarizes the benefits of an effective safety and health program, provides self-inspection checklists for employers to identify workplace hazards, and reviews helpful workplace safety and health resources for small businesses.

More than 20 states and territories operate their own OSHA-approved State Plans. A list of states that operate their own State Plans can be found on OSHA’s website. While the safety and health compliance requirements in these State Plans may differ in some respects from federal OSHA requirements, employers in all states may benefit from using this handbook.

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SBA Announces National Small Business Virtual Summit

The Small Business Administration (SBA) recently announced its 2021 National Small Business Week Virtual Summit for September 13-15, 2021. The event will include educational webinars, updates on resources for small businesses, and a networking chat room for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Interested members can register here.

Recent NLBMDA Advocacy

Recent NLBMDA Webinars