The American Rescue Plan includes initiatives to help small employers, including expanded COVID-19 vaccine tax credits and a streamlined PPP forgiveness portal.
AIR DATE: AUGUST 9, 2021
Moderator: Jeanette Mulvey, Executive Director, Content Strategy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Featured Guests: Neil Bradley, Executive VP and Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Tom West, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Tax Policy, U.S. Treasury Department
In July 2021, the Biden Administration implemented changes to its COVID-19 relief programs designed to help small businesses recover from the impact of the pandemic. One significant change is the expansion of an existing COVID-19 vaccine tax credit where employers can be reimbursed for paid time off given to employees who miss work for vaccine-related reasons, including receiving and recovering from the vaccine, accompanying a family member to get vaccinated or taking care of a recovering family member. The Small Business Administration (SBA) also streamlines loan forgiveness through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
In a recent CO— Small Business Update, Tom West, deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Tax Policy and Neil Bradley, EVP and chief policy officer at U.S. Chamber of Commerce, shared insights on these new COVID-19 vaccine tax credit expansions and other relief programs for small employers.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Tax Credit Now Covers Time Off Taken by Employees to Care for Families
In March 2020, the CARES Act allowed businesses that provided COVID-19-related time off to employees to care for themselves or a family member to claim a tax credit. The Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of March 2021 expanded this paid leave credit to cover vaccine-related time off.
“Under the American Rescue Plan, the expanded paid leave credit is available for small employers, generally [meaning] employers with 500 or fewer employees,” explained West. “Those smaller and medium-sized businesses are eligible for this tax credit for time that they give employees to recover from COVID. [It also covers] employees who are going to get vaccinated, or who get vaccinated and have some after-effects,” continued West.
“The credit means that for up to 80 hours of time that you give an employee if the employee is sick or getting vaccinated, the employer can recover dollar for dollar up to $500 per day,” West continued. “So that's up to $5,000 that an employer can get in tax credits for giving their employee time off for one of those specified reasons. The expansion that the administration put out last week was to cover… if you are taking a family member, a child, somebody else who lives in your household to get a vaccination. That is now a category for which an employer can give you paid time off and get a tax credit.”
Response to Coronavirus
Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce COVID-19 Business Resource Information
Businesses are concerned about their long term viability, as well as the health and wellbeing of their employees and customers. The Central LA Regional Chamber of Commerce is working with partner organizations, community leaders, and state and federal officials to provide information, links and direct services to chamber members and the business community during the current state of emergency.
The Chamber office located at 1118 Third Street in Alexandria is closed in accordance with the Stay-at-Home order, but is fully operational with staffers working from home.
If you are a business in need of assistance, please call or email us.
Governmental Relations, Policy, Strategy, State and Federal Legislation
Small Business Government Assistance Information
U.S. Chamber Connection
Deborah Randolph, President, Central LA Regional Chamber of Commerce
Membership/Event Information, Requests to Share Information with Chamber Members
Cindy Cespiva, Membership/Events Director
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Companies are invited to the Rapides Parish Schools Senior Job Fair
The Louisiana State University of Alexandria College of Business releases its September 2021 issue of the CENLA Economic Dashboard. “New business growth and record employment are signs of a strengthening economy in the central Louisiana,” says Dr. Randall Dupont, Dean of the LSUA College of Business.
New business applications in Rapides in 2020 grew 30% over 2019, totaling 1,488 applications according to Census Bureau data, marking the highest number of new business applications in Rapides since 2005. However, not all business applications result in business formation, according to Dupont. “That’s why support organizations like the Small Business Development Center, hosted by LSUA and located at the Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce, are much needed,” Dupont added. “It takes six to 12 months of working with an entrepreneur in the startup phase to adequately form a business,” says Evelyn Jones, SBDC business consultant. The trend in business application in Rapides is reflected statewide. Through August of this year, the number of new business applications in Louisiana grew 27% over 2020 and 90% over 2019. Year-to-date, new businesses established in Rapides are up 36% over 2020.
While the recent wave of Covid-19 cases dominates the news, the economic impact has not yet shown up in consumer spending, says Dupont. The decline in air passenger traffic is the most visible sign but has been minimal through August. Hotel occupancy, consumer spending, and gasoline sales data reflect activity from July and earlier and continue to show little sign of weakening as the number of cases increased in July.
The labor market in the Alexandria metro area continues to tighten with the employment level reaching new highs recently. Employment in the Alexandria MSA in July 2021 reached the highest level in five years with 61,950 employed, an increase of 1,295 over June. Just 14 months earlier, Alexandria bottomed at a pandemic low of 55,588 employed. Strong employment growth caused the unemployment rate in Cenla to fall to 5.4% in July compared to 6.3% for the state. Rapides reported a 4.3% unemployment rate, well below the state and Cenla rates. Hiring pressures tightened again in the Alexandria MSA and statewide. Currently, there are two job openings for every unemployed in Alexandria, while the state average is nearing one opening for every unemployed.
The CENLA Economic Dashboard is a service of the LSUA College of Business to help business and community leaders monitor the economic pulse of central Louisiana.
To view the September 2021 CENLA Economic Dashboard, click here.
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The Central Louisiana Regional Chamber of Commerce has compiled the following list of businesses currently hiring for a variety of full-time and part-time positions due to the increased demand for goods and services.
Please let us know if your business is hiring by sending an email to Cindy Cespiva at email@example.com. Please include the company name, a brief description of the open position or positions and instructions on how to apply.
- Surveillance Epi Positions Click Here
- Payne, Mooore & Herrington, LLP CPA firm is accepting resumes to fill two full-time Staff Accountant positions. Click Here
- There are currently career opportunities at Gilchrist. Apply online and become part of the GCC team today. https://www.gilchristconstruction.com/careers
- Remedy Staffing Alexandria, Position Openings: Production Machine Operators, Warehouse/Production Forklift Operators, General Laborers, apply at www.remedystaffing.com or call 318-449-WORK(9675)
- Family Care Services, Position Opening: Direct Care Staff, apply in person at 5129 Highway 28 East, Pineville
- RoyOMartin, Position Openings: Production Team Member & Construction Millwright, https://royomartin.com/people/careers/?
- Gulf Coast Social Services, Position Opening: Caregiver/Direct Service Worker, apply at www.gcssla.org or call (318)448-1801
- Pecan Grove Training Center, Position Opening: LPNs for 10p-6a, 2p-10p, and weekend doubles, call Director of Nursing at (318) 448-0291
- Perforex LLC, Position Opening: Class A CDL Truck Driver, call (318) 445-6799
- Leading Health Care of Louisiana, Position Opening: Direct Support Worker, apply at https://www.Lhcla.com
- ProTemp Staffing Solutions, Position Opening: Manufacturing, apply at 1150 Expressway Drive Suite 102, Pineville, LA
- DIS-TRAN Overhead Solutions, Position Opening: Temporary at Treatment Facility, apply at http://distran.com
- Albertsons https://www.albertsonscompanies.com/careers
- Aramark https://allcareers-aramark.icims.com/jobs
- CVS Pharmacy https://jobs.cvshealth.com/
- Dollar Tree https://www.dollartree.com/careers-stores/
- Family Dollar https://www.dollartree.com/careers-stores/
- Express Employment Professionals https://www.expresspros.com/AlexandriaLA
- Kroger https://jobs.kroger.com/
- Home Depot https://careers.homedepot.com
- Lowe's https://jobs.lowes.com/employment/
- Office Depot https://officedopot.com/jobs
- Sonic https://careers.sonicdrivein.com/us/en
- Target https://corporate.target.com/careers
- Waitr https://waitrapp.com/careers
- Walgreens https://jobs.walgreens.com/
- Wendy's - Alexandria https://www.snagajob.com/company/wendys