September 15, 2021

You’re reading Gusto’s newsletter for growing businesses. If you’d like these weekly updates in your inbox, you can subscribe here. New to Gusto? Try a free demo today.

New and improved EIDL

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has disbursed over $250 billion to businesses impacted by the pandemic through its COVID Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). To make the program more responsive to businesses’ needs amid the Delta variant surge, the SBA has “retooled” EIDL loans in the following ways:

  • Increased COVID EIDL Cap. The maximum loan amount has been upped from $500,000 to $2 million.
  • Deferred Payment Period. Repayment of these loans has been deferred until two years after loan origination.
  • 30-Day Exclusivity Window. Small businesses will have a 30-day exclusivity window to apply for loans of $500,000 or less, starting on October 8.
  • Eligible Use of Funds. Borrowers can now use COVID EIDL loan funds toward commercial and federal business debt.
  • Simplified requirements. The application’s affiliation requirements have been simplified to model those of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.

If you’re interested in applying for an EIDL loan, read more about the updated program here.

Vaccine Mandates for 100+ Employers

Last week, President Biden announced a new mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees as part of his Path Out of the Pandemic plan:

New federal safety regulations that call for businesses with more than 100 workers to require vaccinations against the coronavirus will affirm mandates already in place at many companies and give cover to employers that had yet to decide.

The proposed rules, which President Biden announced on Thursday, will require workers to be inoculated or face weekly testing and will mandate that the businesses offer employees paid time off to get vaccinated. 

We know this probably leaves you with questions — and you’re not alone. A consumer brands trade group raised 19 questions (of many more) in a letter to President Biden this week. Here’s a sample:

  • What proof-of-vaccination documentation will the companies need to collect and will booster shots also be required?
  • Must employees be fully vaccinated?
  • Will workers who have had the coronavirus still have to be vaccinated or get tested?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is drafting the new rules, and the White House says more guidance is coming by September 24. We’ll be sure to update our mandate guide to ensure you know what applies to your business.

Read more about President Biden’s Path Out of the Pandemic plan here

EOY Benefits Series, Part 2: What is an ICHRA?

We’re coming up on the end of the year, which is when employers and employees turn their attention towards benefits. In the coming weeks, we’ll spotlight helpful benefits guides to answer some common year-end questions.

Last week we covered HRAs. Now, let’s talk ICHRAs. An ICHRA, or individual coverage health reimbursement arrangement, allows businesses of any size to reimburse employees for their health care expenses. Employees can choose a health insurance plan that works best for them; then you can reimburse them tax-free for premiums and eligible health care costs.

Through the ICHRA, you can divide your team into different “employee classes,” and offer any reimbursement amount to each class. For example, you may offer a $300 health care reimbursement to your full-time employees and $100 to your part-time employees. 

Check out our full guide to ICHRAs, and tune back in next week for another benefits spotlight.

New from Gusto

Find the latest relief options in our Small Business Relief Finder.

Want more news and resources? Check out past editions in our archive.

Mohini Kundu Mohini Kundu is a news editor on the Gusto content team. She studied journalism at Northwestern University and started her career at The Huffington Post before embracing the #startuplife.
Back to top