October 23, 2020: Do You Have to Give Your Team Election Day Leave?

Gusto Editors

October 23, 2020

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Are you required to give your employees time off to vote?

We’re just over a week from Election Day, so it’s important you know your voting leave obligations. While there are no federal laws that require employers to give their teams time off to vote, many states do require it—and you may especially want to consider it this year.

Due to COVID-related safety precautions, lines and wait times at the polls are expected to be significantly longer than years past—so employees may need the extra time to cast their votes.

Check our guide to see if your state requires voting leave and for more tips on navigating Election Day 2020 as a business owner.

Winter is coming

A recent Gusto data report predicts a rough winter for small business recovery. Estimates show that cold weather may roll back any ground gained on employment since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Job losses could number up to 2.8 million. Even conservatively speaking, the 1.4 million jobs that have been recovered since April could be lost from the impact of winter weather. 
  • An estimated $190 billion in economic activity may be lost. Pivots made by retail and hospitality purveyors—such as outdoor dining—will be less feasible as temperatures cool, resulting in further reduced operations.
  • Black workers are projected to lose 140% of recovered retail and hospitality jobs. Employment losses are expected to most acutely impact America’s mid-size and smaller cities, as well as Black, Latinx, and women workers.

The report states:

Small businesses account for 54% of employment within [Retail Trade and Leisure & Hospitality]. If small business failure rates approach those seen in the spring, an additional 20,000 firms could be forced to shutter. 

Read the full report here.

Breaking down benefits

It’s that time of year again. Time to start thinking about enrolling in or renewing your benefits plans. We’ve come up with a few resources to help answer some of your biggest questions right about now:

The gist from Gusto

Gusto experts are keeping a close eye on news and legislation that can affect small business owners. Here’s the latest on federal relief from Jeanette Quick, Lead Counsel for Financial Services: 

This past week, the Senate and House indicated they are continuing to work on another aid package, which could include expanded unemployment benefits, additional PPP changes, and financial aid to schools. However, it is unlikely that a deal will be struck before the election

As our DC source stated: “We continue to believe that the moment (if there was one) for deal-making has passed, and at best, a relief package would be on the table in November.” 

Gusto continues to advocate for small business relief in the next aid package, especially as winter brings with it new challenges for our small businesses.

Watch list

ICYMI: Everything You Need to Know About PPP Forgiveness

Watch this webinar that covers all your PPP forgiveness Qs in which we partnered with COVID Loan Tracker, small business consultant Andi Smiles, and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Picks from our partners

Top relief options for the week

  • LISC-Lowe’s Rural Relief Small Business Grant program’s second round opens on Monday, October 26. Small businesses located in rural communities (population of 50,000 or less) are eligible to apply, with priority given to entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses.
  • South Carolina’s Minority and Small Business Grant Program will award grant funds to reimburse qualifying expenditures for providing services or for revenue loss due to COVID-19.
  • Salesforce will set up a $2 million fund for San Francisco small businesses with between two and 50 employees, similar to a program that it created in April that offered $10,000 grants to 300 businesses.
  • See more relief options in our Small Business Relief Finder.

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

Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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