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- NEWS | DOL Proposes New Overtime Rules
Labor officials estimate these latest overtime changes will affect nearly 4 million employees. Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed yet another set of revisions to section 13(a)(1) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). RELATED | Independent Contractor Rule Update These latest revisions would entitle millions of workers who are now exempt from overtime requirements to time and a half pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Additionally, this DOL proposal would raise the salary test from its current $35,568 level to $55,068 as the annual salary threshold. Employees below this new level working more than 40 hours in a workweek will remain eligible for overtime pay. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the DOL attempted to more than double the minimum threshold, from $23,660 to $47,476. The increase was overturned by a federal judge in Texas just 10 days before it was set to take effect, on the grounds that the DOL exceeded its authority by raising the threshold too high. The ruling also questioned whether the DOL had authority to set any threshold whatsoever. Effective Jan. 1, 2020, the Trump Administration successfully raised the threshold to its current level of $35,568. Currently, the FLSA requires employers to pay employees minimum wage, and there is an overtime requirement for time and a half pay for all hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Under section 13(a)(1) in its current form, there is an exemption for this time and a half pay requirement for employees working in a “bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity” (EAP exemption or white-collar employees). To meet this EAP exemption: The employee must be paid a predetermined, fixed salary not subject to reduction; The among of salary paid must meet a minimum specified amount; and The employee’s job duties must primarily involve executive, administrative, or professional duties. The DOL’s latest proposal increases minimum exempt salary levels to $1,059 per week ($55,068/year), which is the 35th percentile of weekly earnings of full-time salaried workers, arguing that the proposed changes will “better define and delimit which employees are employed in a bona fide EAP capacity.” The DOL estimates that 3.4 million currently exempt employees who earn at least the current salary level of $684 per week, but less than the new proposed standard salary level of $1,059 per week, would receive overtime payments in the first year of the proposal’s enactment. In addition, 248,900 employees who are currently exempt under the current standards would be affected by the proposed increase. Beginning Sept. 8, comments on how this proposed change would affect small-business owners opened for 60 days. Submit comments here, and follow NSBA as we track when comments open and the latest from the DOL.
- NEWS | SBA Announces $20M for Small-Business Exporting
NSBA supports opportunities of expanding growth for America’s small businesses and exporters. This week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the dedication of $20 million to new small-business export growth. Funds were awarded in grants to 49 U.S. state and territory international trade agencies as part of the SBA’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP). STEP works as a federal and state partnership to provide funding directly to small businesses seeking to grow their businesses and the U.S. economy with international trade opportunities. In the last 13 years, STEP has awarded nearly $240 million in grants and direct support to more than 13,000 small businesses for international expansion and export growth. One STEP statistic shows that, for every $1 provided in STEP funding, there is an average yield of $43 in export sales. Aligned with the U.S. Government’s priorities of strengthening the base of small-business exporters and improving global competitiveness on the international level, NSBA is proud to support export opportunities through its Small Business Exporters Association (SBEA). Read more about SBEA and the SBA’s STEP opportunities, including if your state or territory earned a STEP award this year, as well as how to apply for funding opportunities, here.
- NEWS | NSBA Joins Coalition in Letter to Congress on Small-Business Privacy Impacts
NSBA has consistently called for a unified federal approach, rather than the development of a patchwork 50-state system we are now seeing develop. NSBA recently joined a number of small-business organizations and Chambers of Commerce in a letter to Congress urging policymakers to avoid adding to the growing patchwork of state privacy laws passed and proposed in recent years. RELATED | NSBA Tracks Patchwork of State Privacy Laws Data privacy has been a huge issue looming before small-business owners with almost nothing in terms of clear, concise national guidelines or directives. A number of states are now developing their own rules governing internet privacy, even though digital information flow doesn’t stop at state lines. For example, consumer privacy laws in California are different than those in New Jersey, and the conflicting, duplicative nature of these requirements carry costly and time-consuming compliance, taking away small-business owners’ time and focus on their operations, employees, and customers. Some analysis suggest initial compliance can run small-business owners around $50,000 for employers with fewer than 20 employees, and compliance costs can be even higher for small enterprises doing business across state lines. Small businesses need clear, uniform guidelines that: target abuses, encourage innovation, and include reasonable flexibility. This is why NSBA has consistently called for a unified federal approach, rather than the development of a patchwork 50-state system. Given how these rules can stymie existing business-customer relationships and prevent new customer growth, NSBA urges its members and the small-business community to tell policymakers to carefully consider the costly impacts of patchwork privacy policies when contemplating privacy action at the federal level. Read the full letter here.
- PRESS | NSBA Announces Finalists for Advocate of the Year Award
UPDATE: Congrats to our winner Olalah Njenga! Thank you to all of the nominees and all you do for small business! FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug. 30, 2023 Contact: Molly Day 202-552-2904 email@example.com Washington, D.C. — NSBA today announced the finalists for the 2023 Lewis Shattuck Small Business Advocate of the Year Award. The award winner will be announced during NSBA’s Annual Advocate of the Year Award Luncheon on Wednesday, Sept. 13, which is the kick-off event for the NSBA Washington Presentation on Sept. 13-14. “NSBA has an amazing group of award winners this year who are exemplary advocates for small businesses,” stated NSBA President and CEO Todd McCracken. “Part of what makes our community of small businesses so special is the belief in and dedication to small business as part of the American dream. I am honored to recognize our 2023 advocate award winners and on behalf of small-business owners everywhere, I thank them for their tireless efforts.” NSBA is honoring the following small-business owners for their excellence in advocating on small-business issues: Hope Blankenship, To the Rescue Bookkeeping, LLC, in Diberville, Mississippi. Sheletta Brundidge, ShelettaMakesMeLaugh, LLC in Cottage Grove, Minnesota Chyanne Hart, CAAM Logistics in Strasburg, Pennsylvania Martha Hernandez, ESO Ventures in Oakland, California Olalah Njenga, YellowWood Group, LLC in Raleigh, North Carolina Nora Oliver, 10X Nora Oliver, LLC, in Woburn, Massachusetts “The finalists we are recognizing this year have shown tenacity and a real dedication to making small-business ownership easier for us all,” stated NSBA Board Chair Bob Treiber of Boston Engineering. “Running a small business isn’t easy and neither is advocacy, but these honorees make it look that way.” Among the key criteria used in determining award finalists is a commitment to small-business advocacy above and beyond policies that specifically impact their own business or industry, as well as a broad scope of volunteer efforts to advance and improve small business. Celebrating more than 85 years in operation, NSBA is a staunchly nonpartisan organization advocating on behalf of America’s entrepreneurs. NSBA's 65,000 members represent every state and every industry in the U.S., and we are proud to be the nation’s first small-business advocacy organization. Please visit www.nsba.biz or follow us at @NSBAAdvocate. ###
- NEWS | NSBA Vets’ Net Partner NVBDC Conference Event
Registration for NVBDC’s Business Matchmaking Conference and Night Out is now open! The National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC) is one of NSBA’s newest partners, and a committed supporter to NSBA’s new Veterans’ Network. We are pleased to announce registration for the Annual NVBDC National Veteran Business Matchmaking Conference and Vets Night Out Event is now open! Your company does not need to be NVBDC certified to attend, and you don't want to miss this signature 2-day conference, which facilitates business relationships between National Veteran Business Development Council - NVBDC certified veteran business owners and global corporations. The live conference will be held in Louisville, Ky., on November 8-9, 2023. NVBDC is excited to have Coca-Cola serve as its presenting sponsor and is elated to have Beam Suntory sponsor its legendary Vets Night Out event. Register now by visiting NVBDC’s website: nvbdc.org/events
- NEWS | DOJ Continues Efforts to Recover Stolen COVID-19 Funds
The public health emergency may have waned, but the DOJ’s work is “far from over.” Last week, the Justice Department (DOJ) announced the launch of two new COVID-19 fraud enforcement task forces out of its U.S. Attorneys’ District Offices in Colorado and New Jersey. Already pursuing more than 700 enforcement actions to combat COVID-19 fraud, the new task forces reportedly intend to initiate federal criminal charges against 371 defendants, collectively representing over $836 million in illegally obtained or stolen funds. This is in addition to an estimated $600 million seized by the DOJ from defendants across the country. Out of the 371 defendants charged by these new fraud enforcement task forces, 119 have already pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, and over $57 million in court-ordered restitution has been imposed. Acting Director of the DOJ’s COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement division Michael C. Galdo said further that 63 of the defendants had alleged connections to violent crime, including violent gang members accused of using pandemic funds to pay for a murder for hire, and 25 defendants have alleged connections to transnational crime networks. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP loans) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EDIL) were the two programs most abused by those committing COVID-19 fraud. NSBA applauds the DOJ’s commitment to ensuring accountability for the nation’s small-business community. Read its full report here.
- NEWS | NSBA Publishes New Issue Brief on CCCA
The Credit Card Competition Act would decentralize and permit transaction processing across multiple networks. With only three weeks left until its annual small-business fly-in known as Washington Presentation, NSBA published a new Issue Brief on the Credit Card Competition Act (CCCA). RELATED | NSBA Urges Congress to Act on and Pass the CCCA In addition to publication of this new Issue Brief, recently, NSBA sent a letter to key U.S. Senators urging passage of the CCCA – critical legislation to protect small businesses from increasingly costly credit card processing fees. Specifically, the CCCA would address credit card processing fees (“swipe fees”) and network restrictions that currently benefit the largest banks and corporations at the expense of small and local businesses that can least afford to fight back. The current market lacks meaningful competition and leaves small merchants with few choices and little negotiating power. The CCCA would decentralize processing, permitting transaction processing across multiple networks. With Senate leadership appearing to plan for a vote later this session, NSBA is hopeful that Congress will act on this important legislation soon. Follow NSBA as we track progress of the CCCA in Congress, and read the full letter to the Senate here.
- NEWS | NSBA Member, AK Delegation Meet with SBA
Thank you to SBA Administrator Isabella Guzman for taking time to connect with these small-business owners. Last week, NSBA Leadership Council member Christine Hopkins joined a delegation of business and community leaders in welcoming U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Guzman to Anchorage, Alaska, for the opening of Business Impact NW’s new Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC). NSBA Member Christine Hopkins, pictured second from right (blue, patterned dress), with Administrator Guzman, pictured off-center left (black pant suit with red-patterned shirt). The program will provide entrepreneurship development services to servicemembers, veterans, and military spouses throughout Alaska, the state with the most veterans per capita in the Union. Hopkins met with Administrator Guzman in a small-group setting, where she shared her perspectives on small-business challenges like accessing capital. As a military spouse, Hopkins also appreciated the chance to learn about the resources available for military family members in small business. To learn more about NSBA’s efforts to support the military community in small business, please visit nsba.biz/veteransnetwork. Have you had a meeting you’d like to share with us? Email Ian Elsenbach at IElsenbach@nsba.biz or tag us on your social posts!
- VETS' NET | Federal Procurement Webinar
The second installment of NSBA's Veterans' Network Service to Success digital webinar series. On Wednesday, August 23, NSBA hosted its Veterans' Network Service to Success digital webinar series, with the second installment focused on the federal procurement process. During this session, NSBA's panel of experts discussed the ins-and-outs of the federal procurement process, including insights from: Shauna Weatherly, a former federal contracting official with 30 years of procurement experience; and Keith King, founder and CEO of the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC). Don’t miss your opportunity to learn from industry experts, and check back here for more small-business resources from NSBA.
- NEWS | SBA 8(a) BFPOB Requirement Moratorium Extended
A bona fide place of business (BFPOB) means a location where a participant regularly maintains an office that employs at least one full-time individual. Earlier this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced extension of its 8(a) Business Development Bona Fide Place of Business (BFPOB) Requirement Moratorium through Sept. 30, 2024. The moratorium was created in 2021 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and remote work conditions in the marketplace allowing participants in the SBA’s 8(a) Business Development Program to forgo the requirement of having an established physical presence in a particular location to be awarded any construction contract through the 8(a) Program. According to the SBA, this modification to the 8(a) Business Development Program has made it easier for small and disadvantaged businesses to be eligible for 8(a) construction contract awards, and an extension on the moratorium is intended to continue creating opportunities and leveling the playing field for American entrepreneurs. For purposes of 8(a) construction procurements, a bona fide place of business means a location where a participant regularly maintains an office that employs at least one full-time individual within the appropriate geographical boundary. The term does not include construction trailers or other temporary construction sites. Read SBA’s press release on the Extension of the Moratorium on 8(a) Eligibility Requirements here.
- NEWS | New SBIC Diversification and Growth Rule from the SBA
The SBA will implement regulatory policy reforms to increase access to private equity and debt capital. This month, the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Diversification and Growth Rule is in effect. Under this new Diversification and Growth Rule, the SBA will implement regulatory policy reforms to increases access to private equity and debt capital for: 1) underserved small businesses and startups; 2) undercapitalized critical technologies; 3) diverse and emerging fund managers; and 4) innovation investment. As of Aug. 17, private market fund managers can apply for SBIC licenses designed for investing in American small businesses and startups with equity-oriented or long-duration strategies. The two new SBIC licenses – the “Accrual SBIC” and the “Reinvestor (Fund-of-Funds) SBIC” – expand the SBIC program network of private market financing partners and the SBA’s reach to historically underserved small businesses and startups. According to the SBA, the SBIC program is comprised of more than 308 discrete private funds across mezzanine, private credit, buyout, growth, venture, and multi-strategy, which collectively have more than $40 billion in public and private assets under management (AUM). Last year, SBICs invested $8 billion in more than 1,500 companies that created and sustained more than 103,000 U.S. jobs. Read the full press release on the Diversification and Growth Rule here.
- NEWS | Terms in Senate NDAA Aimed at Restoring Valor to Veterans
NSBA is proud to support Veterans and Service Members as they transition to small-business ownership. In late July, the Senate passed its version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes a number of wins for small business. RELATED NEWS | Senate NDAA Includes Several Wins for Small Business In addition to these important provisions awaiting approval in the House, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) was able to include requirements aimed at reconciling valor stolen from Veterans by a handful of bad actors posing as Veteran-owned small-business owners. Under these requirements, small businesses that only self-certify as being service-disabled and veteran-owned would not count toward the government's goal of having three percent of contracting dollars going to such businesses. While the changes would support Veterans, at issue is the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program, which allows the federal government to restrict competition for some contracts to just businesses owned by veterans with service-connected disabilities. Despite these concerns, in late 2022, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) did not eliminate the ability to self-certify despite receiving some public concerns about fraud. Sen. Ernst’s bill would not eliminate self-certification or prevent contracts from being awarded to self-certified businesses altogether; rather, according to Sen. Ernst, the aim of these Veteran-related provisions is to incentivize federal officials to award contracts to formally certified businesses and thereby disincentivize stolen valor and outright fraud. For some additional context, officials from the SBA said its Veteran programs were consistent with other programs, such as the Women-Owned Small Business Program, that allow for self-certification but require formal certification in order for those contracts to count toward federal procurement goals. Those same officials also noted plans for a comprehensive review of all self-certification programs and anticipated sunsetting any self-certification in five years. Currently, the SBA estimates that applying for and maintaining formal certification takes businesses about three hours and costs $280.32 per applicant. Sen. Ernst is the first female combat Veteran to serve in the Senate. NSBA extends its thanks to her and all Veterans, and we are proud to support those former Service Members in their transition to small-business ownership. Read more about NSBA’s Veterans’ Network here.