Refusal to Work

Has your business offered a job to an applicant who is receiving unemployment compensation benefits, and the applicant refused the offer?
 
Section 402(a) of Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Law provides, in part, that an employee shall be ineligible for compensation for any week in which their unemployment is due to failure, without good cause, to accept suitable work; provided that the employer who offers the work notifies the department of the refusal within seven days from when the offer is made. Reporting these incidents to us makes you an active partner in helping to improve the integrity of unemployment compensation payments.

There are multiple ways to notify the department of the refusal. Please only use one method and do not send multiple reports for the same incident. 

Click here to read more.
We Need Your Help

There are a growing number of concerns among employers who are unable to fill positions. As have our counterparts across the state and country, we've heard from employers about the difficulty of finding workers. PA House Bill 406, calls for reinstating work search requirements for unemployment compensation (UC) recipients. It is hoped that this step will help improve the situation. See related article below.

As noted in the article above, employers can file UC-1921W to report employees that refuse to return to work. Unfortunately, we learned this morning in our biweekly chamber association call with the PA Chamber, that the forms are not being handled in a timely manner.

Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry President and CEO, Gene Barr has a meeting scheduled with the Governor's Chief of Staff next week and would like information from employers to share. If you have submitted the refusal to work form and it is not being handled, please email ymartin@huntingdonchamber.com. Also, if you have employees refusing suitable work and have not yet reported that to PA UC, please share that information with us. Gene is gathering information on how extensive the issues are across the state.

The extra $300 a week is stopping some employees from returning to work, as is the inability to find child care. This has become a huge problem for employers everywhere. So far eight states have eliminated the extra $300 per week. Some employers across the country are offering return to work bonuses as in incentive.
Unemployment Compensation
Bills Advance in the House

Last week, two PA Chamber-supported unemployment compensation bills moved forward in the legislative process.
 
House Bill 129 would set remote status as the default format for unemployment compensation appeal hearings unless there’s good cause to hold the hearing in person. This bill has been passed by the House and now currently awaits consideration in the Senate. Last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the appeals hearing process temporarily transitioned to a remote format out of necessity. However, as noted in a memo sent to House members prior to the floor vote, employers have long sought an alternative to in-person hearings, which have often presented logistical and financial challenges. Moving to a permanent virtual format will help to create a more efficient unemployment compensation system going forward. 
 
House Bill 406, legislation that would reinstitute work search and CareerLink registration requirements for unemployment compensation claimants, was passed by the House Labor and Industry Committee in a party line vote. The PA Chamber urged committee members to support the legislation, citing feedback from employers who are now reporting significant workforce shortages, despite the state’s high unemployment rate. Reinstituting the work search requirement will help in Pennsylvania’s economic recovery by encouraging work and matching potential workers with open positions. House Bill 406 now goes to the full House for consideration.
CDC Interim Public Health Recommendations for
Fully Vaccinated People

Summary of Recent Changes
Updates as of May 13, 2021

  • Update that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
  • Update that fully vaccinated people can refrain from testing following a known exposure unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter

Key Points

The following recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings. For related information for healthcare settings, visit Updated Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations in Response to COVID-19 Vaccination.

Fully vaccinated people can:
  • Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

Find more information here.
We have been informed that the Paycheck Protection Program is out of money and is no longer accepting applications. There is no indication that more funds will become available.
Your VOTE Matters - Vote YES on May 18!

Voters have an important decision to make for their communities in the upcoming election. On the May 18 Primary Election ballot, voters will have the opportunity to vote on proposed constitutional amendments that will help to restore important checks and balances to state government. With simple YES votes, voters can help ensure their voices are represented during current and future emergency disaster declaration decisions.

Restore a check and balance to the process. Support all three ballot questions on May 18!. 
New Grant Opportunity for Female-Founded Businesses

New opportunity: The Stacy's Rise Project is back! This grant program provides female-founded businesses with $10,000 grants and mentorship from PepsiCo and Frito-Lay leaders and other industry experts. Applications are open until July 9, 2021.

Most businesses today have come to the realization that the traditional 9-5 in-office workday has permanently transitioned to a hybrid environment where employees work from the office some days and from home other days. Although for many firms this transition began over the past several years, the COVID-19 pandemic only served to hasten the process.

Employers and their employees, however, are finding that although there are many advantages to the hybrid work environment, there are also a few challenges. 
Aside from the technical and logistical challenges of creating a hybrid workforce (which have largely been addressed at this point), many business owners and HR professionals are now focusing on rebuilding policies and processes to maintain employee engagement and a unified culture. As many business owners will attest, a sound culture is critical to any company’s success with the payoff showing in revenue growth, retention and increased operating income.

The Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce offers its members access to My Benefit Advisor as a solution for employee benefits, including voluntary offerings. For more information about My Benefit Advisor, visit our website at hccc.mybenefitadvisor.com or contact Craig Pritts at (800) 377-3539.
Helping You Prepare for PA's New UC System

UC experts are holding weekly instructional workshops to teach you everything you need to know to get the most of our new system including how to log in, payment information, appeals, and much more!


Are you thinking about making a handbook of employee policies and not sure where to start? Our guide can help!

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center's Model Employee Handbook for Small Business is available in both PDF & Editable Word Document versions.
 
Partners In Excellence
 
Platinum
Fulton County Medical Center

Gold
Stern Insurance Agency
 
Silver
Community State Bank
Mutual Benefit Group
 
Bronze
Bumgardner & Flasher Oil, Inc.
Orbisonia Hardware, Inc. 
 
Royal
BottomLine Pros LLC
FirstEnergy Corporation
Helpmates, Inc.
Jeff Tate Paving, Inc.
Juniata College
Keller Engineers
Lincoln Caverns, Inc. and Whisper Rocks
McDonald's
MDB Drafting & Design
Stiffler, McGraw and Associates, Inc. 


Interested in learning about becoming a Partner in Excellence?

Contact Yvonne at  ymartin@huntingdonchamber.com  or 814.643.1110

Packages range from $125 to $1,000.
Chamber Events
Business After Hours
Huntingdon Rotary &
Huntingdon County Foundation
Gage Mansion Bed & Breakfast
May 27, 2021
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Annual Golf Tournament
Huntingdon Country Club
June 9, 2021
11:30 a.m. Registration
1:00 p.m. Shotgun Start

Welcome M.A.T.
Lincoln Caverns
June 24, 2021
4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Business After Hours
Lincoln Caverns
June 24, 2021
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Annual Membership Luncheon
Huntingdon Country Club
August 19, 2021
11:45 - 1:15

Sporting Clay Tournament
Shenecoy Sportsmen Club
September 15, 2021
September 22, 2021 Rain Date
2:15 p.m. Registration
3:00 p.m. Shoot

Annual Awards Gala
Huntingdon Country Club
October 7, 2021
5:30 p.m. Reception
6:00 p.m. Dinner


Hold the Date:

Disc Golf Tournament
September 1, 2021
Sunset Golf Club, LLC

2022 Administrative Professionals Luncheon is Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

"Highway to Rock" Concert
May 21, 2022

Wolf Administration to Lift State’s COVID-19 Mitigation
Orders on Memorial Day

The business mitigation orders put in place by the Wolf administration to combat the COVID-19 pandemic will end on Monday, May 31 – Memorial Day. The announcement was made last week by the Wolf administration in conjunction with the COVID-19 Vaccine Joint Task Force. 

Click here for the pdf with live registration links.
In Case You Missed It
Paid Leave Tax Credit Resources and Guidance

Click here to view the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Fact Sheet to learn more about the Paid Leave Tax Credit, how it works, and who is qualified to received it.

Click here to view the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)’s Fact Sheet to learn more about how to claim the tax credit during quarterly filings and additional resources for employers about the program.
Vaccines at Penn Highlands Healthcare

Penn Highlands Healthcare is now vaccinating anyone that meets the Pennsylvania Department of Health Phase 1A and 1B following the DOH’s updated COVID-19 vaccine rollout timeline recently announced.

Phase 1A includes anyone 65 or older and those 16-64 with high-risk conditions. Phase 1B includes front-line essential workers: first responders (e.g., firefighters and police officers), corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, U.S. Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the education sector (teachers and support staff members) as well as child care workers.

Penn Highlands Healthcare is taking names to be put on a waitlist for individuals in the Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccination Phase 1C.
To sign-up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, visit https://bit.ly/3a0Qt5S or call the PHH Vaccine Information Line at 814-503-4735.
Apply May 3 for Restaurant Revitalization Funds
 
April 30, beginning at 9:00 a.m. you can register at restaurants.sba.gov. You must register prior to applying even if you have registered in the past for other programs. POS providers Clover, NCR Corp., Square and Toast will work directly with restaurants to help them apply for the grants. Applications will be taken through Square and Toast as well as the SBA. If you are not applying through SBA, you do not need to register with them. There is also a phone number that you can call for an application, but this process will take longer than applying online.

Beginning on May 3 at noon you can submit your application. Priority will be given to women owned, veteran owned, and socially and economically disadvantaged businesses for the first 21 days. It is strongly, encouraged that you still apply on May 3 at noon to get into the que before funding runs out. Over and over again during all the webinars we were told to encourage applying “first day, first hour, first minute.”

Preparation: Prior to applying you should make sure you are prepared to answer the questions on this sample application and have all the necessary documents in a pdf format and labeled ready to upload. We have been told that the average application time is 27 minutes, if you are prepared prior to completing it. We have also been told that it should take approximately 14 days for approval. See the section below for required documentation. A call center and knowledge base support center can be found on the SBA website.

Click here to read the entire article.
Safe Harbor for Small Businesses to Claim Deductions Relating to First-round Paycheck Protection Program Loans 

The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued Revenue Procedure 2021-20 for certain businesses that received first-round Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans but did not deduct any of the original eligible expenses because they relied on guidance issued before the enactment of tax relief legislation in December of 2020.
Under prior guidance, businesses that received PPP loans to cover payroll costs, interest on covered mortgage obligations, covered rent obligation payments, and covered utility payments could not deduct corresponding expenses.

With the Dec. 27, 2020, enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, businesses now may claim these deductions even though they received PPP loans to cover original eligible expenses. These businesses can use the safe harbor provided by this guidance to deduct those expenses on the return for the immediately subsequent year.

More information on COVID-19 related tax relief for business can be found on IRS.gov
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Application Open
 
Beginning April 8, 2021, venue operators that have been impacted by COVID-19 will be able to apply for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program. The program has allocated over $16 billion in grants for shuttered venues, to be administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance.
 
Eligibility Includes:
 
·        Live venue operators or promoters
·        Theatrical producers
·        Live performing arts organization operators
·        Relevant museum operators, zoos, and aquariums
·        Motion picture theater operations
·        Talent representatives

Eligible businesses must have been in operation as of February 29, 2020. If the venue or promoter received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan on or after December 27, 2020, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant will be reduced by the Paycheck Protection Program loan amount.
Workforce Development Symposium

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College will be hosting a virtual Workforce Development Symposium on Wednesday, May 19 from 8:00-10:00AM.
They would like to identify:
  • Technical training opportunities that aren’t currently offered locally.
  • Soft skill training opportunities.
  • Customized short-term certificates and two-year degree programs that can quickly provide skilled labor to our businesses and industries.
  • Mutually beneficial partnerships, synergistic in nature, that can boost our overall effectiveness.
 
As a bonus, they have secured Pennsylvania’s Deputy Secretary Sheila Ireland as keynote speaker.
 
If representatives from your organization will be attending the symposium, please complete the short survey below.
 
Click here to register.
Employee Retention Tax Credit (ERTC):
Step by Step instructions with a CPA
Member Restaurant Information

We are are providing the following to make it easier to support local restaurants. Click the restaurant name to view their menu. Those in bold are offering curbside pickup.










Support Local
Click the graphic for the latest restaurant information.
Looking for more ways to promote your business?

Tag the Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce in your Facebook posts and we will share them on the
Huntingdon, PA - Promotions & Activities page. This page is followed by more than 4,000 people and it is free advertising for you.
U.S. Chamber Pandemic Relief Resources:  


  • Pandemic Webinar Recordings - You can view the Chamber’s webinars explaining the new pandemic relief bills from late December and early January. They've uploaded the recording from this week here, plus the accompanying slides here, and you can find the recording from our December discussion here


Free Re-opening Signage

As Pennsylvania businesses begin to reopen, each business owner will need to examine their operations and make changes to meet public safety guidelines. PASBDC has created signage to address common health concerns. All images are completely free to use, so please share, download, print and distribute as you wish!

Click here for access to timely resources.
Office Hours

Following the Governor's guidance, staff is once again working remotely and only going to the office as necessary. If you need to reach us, please call 814-643-1110 and leave a message for us or email ymartin@huntingdinchamber.com or mhuntsman@huntingdonchamber.com
Huntingdon County Strong:
Business and Community Resources

Click graphic below.
Quick Connect Coaching Sessions
Weekly, Tuesdays at 8:30 am

Looking for a quick answer to a question related to disaster recovery, reopening, stabilizing, or projecting for growth? Then attend a "Quick Connect" session to get your questions answered. Each week a consultant will address answers related to a specific topic.

Contact Us

Yvonne Martin
President/ CEO

MacKenzie Huntsman
Program Director



Phone: 814-643-1110
Fax: 814-643-1115
    
Stay Connected

Looking to start an endowment or to support community efforts? Click the logo above to learn more about the Huntingdon County Foundation.