Chamber Members:

Happy Friday! Another week comes to and end and hopefully a good number of you will get to enjoy a day off on Monday for a much-needed break. President Trump is out with a new federal aid offer. Today we also want to look again at employer responsibilities under the FFCRA as it has been a long time since going into effect. Also, a nice article at the end about adapting leadership style during the pandemic. Finally, check out the announcement about our hybrid luncheon coming up at the end of October. This update will be back on Tuesday, enjoy your weekend.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

President Trump and Team to Offer $1.8 Trillion Relief Plan
Inching closer to Democrats’ demands, President Trump and his aides on Friday will offer Speaker Nancy Pelosi a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package, sources said, as the president urged the negotiators to “go big.”

The new figure was a jump from the White House’s $1.6 trillion offer last week, but there was no indication that Pelosi would come down from her demand for a $2.2 trillion package. She is set to speak with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s lead negotiator, later Friday.

“Covid Relief Negotiations are moving along. Go Big!” Trump tweeted on Friday morning, a striking reversal from his position on Tuesday when he said he would walk away from negotiations with Democrats on a comprehensive relief bill to assist businesses and American workers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

In one concession, the White House is raising its offer on emergency aid for cash-strapped cities and states to $300 billion, up from a $250 billion offer last week, sources said. A bill passed by House Democrats last week calls for $436 billion in aid for state and local governments.

Mnuchin has spoken with Pelosi several times over the past few days despite Trump’s original claim to have called off negotiations on a broader bill. According to Pelosi’s office, Mnuchin told the speaker Thursday that the president is interested in reaching a comprehensive agreement.

Timeline to Pass Before Elections
There are 25 days between now and Election Day and things need to come together ASAP. Once they can agree on a max amount and the exact policies within the bill, it will need to get drafted. This takes three or so days at absolute best. There are some major policy differences, and drafting is always a hassle.

After the draft, it will need to be released. The bill is going to have to sit out for a day or so. Speaker Pelosi then has to take it to House Democrats, and Senate Majority Leader McConnell has to take it to Senate Republicans. It will take a few days to pass this bill in the House, and possibly a little longer to pass it in the Senate. We’re looking at a potential two-week process here once a deal is struck. Keep in mind, the Senate is still trying at the same time to confirm a Supreme Court nominee.

To get a deal, the White House needs to empower Mnuchin to get something done, get a big vote in the House as a signal to the Senate that it has cover voting for this, and then make a big and very quick vote in the Senate happen. If this deal is going to happen before the November election, then it may be time for the administration to put in a serious effort.

On the other hand, the recent efforts could be all smoke and mirrors for political gain. Might be an interesting weekend.

Illinois Jobless Claims Rise
Some 29,390 Illinois residents filed first-time claims for unemployment benefits last week, a gain of 3,400 applications that was one of the largest increases in the nation and shows how some states are struggling more than others.

Illinois’ one-week increase of 3,414 claims filed put it ahead of other states like New Jersey, Michigan, and Massachusetts.

Employer Responsibilities Under Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) went into effect on April 1, 2020 and will expire on December 31, 2020. The Act created two temporary leave programs – Emergency Paid Sick Leave (EPSL) and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion (EFMLE) – that require private sector employers with less than 500 employees to provide leave to employees impacted by COVID-19.

Under the Act, covered employers qualify for 100 percent (full costs of both leave programs) reimbursement through refundable tax credits administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) through its Wage and Hour Division is responsible for implementing and enforcing the new leave mandates. The Department issued implementing regulations on April 1, 2020, which detail employer and employee obligations, as well as an exemption available to qualifying small employers with fewer than 50 employees.

Covered employers are required to provide EPSL to full-time employees up to 80 hours, and part-time employees up to the number of hours they work on average over a two-week period. There are no eligibility requirements, meaning the employee is eligible immediately upon hire. There are very specific reasons for EPSL, detailed below.

  1. Employee is subject to a quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  2. Employee has been advised to self-quarantine by a health care provider because of CVOID-19.
  3. Employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  4. Employee is caring for an individual, which includes “an employee’s immediate family member, a person who regularly resides the employee’s home, or similar person with whom the employee has a relationship that creates the expectation that the employee would care for the person if he/she is advised to quarantine or self-isolate.” The key is there must be an existing relationship with the person.
  5. Employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of childcare is closed or whose childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.

Click here to read the employer paid sick leave requirements from DOL.
Click here to review the FAQ from DOL.
Click here to watch the video recording from our Virtual Conference on this topic

6 Tips for Adapting Your Leadership Style in the Post-COVID World
COVID-19 has changed what business leadership looks like, now and for the foreseeable future. Smart leaders are adapting their strategies to this new work environment.

If your company has gone remote, you know that managing a distributed team can be challenging. The loss of a shared office space means the potential for losing a sense of community and cohesion among your staff.

“Leaders and team members who struggled with … communication now find themselves lost and even more challenged to complete what once were simple tasks solved by a 20 minute in-person meeting,” said George Randle, VP and head of global talent acquisition at Forcepoint and co-author of “The Talent War: How Special Organizations and Great Organizations Win on Talent.”

Leading a business in the post-pandemic world means shifting not only your management methods, but your mindset about what it means to be a collective business team. Here are six things you can do to rethink and adapt your approach as a leader in the COVID-19 era.

Sharpen your emotional intelligence
Before the pandemic, many leaders touted the benefits of emotional intelligence (EQ) in managing a team. Now, as employees face the daily challenges of living, working, and raising families all in the same space, EQ has become an absolute necessity for today’s leaders.

Business leaders need to recognize these struggles and exercise empathy and flexibility, said Lynette Pettinicchi, founder of Lynette Nicole PR. For instance, if an employee’s child needs help with homework or the dog needs to go outside, employers need to be OK with employees tending to personal matters during traditional “work hours,” provided their work does get done.

Focus on enabling communication and trust
At a time when teams are removed from one another and interact less, good leaders need to prioritize and model strong communication. William Vanderveer, CEO of Redefine Healthcare, said leaders must communicate more than ever for their teams to be on board and trust their guidance.

“There is an added layer of challenges when it comes to remote communication and we have to instill trust with our team,” Vanderveer told CO—. “Keep an open line of communication. Our colleagues also may be able to share experiences we can learn from, since this way of operation is new to everyone. It is important to listen and improve.”

Get people involved in company decisions
Your employees want to feel like they have a voice in major company decisions, including what their future work arrangements might look like. Duff said Jackman Reinvents used a recent employee survey to inform its new policies.

“We discovered that the majority of employees were excited to come back to work,” she explained. “We created a three-month flex schedule and a system for scheduling who is in the office when to ensure proper social distancing is possible.”

Make sure the team understands the ‘why’
Remote employees have to learn to be disciplined and self-motivated to succeed, but they should still hear from the managers about the company’s bigger goals and why they’re doing the work they do.

“Make sure you and your team are clear on what the priorities are for them and that each of them know … why what they do is critical to the team, the department and the company,” Randle said. “That ‘why’ statement in your communication as a leader helps people see that individually they are critical, yet part of a team.”

Listen and empathize
Employees should be able to turn to their leaders for support during these difficult times. Pettinicchi advised leaders to listen to their employees’ concerns and take them seriously if they value their teams.

“Practicing empathy will be important for the future of work, especially remotely,” she added. “With the future uncertain and knowing now how quickly things can change, leaders will need to ensure they practice compassion with employees, despite … their internal fears.”

Keep an eye on the future
Remote work is here to stay, but there is still change and uncertainty ahead as everyone navigates the post-pandemic world together. Today’s leaders should be ready to adapt to those future uncertainties, said Vanderveer.

“Leaders are expected to be aware of new changes and stay on top of what is happening next,” he said. “Flexibility and being ready to make these changes are huge.”

You’re Invited to The Big Week for Small Business
CO— by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce brings small and growing businesses relevant expert advice and inspiration on everything you need to start, run, or grow your business. This year, businesses have faced an unprecedented set of challenges amidst an ongoing health and economic crisis. Those businesses who have fought to survive the pandemic now must find a path toward rebuilding in new and unfamiliar territory. For many, the struggle is just beginning and the road to recovery is long and complex.  Small businesses need help now more than ever.

Join us October 13-15, 2020 for The Big Week for Small Business, three days of audience-driven discussions, powerful advice, unique networking moments, engaging breakout sessions, and practical strategies from business owners like you. Share your successes and challenges with your peers and gain the skills and perspective you need to come out on the other side stronger than ever.

Included with registration:

  • Complimentary access to all Main Screen sessions
  • The Dream Big Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 15th
  • Access to breakout sessions (limited capacity)
  • Access to “Extra Credit” sessions (limited capacity)
  • Access to corporate partner tools and resources
  • Attendee directory and ability to host your own networking meetings with other participants
  • On demand content from past CO— events

You can register here:

Finally, please join the Joliet Chamber, Megan Millen – City Center Partnership Board Chair, and Rod Tonelli – City Center Partnership Economic Development Chair, for a HYBRID luncheon on Thursday, October 29 beginning at 11:30 AM to discuss:

  • City Center Partnership Overview
  • Downtown Development Project Updates
  • Review of Downtown Grants and Impacts
  • Preview of some of the exciting things coming to Downtown

Guests will have the opportunity to attend in-person (limited to 50 guests) or virtually via You can register here:

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors

Mike Paone
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
815.727.5371 main
815.727.5373 direct