When the pandemic inevitably ends, small business owners need to prepare themselves for the next set of challenges that they may have to face, which are legal issues. As the world rejoices because of the smashing success of the COVID-19 vaccine, small business owners may have to prepare for a process server that may knock on their doors.
The first step to avoiding any issues with the law is knowing what the issues are. So here are the most common legal issues that small business owners may face when the COVID-19 pandemic ends.
When companies started closing their doors in compliance with the stay-at-home order enforced by the authorities, they still had many bills to cover. One of them is the rent for the space for their shops or offices. This was especially hard for the owners because they weren’t even able to use the premises that they had to pay for, however temporary the situation was.
It’s not surprising, though, if the lease that the business owner or tenant and the landlord agreed to doesn’t tackle the subject of a pandemic. It’s not like the tenants could just reach out to the local government for support. And it’s because, at this point, it’s still up to the tenant to negotiate with the landlord when it comes to the lease.
So the best course of action here is for business owners to reach out to their landlords and strike up a deal that would work for both parties. This way, they won’t have to face each other in court when businesses go back to normal after the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit and businesses started struggling, one of the ways that kept companies somewhat afloat is applying for a loan from banks. This was a quick solution that made sure that employees still got to bring home some earnings to support their families. It paid for the supplies and equipment that businesses needed to create their products and deliver their services.
Many small businesses acquired a loan through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the CARES Act. This program allows businesses with less than 500 employees to apply for a loan as high as $10 million. But not every business did the same. Some of them have applied for loans in banks.
However, this solution led to a downside as well. For some business owners, the loans started piling up. This would make it hard for them to comply with the payment schedule agreed upon by the business owner and the bank. So it’s important for business owners to negotiate with their bankers and forge a stronger relationship. In this way, they won’t have to deal with each other in court in the future.
Contracts with Employees
When business-owners hired their employees, they laid out a contract that states a plethora of agreements on the hours, duties, salaries, and benefits. Of course, things changed when the coronavirus started hitting communities. Business owners started improvising to keep their companies running. They implemented a work-from-home setup. They started working on flexible hours. And, of course, this meant that employees didn’t get to enjoy some of the benefits such as free meals and snacks, and free use of the gym facilities.
But these aren’t the only things that changed in the employment setup. In some businesses, especially the small ones, they had to offer tapered salaries because of the budget cuts. This is to make sure that every employee gets to take home some income despite the low revenue of the company. They also lost the end-of-year bonuses that they’re entitled to.
Because of such issues, small business owners may end up facing their employees in court because of a breach of contract. To avoid such an issue, it’s important for employers to come up with other ways to comply with the contract. They must work out a plan with their employees and make sure that they’re happy with the deal.
For business owners, surviving through the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the biggest hurdles that they may have to face throughout their careers. It’s especially so for the small and medium enterprises. They have to go through a myriad of challenges. They closed their shops and offices. They had to go through a brutal process of cutting their budget, even if it meant letting some of their valued employees go. But, most of all, they had to struggle to keep their business running despite the economy going downhill with the recession caused by the pandemic.
These are the biggest hurdles that they had to overcome. But the challenge doesn’t stop there. So small business owners must do what they can to overcome any legal issues that they may face in the future.