By now, everyone in the country is acutely aware of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their personal and financial affairs. The upheaval it is creating in our personal and family lives is bad enough, but the economic impact is shaping up to be potentially devastating. The ongoing shutdown of what are considered non-essential businesses threatens not only to hurt profits and income, but it can also mean many small businesses might not survive. Thankfully, the federal and state government are providing COVID-19 resources for California employers and businesses.
An Overview of California Coronavirus Help for Employers
COVID-19 resources for California employers might make the difference that allows many small businesses to remain solvent. Specifically, Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), and the emergency advance availability, and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans offer immediate relief to businesses to keep things afloat until the pandemic abates. At the state level, the California Work Sharing Program allows employees to collect unemployment benefits while working reduced hours caused by the pandemic.
Coronavirus resources are also available in the form of guidance from the agencies that regulate employment in the United States and California. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), for example, has links to various information related to employment discrimination and the pandemic. California’s Employment Development Department has guidance on workplace health and safety, reduced work hours, tax extensions and more.
Federal COVID-19 Resources for California Employers: SBA Loans and Enhancements
EIDL loans are available through the federal Small Business Administration (SBA) and may be used for a variety of business-related expenses. While these loans existed before this current situation, the emergency advance feature was added in response to COVID-19 to put up to $10,000 in the hands of small employers quickly to offset the immediate downturn in business income. The best part about this is that the advance does not have to be repaid as long as it is used for approved expenses such as payroll, mortgages, rent or utilities.
Should Your Business Complete a PPP Loan Application?
The Paycheck Protection Program is part of the CARES Act, and provides loans to meet payroll and other expenses. All or part of this loan is forgivable if the money is used to cover payroll costs for the period following loan approval. As with the EIDL emergency advance, when specified conditions are met, this is literally free money from the federal government that can be invested into your small business and help keep you intact while riding out this storm.
Where to Get Help with an EIDL or PPP Loan Application
Businesses wanting to apply for an EIDL or PPP loan may want to engage the services of an attorney or accountant to help with the application process. And there is good news here, too. The cost of EIDL and PPP loan application preparation is paid from the lender’s fees rather than by the applicant.
State COVID-19 Resources for California Employers: the California Work Sharing Program
The California Work Sharing Program was in place before the pandemic but is particularly useful to small businesses in this crisis. Businesses that can scale back hours rather than cutting employee loose completely can benefit here by retaining employees through the slowdown. The program allows employees to collect unemployment benefits that make up some or all of the reduced hours. In this manner, employees can maintain their income while also making sure their job is intact when things get back to normal.
COVID-19 Enhancements for Unemployment
The CARES Act also addresses unemployment benefits, expanding coverage to some workers not normally eligible and increasing weekly benefits to allow laid-off employees to collect benefits that will often match their regular earnings.
The great thing about the California Work Sharing Program is that, given the federal COVID-19 enhancements for unemployment benefits, employers need not feel like the best financial option for their employees is complete layoff. If it is good for the business to keep employees at reduced hours, it can do so on an equal footing with enhanced unemployment benefits.
Guidance and COVID-19 Resources for California Employers
The ripple effect of the coronavirus is significant and businesses of all sizes will continue to feel impacts for some time. To minimize COVID-19 impacts on your business, it is important to stay informed about the various implications of the pandemic and to act as necessary to update employment policies and procedures.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EEOC is sharing resources to help employers prevent discrimination and remain compliant with Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Laws. Topics covered by the EEOC include discrimination against Asian Americans, maintaining ADA compliance, and the appropriateness of actions employers might take to protect the workplace.
In addition to the guidance from the California Employment Development Department noted previously, other agencies are offering COVID-19 resources for California employers, including information on the following subjects:
- Employer requirements to protect workers, from the Department of Industrial Relations.
- FAQs on laws enforced by the California Labor Commissioner’s office.
- FAQs on essential and non-essential worker classifications.
- COVID-19 employment information from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
An overview of California coronavirus help for employers and employees, with additional information on benefits, industry-specific guidance and more can be found on the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency’s coronavirus resources page.
California Employers and Coronavirus
This unprecedented coronavirus pandemic is truly frightening to us on many levels. For businesses and the people who rely on them — both customers and employees — it is good to know that there are COVID-19 resources for California employers available. Attorney Susan Rodriguez and the Law Offices of Susan A. Rodriguez, APC can help your business navigate employment-related issues and position for the new economy on the other side of this pandemic. Call today at (213) 943-1323 or (310) 350-9995 to get started.
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For legal advice, contact an attorney at Law Offices of Susan A. Rodriguez, APC or an attorney actively practicing in your jurisdiction.