Chamber Staff

THE WEEKLY CATALYST : SPECIAL EDITION March 17th, 2020

COVID-19: FEDERAL, STATE & LOCAL: Top Resources for Employers

Work Sharing Program Helps Employers, Employees

The UI Work Sharing Program gives employers an alternative to layoffs by retaining their trained employees but reducing their hours and wages, partially offsetting them with UI benefits.
Once employers are approved to participate in the Work Sharing Program, their affected employees will receive a percentage of their weekly UI benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent.

Visit the EDD’s Work Sharing Program to learn more.
Apply for a Work Sharing plan by completing and mailing the Work Sharing (WS) Unemployment Insurance Plan Application (DE 8686) (PDF) .

SDI (State Disability Insurance), PFL (Paid Family Leave) Benefits

SDI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury or pregnancy. Per the EDD, coronavirus is a covered illness. Benefit amounts are approximately 60 to 70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 to $1,300 per week. Employers with employees unable to work because they’ve contracted or been exposed to coronavirus (which must be certified by a medical professional) can direct these employees to file an SDI claim online.

Employees taking care of ill or quarantined family members may file a PFL claim on the EDD’s website. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60 to 70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 to $1,300 a week.

SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.  CLICK HERE TO APPLY.

  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
    These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
    SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
  • For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

School Activities/Emergency Leave

The California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) has specifically addressed school closures in a recent COVID-19 FAQ, highlighting the school-related emergencies leave provided by California law. While employees can utilize their vacation/PTO in accordance with company policies, certain employees can also use school activities leave.

In California, employers with 25 or more employees working at the same location must permit employees to take time off for certain child-related activities, including to address a child-care provider or school emergency. Such an emergency includes closure or unexpected unavailability of the school or child-care provider.
Employees may take up to 40 hours each year for school activities. Employees are limited to eight hours per month for most activities, but that limitation doesn’t apply to emergencies. Thus, employees may be able to use all 40 hours for the current school closures.

Employers can require the employee to first use existing vacation, PTO or other personal leave, unless prohibited by a collective bargaining agreement. Depending on the employer’s policies, the employee may also take the leave unpaid.

More Time to File, Pay for CA Taxpayers Affected by COVID-19

The Franchise Tax Board (FTB) announced special tax relief for California taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected taxpayers are granted an extension to file 2019 California tax returns and make certain payments until June 15, 2020, in line with Governor Newsom’s March 12 Executive Order.

“During this public health emergency, every Californian should be free to focus on their health and wellbeing,” said State Controller Betty T. Yee, who serves as chair of FTB. “Having extra time to file their taxes helps allows people to do this, as the experts work to control the spread of coronavirus.”

This relief includes moving the various tax filing and payment deadlines that occur on March 15, 2020, through June 15, 2020, to June 15, 2020. This includes:

  • Partnerships and LLCs who are taxed as partnerships whose tax returns are due on March 15 now have a 90-day extension to file and pay by June 15.
  • Individual filers whose tax returns are due on April 15 now have a 60-day extension to file and pay by June 15.
  • Quarterly estimated tax payments due on April 15 now have a 60-day extension to pay by June 15.

The FTB’s June 15 extended due date may be pushed back even further if the Internal Revenue Service grants a longer relief period.

Taxpayers claiming the special COVID-19 relief should write the name of the state of emergency (for example, COVID-19) in black ink at the top of the tax return to alert FTB of the special extension period. If taxpayers are e-filing, they should follow the software instructions to enter disaster information.

The FTB will also waive interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply.

Potential Closure or Layoffs

Employers planning a closure or major layoffs as a result of the coronavirus can get help through the Rapid Response program. Rapid Response teams will meet with you to discuss your needs, help avert potential layoffs, and provide immediate on-site services to assist workers facing job losses. For more information, refer to the Rapid Response Services for Businesses Fact Sheet (DE 87144RRB) (PDF).

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