BUSINESS AND WORKERS
Business Recover Efforts in Ventura County
If Your Work Has Been Affected by the Coronavirus
Below is a brief summary of the benefits that may be available to you if your work has been affected by the disease. Visit the Labor & Workforce Development Agency’s website for more information: www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/
- If you’re unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 you may qualify for Paid Family Leave (PFL).
- If you’re unable to work due to medical quarantine or illness, you may qualify for Disability Insurance.
- Those who have lost a job or have had their hours reduced for reasons related to COVID-19 may be able to partially recover their wages by filing an unemployment insurance claim.
- If a worker or a family member is sick or for preventative care when civil authorities recommend quarantine, workers may use accrued paid sick leave in accordance with the law.
- If workers are unable to do their usual job because they were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 during the regular course of their work, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Policy/Assistance Changes Affecting Business & Workforce
- Federal Disaster Loans – The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). SBA Customer Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process at 800-659-2955 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Family First Coronavirus Response Act Passes – On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed additional emergency relief legislation creating expanded employee benefits and protections related to COVID-19, including a new federal paid sick leave law, an emergency expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and expanded unemployment insurance provisions.
- Extension Filing Payroll Tax – Employers statewide directly affected by the new coronavirus (COVID19) may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit payroll taxes without penalty or interest
- State Extension Filing Personal and Business Taxes – The Franchise Tax Board 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 to June 15, 2020, for all tax filings and payments due between March 15, 2020, through June 15, 2020.
- Federal Extension Filing Personal and Business Taxes – Taxpayers can defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief.
- California WARN Act Suspended for COVID-19 Emergency – Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order on March 17, 2020, that suspends the provisions of the California WARN act that impose liability and penalties for companies with 75 employees or more who do not provide a 60-day advanced notice to employees for mass layoffs, transfers, or terminations.
Resources for Employers
What to Do First
- Economic Development Collaborative COVID-19 Business Resource Guide (updated daily)
- Every business should review the Business Resource Guide. For Businesses that have experienced concerns or disruptions, the EDC SBCDC Advisors can assist providing no-cost guidance and can assist with SBA loan applications. Please contact the EDC office at 805.409.9159 to request an appointment.
- SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to Coronavirus – Guidance and Loan Resources
- The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to California small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). SBA Customer Representatives will be available to answer questions about SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and explain the application process at 800-659-2955 or via email at email@example.com. Apply for an SBA loan online.
Local Organizations and Resources
- Economic Development Collaborative – Small Business Development Center (Ventura County) – Offering business consulting and loans.
- Women’s Economic Ventures Ventura County – Offering business consulting and loans.
- SCORE (Ventura County) – Offering business consulting.
- Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the Coronavirus impact on the economy may apply for the Unemployment Insurance Work Sharing Program through the EDD
Other Resources for Businesses
- California GO-Biz – California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
- U.S. Small Business Administration
- CDC Guidance for Business and Employers
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- California League of cities
- California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED)
- California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO)
- National Restaurant Association
- Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- California Department of Public Health
Resources for Employees
Unemployment Insurance Claim
- If you have become unemployed or partially unemployed, you may file an Unemployment Insurance claim
- EDD-Video-How to file an Unemployment Insurance Claim
Disability Insurance Claim
- Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance Claim
- EDD Video-How to file a Disability Insurance Claim
Paid Family Leave
- Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Paid Family Leave Claim
Business Resources for the Community
Chambers of Commerce Coronavirus Resources: Business Resources, FAQ’s, What our Community is Doing
Restaurants Open for Takeout
Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan for the CoronavirusThis interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19. Recommended strategies for employers to use now:
- Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
- Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [37.8° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
- Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
- Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
- Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
- Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
- Separate sick employees:
- Employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
- Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:
- Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygieneat the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
- Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
- Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
- Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
- Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
- Perform routine environmental cleaning:
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
- No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
- Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
- Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:
- Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
- Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
- Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
Planning ConsiderationsAll employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace in the event of an outbreak. They should identify and communicate their objectives, which may include one or more of the following: (a) reducing transmission among staff, (b) protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, (c) maintaining business operations, and (d) minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains. Some of the key considerations when making decisions on appropriate responses are:
- Disease severity (i.e., number of people who are sick, hospitalization and death rates) in the community where the business is located;
- Impact of disease on employees that are vulnerable and may be at higher risk for COVID-19 adverse health complications. Inform employees that some people may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
- Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members, dismissals of early childhood programs and K-12 schools due to high levels of absenteeism or illness:
- Employers should plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
- Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.
- Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
- Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their business infectious disease outbreak response plan based on the condition in each locality.
Additional Guidance for Business
- Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor’s and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s websites).
- Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.
- Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations. Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.
- Set up authorities, triggers, and procedures for activating and terminating the company’s infectious disease outbreak response plan, altering business operations (e.g., possibly changing or closing operations in affected areas), and transferring business knowledge to key employees. Work closely with your local health officials to identify these triggers.
- Plan to minimize exposure between employees and also between employees and the public, if public health officials call for social distancing.
- Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners on your infectious disease outbreak response plans and latest COVID-19 information. Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.
- In some communities, early childhood programs and K-12 schools may be dismissed, particularly if COVID-19 worsens. Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from school. Businesses and other employers should prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies for these employees.
- Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies; employers should take the time now to learn about plans in place in each community where they have a business.
- If there is evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak in the US, consider canceling non-essential business travel to additional countries per travel guidance on the CDC website.
- Travel restrictions may be enacted by other countries which may limit the ability of employees to return home if they become sick while on travel status.
- Consider cancelling large work-related meetings or events.
- Engage state and local health departments to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information.