Employer/Employee Resources

 

Explore resources for employers and their employees to navigate coronavirus-related business closures. Visit the Financial Support page for information on available funding opportunities and Health + Public Services for additional resources.

 

TACOMA PUBLIC UTILITIES BUSINESS SUPPORT

We’re here to support you and your business. Contact our Business Solutions office to see if you are eligible for extended payment plans and waived late fees. We also remain committed to providing ways for your business to save money with a variety of programs and rebates.

JOB FAIRS

The Aerospace Job Fair connects you with aerospace, commercial space, and unmanned aerial vehicle companies in Washington state – virtually from the comfort of your own home. Entry-level, Bachelor’s Degree, and mid-career professionals – engineers, machinists, finance, and business operations – are in demand. Share your background and experience, and get all your questions answered!

 To register:  https://app.brazenconnect.com/a/washington/e/XpQLd

 

Workforce Central

In response to COVID-19, Workforce Central is providing links to resources for the community and businesses, a listing of partners and affiliate sites that are temporarily closed, and a listing of events and activities that are cancelled or postponed.

Rapid Response South Sound

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County to respond to the business community’s top concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic by developing a Rapid Response Team and Rapid Response South Sound website co-sponsored by the City of Tacoma and other local businesses and organizations.  Answers are provided to specific questions previously posed by businesses regarding the following topics:
  • Financial Assistance
  • Government Regulation Assistance
  • HR & Employee Assistance
  • Legal Assistance
  • Communications Assistance
Businesses and organizations also have the opportunity to ASK THE EXPERTS to resolve their issues.  Reliable responses will be provided within 24 hours. Be sure to join the team for the COVID-19 Business Info series each Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting at 11 am. Visit the Rapid Response South Sound homepage for registration details.

Pierce Transit Announces New On-Demand Runner Service for Ruston Way Zone

https://www.piercetransit.org/Runner/

Washington State Small Business Liaison Team

A cross-sector team working to make Washington the best place to do business. The team includes 27 agencies participating in subgroups that focus on outreach programs, soliciting ideas for regulatory improvement, and developing new business tools. Download the liaison contact list.

Washington State Department of Commerce Economic Resiliency Team (ERT) Business Response Center.

Business owners and operators may obtain answers to general business inquiries regarding financial assistance, return to work or other business questions related to recovery efforts. ASK YOUR QUESTION HERE.

Governor Jay Inslee’s Office

The Governor’s proclamations page can be found here. ​

Inslee extends proclamation protecting high-risk workers

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the extension of a proclamation today giving high-risk workers the right to protect themselves from COVID-19 without jeopardizing their employment status or loss of income.

The proclamation provides older workers and those with underlying health conditions a series of rights and protections, including:

  • The choice of an alternative work assignment, including telework, alternative or remote work locations if feasible, and social distancing measures.
  • The ability to use any accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work assignment is not feasible and the employee is unable to safely work. Employers must maintain health insurance benefits while high risk employees are off the job.
  • Employers are prohibited from permanently replacing high-risk employees.

High-risk individuals are defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and specifically include:

  • 65 years of age or older; and
  • People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled.

The proclamation was extended through August 1, 2020.

Read the governor’s proclamation here.

Washington Health Benefit Exchange

One in four Washingtonians get health and dental coverage through the Washington Healthplanfinder at wahealthplanfinder.org or the mobile app WAPlanfinder. Individuals can receive free help applying from an expert in their community at wahealthplanfinder.org/find-expert-advice.html.

Washington State Employment Security Department

ESD needs employer assistance regarding unemployment insurance fraud

The State Employment Security Department has advised companies and organizations to check their records carefully to ensure that the list of furloughed/laid off staff is accurate regarding unemployment insurance claims.
To report unemployment insurance fraud, call 1-800-246-9763 or access https://esd.wa.gov/unemployment/unemployment-benefits-fraud

 

ESD administers the expanded unemployment benefits provided in the CARES Act at ESD.WA.Gov.

Benefits have been expanded to include:

  • Eligibility for unemployment benefits is expanded to include many Washingtonians currently not eligible, including many self-employed people and those that don’t have the typically required 680 hours.
  • An additional $600 per week will be available to nearly everyone on unemployment from March 29 through week ending July 25.
  • Benefits will be extended by 13 weeks, for a maximum of 39 (which is about nine months). This includes people who were already on unemployment as well as those who are newly eligible.

To that end, Commissioner LeVine recommended taking four steps to ensure folks keep up-to-date and have needed information at the ready when they apply for these benefits.

  1. Sign-up for COVID-19 Action Alerts – for the latest updates on what you need to know to access benefits in a rapidly changing situation.
  2. Check Your Eligibility – download the eligibility checker to help you better understand what benefits you may be eligible for, and when to apply.
  3. Download the Applications Checklist – find out if you are eligible for unemployment benefits if you are unable to work due to COVID-19.
  4. Set-up Your SecureAccess Washington Account – get access to online e-services.

ESD’s site has experienced a high volume of users, resulting in long call wait times and information loading slowly. In addition to resolving technical issues, the ESD expects to have about 1,000 current and new staff available to provide customer service by the end of April.

Additional information:

View this graphic from the ESD explaining expanded relief for employees impacted by the coronavirus. 

Tips from the ESD for people applying for benefits and filing weekly claims:

  • The more people prepare before they apply, the smoother their process will be to get their benefits.
  • You can apply for benefits at any time. This is not a first-come-first-served program. There is no risk of funds running out.
  • Payments are retroactive to a worker’s eligibility date. Once you have successfully applied and backdated your start date, your first payment will be for all weeks for which you are eligible.
  • Weekly claims can be filed seven days a week. They can also be filed over the automated phone system: 800-318-6022
  • E-services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The busiest times tend to be in the morning. ESD recommends trying during off-hours.
  • If you are having difficulty filing your application, please visit ESD’s help page.
  • Due to the continued high demand for unemployment benefits, ESD is offering a webinar for customers to learn more about setting up a Secure Access Washington (SAW) account and submitting a claim for benefits online.
  • ESD also has created a tool kit for businesses and workers with the latest information and resources related to filing for unemployment benefits.

ESD launches daily webinars to assist customers signing up for unemployment benefits. Participants will be guided through:

    • Setting up a SAW account,
    • Filing a new UI Claim,
    • Guidance on standby and work search requirements,
    • General UI requirements and information,
    • Services and programs offered through the WorkSource Offices.
    • Register here.
  • April 5, 2020: The US Department of Labor released further guidance for implementation of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to qualifying individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment compensation or extended benefits, including those who have exhausted all rights to such benefits. Covered individuals include self-employed individuals, those seeking part-time employment, and individuals lacking sufficient work history.
  • Emergency rules to relieve the burden of temporary layoffs, isolation and quarantine for workers and businesses
  • Includes easy-to-read comparison guide that lists some of the most common scenarios that may occur and benefits that may apply
  • SharedWork (smart alternative to a layoff) and Standby
  • Layoff assistance

Washington Department of Labor and Industries

  • Paid sick leave
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Workplace safety and health
  • Stay informed

Washington State Coronavirus Response

Central repository of information regarding:

  • Business and workers
  • Childcare/K-12/higher education
  • Health
  • Government emergency actions
  • You and your family
  • Travelers and commuters

Impact Washington

Impact Washington is committed to assisting small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) across the State. They are conducting a no-cost COVID-19 Return-To Work  Assessment to help manufacturers comply with the Governor’s Phase 2 Safe Start Requirements. They continue to offer their technical assistance, training, and consulting services to help manufacturers survive, restart, and prosper beyond today’s challenges.  On June 25, they announced availability of their Recovery Assistance Funds a program designed to help off-set fees to help manufacturers with Recovery Projects.

For additional information about Impact Washington and their support to the manufacturing community visit their COVID19 Mfg Resources section on their website.

 

COVID-19 Emergency Back to Work Prevention Measures

Impact Washington Preventive Manufacturing Back to Work Measures

PPP applications resume. 

The U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications today in response to the Paycheck Protection Program Extension Act. The new deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is Aug. 8.This is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. More information is available at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program

National Hire a Veteran Day virtual job fair to be held on July 23

On July 23, the Employment Security Department (ESD) will host a National Hire a Veteran Day virtual job fair in collaboration with Worksource Washington and Washington State YesVets. Job seekers can engage with over 40 companies and government agencies looking to hire veterans and chat live with recruiters, all at no cost. Job seekers may register here, and interested employers may contact YesVets to inquire about participation.

National Council of Nonprofits

Visit this site for guidance on the CARES Act specific to charitable nonprofit organizations. Resources include a CARES Act Loan Options matrix and webinar titled: Federal Coronavirus Relief Bills: What Do They Mean for Nonprofits?

America’s Small Business Development Center Washington

Business Survival Strategies

www.USA.gov/coronavirus

Government Response to Coronavirus, COVID-19 | USAGov

Government Response to Coronavirus, COVID-19. Learn about international travel restrictions, how you can prepare for coronavirus, and what the U.S. government is doing in response to the virus.

www.usa.gov

 

United States Department of Labor

Small Business Administration:  June 9, 2020

 

5 Things You Should Know About the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

 

1. There is more than $130 billion in PPP funding still available … and now, more flexibility too.

PPP funds are still available for small businesses, independent contractors, nonprofits and tribal businesses whose operations were impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak. And with the enactment of the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, there is more flexibility, such as the extension of time to spend loan proceeds from eight weeks to 24 weeks and the expansion in the percentage of funds that can be used for non-payroll expenses. Read more in this joint statement from SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

New PPP Flexibility 

 

2. The last date on which a PPP loan application can be approved is June 30, 2020.

While many extensions and flexibilities were enacted with recent legislation, one date still remains: the last day a PPP loan application can be approved is June 30, 2020. That means now is the time to apply for a PPP loan before time runs out. Find a PPP lender — or even review PPP materials in 17 languages — by visiting www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection.

Find a PPP lender

 

3. SBA Resource Partners can help you with the PPP application or loan forgiveness process.

Through webinars, virtual meetings and phone calls, business advisers from the SBA Resource Partner Network are helping small businesses navigate through the PPP process. Plus, they are working with businesses on their individual recovery plans. Connect with a SBA Resource Partner near you or one of the many other helpful resources from the Federal Resources for Small Business website.

Connect with an adviser

 

4. SBA wants to know how the PPP has helped your business.

We’ve been answering a lot of questions from businesses about the PPP process along the way. Now we want to hear the end result. Tell us your story of how the PPP has helped your business and your employees.

Tell us your story

 

5. Report fraud to the SBA Office of Inspector General.

While new programs are helping people through difficult times, unfortunately, it comes with new avenues for scams and fraud. If you suspect fraud on an SBA program or want to learn more about known scams and alerts, visit the SBA Office of Inspector General website.

Report fraud, waste or abuse 

 

For more information about PPP and other funding options for small businesses visit:

SBA.gov/CoronavirusRelief

 

Congress passed HR 7010 – the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act.

The bill provides more flexibility regarding loan forgiveness and addresses other issues.  In summary, it:

    • Extends the covered loan period from eight to 24 weeks,
    • Ensures full access to employer payroll tax deferment for businesses that take PPP loans,
    • Relaxes the requirement that PPP loans be spent on payroll costs from 75% to 60%,
    • Provides a “rehiring safe harbor” for businesses to qualify for loan forgiveness if they are unable to hire employees due to the effects of enhanced unemployment insurance, and
    • Establishes a “safe harbor” for businesses to qualify for loan forgiveness if they cannot return to full business operations due to state orders or restrictions.
      (Source:  Washington Economic Development Association)

SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application

Friday, May 15, 2020

Washington—The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application.

The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.

The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:

  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

The PPP was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The documents released today will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans.

Click here to view the application and instructions.

Additional Information:

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Section by Section Summary

H. R. 748 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act–CARES Act (approved)

This $2.2 trillion stimulus package provides a large cash infusion to hospitals, broader access to COVID-19 testing, individual rebates, small business grants and loans and a wide variety of tax breaks.  View the US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship’s Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act.

We offer more details on the individual programs under the heading US Small Business Administration/Department of Treasury Programs below. 

H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Act (Approved)

This bill responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers. Specifically, the bill provides FY2020 supplemental appropriations to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for nutrition and food assistance programs, including

  • the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
  • the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP); and
  • nutrition assistance grants for U.S. territories.

H.R. 6074: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (approved)

  • developing, manufacturing, and procuring vaccines and other medical supplies;
  • grants for state, local, and tribal public health agencies and organizations;
  • loans for affected small businesses;
  • evacuations and emergency preparedness activities at U.S. embassies and other State Department facilities; and
  • humanitarian assistance and support for health systems in the affected countries.  

In this section, the City of Tacoma is providing information especially related to resources to assist small businesses affected by COVID-19.  It does not represent an endorsement.  Businesses are advised to conduct their own due diligence to determine how this assistance may meet their needs.

The Sara Blakely Foundation (Spanx) has teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish The Red Backpack Fund which will provide 1,000 grants of up to $5,000 to female entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. through August 2020.  The next application process is open from July 6 – 13, 2020.  Apply promptly at www.globalgiving.org/redbackpackfund/.

Tacoma Urban League

  • Directory of Youth Resources & Programs
  • Transportation Support for Food & Essential Workers
  • Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs Emergency Funding Application Help

CO Coronavirus Small Business Guide

The US Chamber of Commerce offers various articles on pandemic-related strategy, communications, and human resources, plus customizable print materials for businesses to use in their establishments.

Additional Guidance:

The US Chamber of Commerce has created the following communication tools for businesses to share what safety measures they are taking for their employees and customers.

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