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.

 

City of Tacoma

Pierce County  Department of Emergency Management

  • Federal Disaster Loans for Small Businesses and Private Nonprofits

Pierce County CARES: Free personal protective equipment (PPE) available to businesses

Pierce County is providing free personal protective equipment (PPE) to county businesses to help them comply with COVID-19 workplace safety practices and protect employees and customers. This program is funded through $158 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act federal dollars. A total of $30 million will be focused on economic stabilization and recovery projects in Pierce County.

To receive PPE, businesses must fill out a PPE Request Form at www.piercecountywa.gov/BusinessPPE and indicate the type of PPE needed. Available PPE includes disposable, non-surgical masks and no-touch infrared forehead thermometers, while supplies last.

PPE will be distributed June 1 – June 3, and businesses that request PPE will receive additional details regarding pick-up locations in Pierce County.

Business owners or managers should visit www.piercecountywa.gov/BusinessPPE to request PPE. Businesses must be located in Pierce County to be eligible.

For more information, contact the Pierce County Economic Development Department at (253) 798-6150 or PCBizPPE@piercecountywa.gov.

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.

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.

Governor Jay Inslee’s Office

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

  • $200 million to State agencies, local governments and tribal governments who are responding to COVID-19
  • $25 million to assist businesses with unemployment impacts
  • Increases hospital capacity to address greater health care demand
  • Reduces credentialing delays for health care workers
  • Helps ensure providers can treat the people who need care
  • Funds virus testing at the University of Washington
  • Creates a plan to enforce social distancing efforts for Washingtonians experiencing homelessness
  • Allows school employees to access benefits due to school closures, quarantines or if the employee’s childcare is closed
  • Adjusts shared leave program requirements
  • Imposes statewide moratorium on evictions of residential tenants for the next 30 days starting on March 18, 2020
  • Allows the State Utilities and Transportation Commission to enable the use the of ratepayer dollars to provide economic assistance to customers affected by COVID-19, such as those out of work or working significantly reduced hours
  • Waives the one-week waiting period to receive unemployment insurance
  • Allocates up to $5 million of the Governor’s Strategic Reserve funds as grants to small businesses across the state to help prevent closure due to COVID-19; State Department of Commerce to coordinate an application process
  • Authorizes the State Department of Revenue (DOR) to waive late filing fees for property tax exemption renewals; business license renewal late fees; and excise tax interest on B&O, real estate sales and other taxes DOR administers, including interest related to tax preferences for biotechnology and medical device manufacturing—all tax-related measures are retroactive to February 29, 2020
  • Directs the State Department of Social and Health Services to expand eligibility for the Family Emergency Assistance Program to include families without children
    Suspends rules regarding nursing home assessment requirements to allow for faster admissions and suspends long-term care inspections and surveys on particular timelines except in specific circumstances
  • Requests cabinet agencies to be led by the Employment Security Department and the Department of Commerce to support economic retention, resilience and recovery efforts
  • Waives restrictions on hours worked for delivery drivers carrying groceries, medical supplies and equipment, pharmaceuticals, fuel and pet food and supplies; drivers must have a current safety rating of “satisfactory” and cannot extend their hours if they feel fatigued, ill or have been on duty for more than the allowed number of consecutive hours
  • Emphasizes behavioral health community assistance for those who need emotional or mental health support, or treatment resources for substance use (call the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1-866-789-1511)

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

May 8, 2020

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

 

April 18, 2020

ESD launches 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 16, 2020

Governor Inslee and the Commissioner of Washington’s Employment Security Department, Suzi LeVine, addressed unemployment at a joint press conference. Commissioner LeVine outline an update that will be expanding the state’s unemployment assistance. The update, which will happen on Saturday, April 18, will have three key parts, according to Levine.  Those parts are:

    • An expansion of unemployment eligibility
    • Increase weekly unemployment benefits by $600
    • Expanding and extending how long someone can be on unemployment

According to Levine, lines and systems may be down Saturday while the update takes place, but the department will be back up and running in full on Sunday. Levine did warn that because the expansion is coming quickly, the site itself will not be the most optimal user experience. However, she said, that was the tradeoff needed in order to get money into people’s pockets faster. 

  • 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 providing no-cost guidance to manufacturers to

  1. review existing procedures
  2. conduct an assessment, and
  3. advise on how to implement controls to protect workers.

Manufacturers may request assistance by calling (425) 438-1146 or e-mailing info@impactwashington.org.  The information provided in the files below may be useful to other businesses in addition to manufacturers.

COVID-19 Emergency Back to Work Prevention Measures

Impact Washington Preventive Manufacturing Back to Work Measures

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

Congressional Actions

H.R. 266: Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (Approved)

SBA Releases Updated Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Report

Includes Loan Numbers and Volume by State Through May 30

 

SEATTLE – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) released an updated Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Report detailing total data from both rounds of PPP funding through May 30.

 

The following is summary of all available PPP data for states in the SBA Pacific Northwest Region plus national numbers:

 

Summary of PPP Approved Lending

 

Loan Numbers

Loan Volume

  As of May 30 As of May 16 As of May 30 As of May 16
Alaska 10,135 9,890 $1.2 billion $1.2 billion
Idaho 28,620 28,125 $2.5 billion $2.6 billion
Oregon 57,304 55,882 $6.8 billion $6.8 billion
Washington 92,627 90,505 $12 billion $12.1 billion
National 4.4 million 4.3 million $510 billion $513 billion

 

The totals in the report reflect cancellations due to duplicative loans, loans not closed for any reason, and loans that have been paid off. This includes repayment from the safe harbor deadline the SBA implemented to allow businesses owned by large companies with adequate sources of liquidity to repay the PPP loan in full if the loan was approved prior to the guidance provided April 24. 

 

“While more businesses are keeping employees on their payroll with help from the Paycheck Protection Program, there is still more than $100 billion in PPP funds available for small businesses, independent contractors, nonprofits and tribal businesses,” SBA Pacific Northwest Regional Administrator Jeremy Field said. “This forgivable loan is providing much-needed financial relief to tens of thousands of small businesses in the Northwest. However, we know there are more people who can benefit. We are urging all small employers and those who are self-employed to connect with a local lender to apply for PPP funds now.”

 

Las week, the SBA – in consultation with the U.S. Treasury Department – announced it was setting aside $10 billion of Round 2 funding for the PPP to be lent exclusively by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).

CDFIs work to expand economic opportunity in low-income communities by providing access to financial products and services for local residents and businesses. These dedicated funds will further ensure that the PPP reaches all communities in need of relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

More information about the PPP is available at www.sba.gov/paycheckprotection.

  • Congress passed HR 7010 – the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act, which is now awaiting the President’s signature.  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 June 1 – 8, 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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