While the federal government has passed massive stimulus packages to help workers and businesses weather the COVID-19 crisis, here in California there are a number of state and local laws and benefits to review. Below are highlights of some of the latest California-specific resources for workers and small businesses. Contact us if you need assistance navigating the confusing patchwork of local, state, and federal laws during this crisis.
Enhanced Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Assistance Starts April 28
As I have previously written, under the CARES Act, unemployment insurance benefit eligibility has been significantly expanded: the weekly benefit amount has been increased by $600; self-employed individuals and independent contractors may be eligible; and, the benefit term has been expanded. The Department of Labor’s guidance details changes to state UI programs.
Governor Newsom announced that on April 28, the State will be ready to implement expanded UI eligibility. Payments are retroactive, meaning that if someone was unemployed prior to April 28 due to COVID-19, they will receive retroactive benefits. The California Employment Development Department has a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance page to help claimants. The Governor has extended the UI Call Center hours to 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 7 days a week: (833) 978-2511.
In addition, COVID-19 is a qualifying reason (with appropriate medical certification) for receipt of State Disability and Paid Family Leave benefits.
Extension of Time to Pay State Payroll & Sales Taxes
Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension from the EDD to file state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. For the address to send the request, along with other information, please see the State of Emergency or Disaster Fact Sheet (DE 231SED).
In addition, the state is allowing small businesses to defer payment of sales and use taxes of up to $50,000, for up to 12 months.
California Small Business Loans To Assist Those Who Do Not Qualify For Federal Funds
California has allocated $50 million to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank for loan guarantees to small businesses to help eliminate barriers to capital for individuals who do not qualify for federal funds, including low wealth and undocumented immigrant communities.
Requirements for California Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act Partially Suspended: For employers who had to rapidly close their businesses to prevent or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, Executive Order N-31-20 (PDF) temporarily suspends the 60-day notice requirement in the WARN for those that gave written notice to employees and satisfy other requirements. The EDD has posted guidance on this temporary suspension.
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) has compiled helpful information for employers, employees, and all Californians as it relates to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Visit https://business.ca.gov/coronavirus-2019/ for more information.
Live Webinar Opportunity for Entrepreneurs
Save the date, May 7th, to attend this online event: “Legally Legit: Getting Your Business and Brand Off of a Slippery Slope and Onto Solid Footing”. You can register here
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