Governor Newsom launched a new initiative to expand California’s health care workforce and recruit health care professionals across the state to address the COVID-19 surge. Health care professionals with an active license, public health professionals, medical retirees, medical and nursing students, or members of medical disaster response teams are all encouraged to join the new California Health Corps. Learn more here: https://covid19.ca.gov/healthcorps/
OnwardCA is an initiative of companies, foundations, and humans to get California workers displaced by COVID-19 essential life services and back to work as quickly as possible. More info here: https://onwardca.org/
Resources for Individuals and Families
TICAS provides tools and advice for students and borrowers impacted by COVID-19, such as what happens to borrowers in their grace period and whether any interest that was unpaid before the interest waiver went into effect. More info on student loans can be found here: https://ticas.org/covid-resources-for-student-loan-borrowers/
What employees are entitled to may be confusing, therefore, the CA Labor and Workforce Development Agency created an info chart to make it easier to understand what resources may be available to employees. Learn how you can qualify for resources here: https://www.labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019/#chart
Most long-term unemployment insurance recipients will receive benefits through at least the end of the year
Many workers who lost their job early in the pandemic have now exhausted regular state unemployment insurance. However, EDD will automatically file extensions on their behalf to allow for continuation of benefits, first via Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and then the Federal-State Extended Duration program. Workers should continue to certify every two weeks, watch for notifications from EDD, and respond immediately to any requests. This infographic provides a flowchart of potential benefit extensions.
New online ID verification system implemented for new unemployment insurance applicants
Moving forward, most new applicants for unemployment insurance (UI) will verify their identification via ID.me. After beginning a new online UI application, users will have to set up or log into a separate ID.me account, which they will need to secure via a passcode sent to their phone or computer. They will then upload, or show over video, a government-issued ID, or answer questions from an ID.me representative. More detailed information about what to expect can be found here. Applicants may still choose to submit documentation by fax or mail but doing so will extend the timeline for approval of benefits.
CA Public Utilities Commission suspends most utility shutoffs and re-enrollment requirements until at least April
The California Public Utilities Commission has ordered most utility providers, including all large investor-owned electric, natural gas, water, and sewer utilities, to suspend service disconnections due to nonpayment for both residential and commercial customers until at least April 2021. Additionally, low-income customers will not be required to re-apply for discount programs (e.g., CARE, FERA) during the pandemic. Details about protections being offered by specific providers are available here.
The California Department of Education’s launched a mobile app called “CA Meals for Kids” which is regularly updated to help students and families find meals during COVID-19-related emergency school closures. More info here: https://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr20/yr20rel14.asp
The pandemic is affecting small businesses in a variety of ways. From loss of business to remote work, things are changing fast and businesses are being forced to adapt. Learn more on the resources available for small businesses: https://www.uschamber.com/co/small-business-coronavirus
Small business employers to get state tax credits for (re)hiring full-time workers
Small businesses that hire or rehire full-time employees between July 1 and November 30, 2020 are eligible for up to $1,000 in income or sales tax credits for each hired employee. To qualify, businesses must have 100 or fewer employees and demonstrate that they suffered a 50 percent decrease in gross receipts in April through June 2020, relative to the same time period in 2019. More information about SB1447 as signed into law is available here.
Automatic approval of Work Sharing applications filed before September 2023
The Work Sharing program allows employers struggling financially to avoid layoffs but reduce payroll costs by cutting work hours. Workers maintain employment and employer-provided benefits. They also receive partial unemployment insurance for the hours they are no longer working. Despite the program’s win-win features, it has been underused, at least partially because of the time and paperwork involved in securing approval. A new law aims to streamline the application process and provides for automatic one-year approval of most work-sharing applications filed from September 15, 2020 to September 1, 2023. More information about work sharing is available from EDD.
California will not tax forgiven PPP loans as income
California is conforming its tax treatment of loans from the CARES Act, Paycheck Protection Program, and subsequent acts such that a business’s gross income does not include any forgiven loan amount. If a business received a PPP loan but did not meet the criteria to have the loan forgiven, they may still be able to deduct business expenses paid for with the proceeds of the loan. More information about AB1577 as signed into law is available here.