COVID-19 Small Business and Employee Resources
The State of California has launched Onward CA, a one-stop webpage for people impacted by job loss during the COVID-19 pandemic. I encourage you to see what opportunities might be available to you.
If you have been affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, you may be eligible for assistance. Below is a list of resources available to assist small businesses, entrepreneurs, workers, and economic and workforce development professionals in responding to COVID-19 challenges.
Resources Available to Employees
The California Employment Development Department announced support services to Californians affected by COVID-19.
Sick or Quarantined
If you are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy.
The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect DI benefits for the first week you are out of work.
If you are unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child.
If your child’s school is closed, and you have to miss work to be there for them, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely. File an Unemployment Insurance claim and EDD representatives will decide if you are eligible.
Reduced Work Hours
If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim. UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. If you are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with your employer within a few weeks, you are not required to actively seek work each week. However, you must remain able and available and ready to work during your unemployment for each week of benefits you claim and meet all other eligibility criteria.
The Governor’s Executive Order waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect UI benefits for the first week you are out of work.
If you are self-employed, you may have benefits available from EDD employment insurance programs that you or your employer may have paid into over the past 5 to 18 months. You may have contributions from a prior job, or you could have been misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee. Apply for the benefit program that best fits your situation. Visit Self-Employed/Independent Contractor to learn more.
Resources to Help Businesses Maintain Their Operations
- California Office of the Small Business Advocate is available to help businesses identify resources and obtain answers to key questions. FAQ for small businesses.
- Find your local Small Business Technical Assistance center here. At these federal- and state-funded business assistance centers, small businesses and nonprofits offer free one-on-one business counseling and training, including the discussion of options for accessing capital.
- California Small Business Development Centers provides both state and federal information for small businesses. The California Resource Guide includes detailed information about federal programs serving California, including the SBA Disaster Economic Injury Loan Program.
- California Association for Micoenterprise Organizations (CAMEO) provides a list of resources, as well as strategies to support microentrepreneurs, available here.
- At California's Small Business Finance Center, small businesses can access a range of financial products, including loan guarantees and direct loans. California maintains two credit enhancement programs to help small businesses obtain loans from traditional and non-traditional lenders, including the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program and a Small Business Loss Reserve Program.
- Employers experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for an extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return.
- For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center. Toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886.
Employer Guidance from California Labor Agency
- Guidance on how to protect workers from exposure to COVID-19.
- Guidance on reduced work hours, potential closures, and layoffs.
Employer Guidance from the Federal Government
- State Payroll Taxes: Employers experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request from the EDD an extension of up to 60 days to file their state payroll reports and without penalty or interest. A written request for an extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. For questions, employers may call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center toll-free from the U.S. or Canada at 1-888-745-3886. More information on how to request the extension and other services through EDD is available at www.edd.ca.gov.
- State Sales and Use Tax: Businesses experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request an extension from the Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Small sales and use tax filers (filing less than $1 million annually) have been given specific approval for taking an additional three months to file for the tax periods of April 1, 2020, through July 1, 2020. A small business may also apply for an extended payment plan that provides for up to a one-year extension on the small business' payment of state sales tax without penalty or interest. To qualify for the one-year payment extension, the businesses must have taxable annual sales of under $5 million and apply to the Department of Tax and Fee Administration for a payment plan. For questions and extension requirements, small businesses will find more information at https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/services/covid19.htm#small-business-payment
- Property Taxes: Property taxes are paid through the county in which a business owns land. Individual counties have adopted their own COVID-19 property tax measures. On April 4, 2020, the California State Association of Counties and the County Tax Official Association released a statement that counties, collectively, agreed to work with landowners to the best of their abilities to not apply Penalties for late property tax payments. www.csac.org
For businesses or consumers with insurance-related questions, the CA Department of Insurance’s consumer hotline at 1-800-927-4357 continues to be available from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM to help California consumers and businesses with their urgent insurance issues and answer questions you may have.
The Department’s new site is being updated continually: http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/140-catastrophes/Coronavirus.cfm
California Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development
California Labor & Workforce Development Agency
California Employment Development Department
Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy
U.S. Small Business Administration