Coronavirus Employer Resources
Employment, Legal, Tax, Financial Resources
OBI will continuously update our website with resources, here are some now.
Legal Resource Centers
Stoel Rives (Note: several webinars also available here)
Financial and Tax Resources
- OHSU website: Resources for Coronavirus in Oregon
- Oregon Health Authority: Oregon Coronavirus Updates
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Coronavirus Website
- Governor’s Office: Coronavirus Website
- Saif and CompSAFE: What employers need to know about workers’ compensation and coronavirus
- WorkShare Oregon – leverage unemployment insurance
- Oregon Employment Department
- Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries:
- U.S. Department of Labor: new guidance for unemployment insurance
- CDC website for employers: CDC Business Guide
Oregon Will Waive One Week Waiting Period for Unemployment Benefits
Gov. Kate Brown announced on Thursday, April 16, that she will be waiving the one week waiting period before unemployed individuals start receiving benefits. OBI had been urging the governor to do so since this crisis began to escalate, and all seven members of Oregon’s congressional delegation had called on the state do so as well.
The governor did not mention a timeline for the waiver and not whether it will be retroactive for workers already in the system. With now more than 300,000 Oregonians out of work, one week of unemployment amounted to more than $100 million in earned benefits that weren’t being distributed due to state policy, and antiquated technology.
You can read more about this development here.
COVID-19 Related Tax Credits for Federally Required Paid Leave
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the "FFCRA) provides small and midsize employers refundable tax credits that reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing paid sick and family leave wages to their employees for leave related to COVID-19.
This information from the IRS, with a useful FAQ, is a good overview of how that program will work.
SBA Disaster Recovery Loans
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued updated guidance that it will provide initial EIDL loan disbursements of up to $15,000, in addition to the advance of up the $10,000 detailed in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program Guide. For immediate assistance on a question or application, please email: DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
Oregon Employment Department Updates Website
The Oregon Employment Department has updated its website to make it easier for Oregon employers and workers to access information about dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
The site’s COVID-19 page is easy to navigate for individuals trying to file a claim or access other information.
SAIF $10 Million Coronavirus Workers Safety Fund
SAIF is accepting applications for its new $10 million coronavirus worker safety fund, which is aimed at promoting employee safety, reducing injuries and decreasing exposure. Click here to learn how to apply for a grant from the fund, which will help pay for expenses tied to preventing the spread of coronavirus at businesses or mitigating other coronavirus-related costs.
Funds may be approved for costs such as:
- Safety equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce exposure and transmission
- Worksite cleaning services and supplies for disinfection
- Worksite redesign or modification to respond to transmission risk
- Employee clinic modification or additional staffing for virus-related treatment
- Mental health and wellness initiatives for concerns linked to the crisis
- Coronavirus and job reassignment safety training and communication
- Reopening businesses safely after coronavirus closure
Oregon 2019 Tax Filing Dates Extended
This week, the Department of Revenue announced that it was delaying filing deadlines for corporate and personal 2019 tax returns. However, estimated payments for 2020 taxes are not delayed. Read that guidance here.
2019 personal returns due April 15 are now due July 15, as are payments. Corporate returns due May 15 are also due July 15.
BOLI To Accept Exemptions on Manufacturing Overtime Rules
Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle this afternoon published a temporary order that will allow some Oregon manufacturers to claim an exemption to the state’s overtime limitations.
Read the order here.
Employers involved in manufacturing that may “reasonably result in the reservation of life and property” may use the exemption. Employers seeking the exemption must file notice with the Bureau of Labor and Industries explaining the exemption and demonstrate that employees working the overtime have consented to do so.
Today the U.S. Senate will consider a compromise $2 trillion stimulus package to aid coronavirus response across the nation, called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Here is a brief list of the proposed legislation’s key points:
- Rush direct checks to middle class and lower income Americans, likely about $1,200 per adult
- Extend unemployment insurance to allow four months of full pay
- Raise maximum unemployment insurance benefit by $600
- Includes traditional workers and those in the gig economy
- More than $150 billion for the healthcare system
- $150 billion to state and local governments
- $350 billion for small businesses loans
These actions are needed to keep the national economy going and will impact the lives of Oregonians and fate of Oregon businesses. Hopefully this will bring some stability in this very insecure crisis we are all facing.
Our partners at Innova Legal Advisors have outlined specifically how the bill affects temporary expansions of the FMLA and temporary emergency paid sick leave. Click here to read the full column with more detailed information.
On Monday Gov. Kate Brown issued her Stay Home, Save Lives order, asking Oregonians to stay home except for essential needs like grocery shopping and going to a pharmacy. She also temporarily closed a list of businesses and ordered those who can telework to do so. Businesses that cannot telework must designate a person to enforce social distancing.
Her office issued infographics like the one below to clarify the order. Click here to see all the infographics.
Coronavirus in the Workplace Webinar
OBI partner hrsimple is putting on a webinar to guide employers on coronavirus in the workplace. As an OBI member you get access to it. This presentation will provide detailed guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will impose sweeping changes to an employer’s obligations in the face of the COVID-19 national emergency, including a new paid sick leave mandate, an expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act that includes a separate paid leave mandate, and tax credits for employers to cover the cost of such leave.
When: Thursday, March 19, 2020 from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm CST
More info or to register click here.
Are you searching for tools to help your business to assist financially during this tough time? WorkShare Oregon is a state program that allows Oregon businesses to leverage unemployment insurance to subsidize a portion of lost wages when they have to reduce worktime because of business stressors. Click here for the WorkShare Oregon website, or here for its FAQ page.
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced new guidance related to unemployment insurance. The department states that federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits relating to COVID-19. Federal law allows states to pay benefits where:
- An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work
- An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over
- An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.
In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19. However, an employee receiving sick leave or paid family leave is still receiving pay, or technically employed, and thus not eligible for unemployment benefits.
Sick Time and Predictive Scheduling
Is your business experiencing drops in demand due to the coronavirus? Is that affecting your ability to schedule your workers? The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries has advice for employers for predictive scheduling.
BOLI is considering the COVID-19 pandemic as an extenuating circumstances, qualifying businesses with more than 500 employees for the relief from penalties and obligations relating to the predictive scheduling law. Click here to read the full recommendations from Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle.
You can also contact BOLI's Employer Technical Assistance line at 971-673-0824.