Economic Impact Resources for Workers & Businesses
Economic Impact Resources for Workers & Businesses
Resources to use or share with patrons on how to navigate the economic impact of COVID-19 and this new reality of working and doing business during a pandemic.
last updated 12.7.20
Resources for Workers | Resources for Business | Conducting & Reopening Business Safely | Starting Up? Resources for Entrepreneurs
Upcoming LIVE Webinar Events:
Entrepreneurs and (Small) Business
12/10/20, 8:30 am, State agencies have partnered to bring monthly webinars presenting information specific to Washington small businesses. Webinars feature brief presentations from state and federal partners and open-mic Q&A time. Pre-registration is required. FREE
12/10/2020, 11 - noon, How Stress effects your Bottom Line and What to do About It. 2020 has been a stressful time for all business owners, employees and families. An owner who is anxious and stressed about today and the future, often is unable to make rational decision to manage today and move your business forward. Learning to recognize stress and how to take action will help you address the challenges your business is facing. FREE
12/15/20, 9 - 10am, Survival Guide for Food Service Operations. How are successful food service businesses pivoting to survive the current times? This webinar offers food service managers ideas on how to adapt their business to deal with ever-changing situations caused by COVID-19. We will look at what others in the industry are doing to capture new markets and ways of doing business and discuss the managers/owner's responsibility to monitor the financial health of the company. Finally, are you ready for a new normal? FREE
12/17/20, 9-10am, L & I Employment Standards/Wage & Hour. Join the Washington SBDC to receive basic employer information for employers in Washington state. This webinar will be help current employers check to see if they are covering the bases and is essential for new and pivoting employers. Considerations from hiring independent contractors to minimum wage, overtime (including recent rule changes), paid sick leave & protected leave, Equal pay Act, worker protections. FREE
1/12/21, 9 - 10am, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s signature annual State of American Business event. This year, they will explore how a united business community can and must rally a divided nation around a widespread economic recovery, restore good governance, and rebuild our economy for the future.
1/12/21, 1 – 2pm, Intellectual Property 101. Unfamiliar with patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets? Join Wayne Stacy, Regional Director, Western Regional United States Patent and Tradmark Office (USPTO) to learn the basics of intellectual property (IP), and potential ways to protect your innovations as you transition from idea to product. Topics include: what is the (USPTO), overview of intellectual property types (patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets), why innovators and entrepreneurs should consider protecting their IP, and how to get started in protecting your intellectual property.
1/26/21, 1 – 2pm, Strategies for business turnaround, survival and exiting. Many small business owners are feeling like they just can't keep going and may be ready to call it quits. If you feel like the end is near, attend this webinar. We will give you some hope and some options. Topics include: Cashflow management, funding & capital infusion, managing debt, turnaround strategies, financial discipline, survival tips, as well as exit strategies including closing down, selling the business, and bankruptcy. FREE
Additional LIVE opportunities listed below under Resources for Business, Webinars and other Live Update/Q&A Opportunities
The State Library's Living Well in Washington pages are curated lists of high-quality, librarian-verified online resources, organized by topic.
Consumer Protection & Workers' Rights
The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Beware of emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.
Washington's Department of Employment Security offers information and guidance for those who have, or suspect they have, been a victim of Unemployment Insurance fraud.
Washington State Office of the Attorney General, Recovering From Identity Theft or Fraud page offers a step-by-step guide.
Working Washington's Resources for WA Workers in the Coronavirus Crisis was created to help workers navigate the rights & benefits they can access under pre-existing WA laws, and new rights & benefits that are available due to emergency measures.
The Federal Trade Commission has introduced an interactive dashboard for viewing data on COVID-19 and Stimulus Complaints.
Accomodation and Serving Job Seekers with Disablities
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation offices will be closed to the public until further notice. Customers are able to contact their local DVR office for service-related questions. For all other inquiries please call 1-800-637-5627. Information about rules and services changes are posted on their website.
The Washington State Coronavirus Response (COVID-19)’s Business & Workers page has an exhaustive list of topics and links for a wide variety of situations.
The Social Security Administration's free Work Incentive Seminar Event (WISE) are online events held for people who are age 18 through 64 and receive Social Security Disability benefits to learn about services provided. Click here to learn more and to register for the next webinar, and to view archived webinars.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has created What You Should Know About the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and the Coronavirus to help educate and prevent discrimination.
Workforce GPS' collection of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Other Disability Focused Federal Resources; updated as new informaition is shared and updated.
Accommodation and Compliance: Coronavirus 2019 from the Job Accommodation Network
COVID-19 Resources and Distanced Service Delivery Resources from WINTAC (Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center)
Paid Leave & Other Financial Assistance
If you are out of work due to COVID-19, there are a variety of benefits and assistance programs available. This FAQ can help identify the right option based on your unique situation.
Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), accrued Washington paid sick leave may be used under the following circumstances:
- workers' place of work is closed in connection with COVID-19
- worker is ordered to quarantine by a health care provider or if someone in their care is similarly ordered to quarantine
- to care for children whose school or child care is closed for health-related reasons. accrued Washington paid sick leave
The FFCRA affords workers up to two weeks (80 hours) of paid leave at 67% of the worker's standard rate of pay. This act is in effect through Dec. 31. Other authorized uses of paid sick leave are detailed under RCW 49.46.210.
Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) may be available for medical, personal, and military circumstances; qualifying events include the birth of a child, serious injury or illness, and preparation for or return from military deployment. Workers that require PFML apply directly to the state and benefits are paid by the state. Workers must have worked 820 hours across one or multiple jobs in the last year to be eligible for PFML, which may afford workers up to 12 weeks of paid leave.
Refer to L&I's paid sick leave page, FFCRA and PFML websites to answer common questions about paid leave.
Dept. of Employment Security’s Unemployment (UI) Benefits page where you’ll find a step-by-step guide to applying for UI benefits, and submitting weekly claims. Before beginning the applications process, use the resources below to get oriented to the rules, process, and materials/information you'll be asked to provide. If you have general questions about unemployment benefits, call 833-572-8400 first. They will likely be able to answer your questions, and if not, they can transfer you to a claims agent. Call volumes still remain very high, so it is always best to start at esd.wa.gov when looking for an answer.
ESD hosts a number of webinars each week to walk people through the unemployment application and expanded benefits application (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or “PUA”); Q&A will be available at the end. Not all the information will be relevant to you, but it will help you file your “PUA” application for expanded benefits. More information and registrations are on their webinar page. ESD recommends taking these 4 actions to get ready to open a UI claim:
- Stay up to date. If you haven’t already, sign up for ESD’s COVID-19 action alerts.
- Check your eligibility. Learn more about your eligibility and when to apply for benefits using the new Eligibility Checker.
- Get ready to apply. Use the Application Checklist to gather the information you'll be asked to supply to open a claim.
- Set up your Secure Access Washington (SAW) account. Watch this video that explains how.
Job search requirements for unemployment claimants will remain suspended through Nov. 9; claimants may continue to answer “no” to the job search question on weekly claims until that time. Learn more on the job search requirements page.
Longstanding UI claimants may notice "Final Payment" status in their eServices account - this appears when available benefits have been exhausted through Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation(PEUC), Extended Benefits (EB) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Read the information on this page to learn more about PEUC and EB. It is normal to get a smaller-than-normal payment at the conclusion of any benefit program. When in doubt, keep submitting your weekly claims!
Private Grant Programs
- Search Grant Station for the latest coronavirus grant funding opportunities for nonprofits, small businesses, journalists, and artists, updated each business day and listed by deadline date. To filter to Washington specific opportunities use the Geographic Scope (North America, USA, Washington). For grantmakers giving throughout the country, select the country and leave the region filter blank.
- Candid Learning is another resource to find emergency financial resources to help with COVID-19 hardships, for nonprofits, individuals, artists (all disciplines), and small businesses.
The HALO Fund is for library workers who have lost their job or had wages significantly reduced as a result of COVID-19. Small personal grants of up to $250 can help with the household and other expenses.
The Plate Fund is an initiative to provide emergency financial assistance to King County restaurant and food-service workers who have lost jobs and income due to COVID-19. Created by the Schultz Family Foundation in partnership with All In Seattle, Seattle Foundation, and UpTogether, the program launches with $4 million in seed funding and has a goal to provide immediate one-time payments of $500 to restaurant workers, prioritizing the most vulnerable and in-need individuals so they can quickly pay for essentials such as food, medicine, transportation, baby products, and other expenses. Individuals may apply for assistance via a mobile-enabled website without having to leave their homes.
Career Development & Skill Development
The State Library's COVID-19 'Resources for Home Workers, College Students & Career Builders' offers lots of resources and ideas.
Digital Skills & Digital Literacy Training
DigitalLearn.org offers resources in English and Spanish for a variety of learning levels: whether you're new to computers, haven't used them for a while, are a little unsure and uncomfortable, or just need a bit of a refresher, there are tools to help you tackle technology at your own pace and gain the confidence you need to succeed in school or at work.
GCFLearnFree is a free online educational website focusing on technology, job training, reading, and math skills from the Goodwill Community Foundation.
Google's Applied Digital Skills offers free, ready-to-use, project-based video lessons to teach digital skills that have immediate, real-life application. Flexible lessons and format allows you to learn on your own schedule, at your own pace.
Earning the IC3 digital literacy certification is the best way to PROVE to employers and instructors that you have the digital skills necessary for success at work and college. Exams cover basic computing, productivity, and living online. The State Library funds Washingtonians' access to self-directed learning pathways to prepare for and obtain industry-recognized digital skills, software, programming, and IT skills certifications, through the Microsoft LinkedIn Learning Academy. Microsoft Office is the 3rd most-requested job skill, across all industries and occupations. Demonstrate proficiency and stand out from the crowd by becoming Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)-certified in one or more Office applications - completely free to Washington residents. Learn more information about MOS and other free certification opportunities on our Learn, Practice, Certify Page. Due to COVID-19 closures, certification exams are currently being offered online, through the Washigton State Library and other participating public libraries and colleges.
Retire Guide created a free guide addressing concerns on the potential future of Medicare as well as how the pandemic and financial crisis may affect individuals' retirement plans.
Supporting Job Seekers
Workforce GPS' Job Seeker Service Delivery Recovery Resources provides resources to help workforce development professionals design and deliver critical job seeker services, to including virtual services; information, tools, and supports for assisting job seekers; and gain a better understanding of the challenges facing individuals that are unemployed and underemployed.
Webinars and other Live Update/Q&A Opportunities
The Washington Small Business Development Center (WSBDC) host lots of virtual events; view their calendar here.
Washington Dept. of Commerce's Business Response Center is standing by to respond to your questions about workplace safety, Safe Start phases, relief programs, paid sick leave, unemployment, and more.
The Washington Department of Commerce has partnered with 20 organizations across the state to providing targeted technical assistance for minority and non-English speaking business owners, to help with access to funding and other help.
Washington's Small Business Liaison Team hosts a monthly webinar series presenting information specific to Washington small businesses. The series features brief presentations from state and federal partners and open-mic Q&A time. Topics include unemployment insurance, returning employees to work, relief funding, workplace safety, face coverings and other timely topics.
The COVID-19 Info Series from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Board of Tacoma-Pierce County and Kitsap County brings together experts from all areas of government and business to help answer questions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, every Wednesday at 11:00am, via webinar and phone. The cumulative Q&A is captured in the FAQ on their South Sound Rapid Response page, where you can submit questions via Ask an Expert.
Declassified: Thurston's Business Leaders Share What You Need to Know is hosted by the Thurston Chamber of Commerce every Thursday at 2:15pm; various guests provide up-to-date information on business resources, state, federal and local actions, COVID-19 status and advocacy efforts for their community, with Q&A.
Archive of Gov. Inslee's press events and other TVW COVID-19 coverage, including “The Impact: Road to Recovery,” is a twice-weekly (Tuesday and Thursday) look at the economic impacts of COVID-19 on Washington's economy and communities.
The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, with help from the Economic Development Board (EDB) for Tacoma-Pierce County and under the guidance of industry experts, has created Team. Through their new website, the rapid response Team will consult with businesses and direct them to experts who will assist them with questions and concerns they have due to the COVID-19 crisis. The consultations will occur via telephone and through an online 'Ask An Expert' question form, and experts will be able to help businesses work through the necessary steps to obtain available relief and resources based on their individual needs.
Startup Washington has an extensive collection of state and federal resources to help entrepreneurs and small businesses on their Crisis Planning Tools & Resources page.
Washington Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has many resources for small business, including business resiliency workbooks, webinars and business resources related to protecting your business, and SBDC advisors who can provide one-to-one assistance to help you think through your options and make informed decisions.
Resources for employers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic from the Association of Washington Business (AWB).
Workforce GPS' Business Service Delivery Recovery Resources page provides resources to help workforce development professionals deliver core business services, share additional information and resources to support employers, and gain a better understanding of the challenges facing businesses and employers due to changing economic conditions.
The Cyber Readiness Institute is sharing a handful of free online guides created specifically for the business community. Topics covered include preparing for a hybrid-remote office workspace, reducing your cyber risk, and securing a remote workspace.
The National Restaurant Association has collected a list of Coronavirus Information and Resources featuring CARES Act updates, Questions, Resources, & News Articles; email updates are available.
Yelp maintains a collection of general businesses resources as well resources for restaurants and bars as they navigate the Coronavirus pandemic and many begin to reopen.
Taxes & Financial Assistance
Many businesses that have been severely impacted by COVID-19 will qualify for two new employer tax credits – the Credit for Sick and Family Leave and the Employee Retention Credit, a refundable, 50 percent payroll tax credit covering up to $10,000 per employee, including benefits, from the period of March 13 to December 31.
Tax help: Upon request, a representative from the WA Department of Revenue will visit your office and explain how state taxes apply to your specific business activities. Small business owners struggling to understand how to report their taxes properly will benefit from a short consultation visit. Large businesses with difficult issues can request advice by calling their local Department of Revenue office.
The Washington State Department of Commerce has established the Small Business Resiliency Assistance program to provide technical assistance for small business owners from culturally and historically disadvantaged communities, whose businesses have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In partnership with Washington State’s ethnic commissions, Commerce is contracting with community-based organizations to provide linguistically and culturally appropriate help for business owners. Business owners who would like assistance identifying next steps can visit this site to identify a community-based organization in their area, to email or speak with a business coach.
Modeling and Managing the Virus’ Financial Impact to Your Business, and article from SmartBooks, a Massachusetts-based small business accounting and finance firm.
The US Small Business Administration has set up a Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources page to help small businesses understand their options. There are several different programs a business could leverage, including:
The Coronavirus Emergency Loan Small Business Guide and Checklist (also available in Spanish) was created for small business looking to make use of CARES Act emergency loans, prepared by the The US Chamber of Commerce.
USDA Rural Development Offers COVID-19 Assistance (PDF) This resource matrix organizes funding opportunities identified in the CARES Act and other federal resources that can help support rural America. Opportunities are categorized by customer and assistance type. (updated 4/15)
Working Washington Small Business Emergency Grants program was established by Governor Inslee to assist small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Up to $5 million in funds are provided through the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund and administered by the State Department of Commerce. The grant program will provide a limited number of businesses in Washington’s 39 counties with a grant up to $10,000.
Crowdsourcing is a great way to get immediate financial support from your loyal customers and personal connections to keep your business running. The US Chamber of Commerce has compiled several different crowdsourcing options, which include:
- GoFundMe: Generally used for emergency and charitable causes. Patrons make donations to a company or cause, who gets to keep the funding, minus a 2.9% processing fee and $0.30 of each donation.
- Kickstarter: Generally geared towards startups and new business ideas or projects. Kickstarter is “all or nothing,” which means that if you do not attain the fundraising goal you’ve set, your project will go unfunded. Businesses generally incentivize donors by providing a “return” once the goal has been reached. For example, once normalcy has returned, you could provide donors with a gift card in the amount they contributed, early access to a new product, or whatever you deem relevant to your company.
- Indiegogo: Generally geared toward business needs, charities, or creative works. They offer both fixed (all-or-nothing) and flexible (you keep what you raise) funding options. Indiegogo usually charges a 5% fee, plus a 3% processing fee, plus $0.30 of each transaction. However, because of the COVID-19 crisis, they have set up a Local Business Relief Program and are waiving their platform fee for campaigns accepted into this program.
Private Grant Programs:
- Facebook: Small Business Grants Program offers cash grants and ad credits for businesses located in or near a location where Facebook operates. Grants for Seattle, WA/King County and Redmond, WA opened April 20 and close May 6 at 8:59 PST. Use the FAQ and eligible zip code list (p. 13) to help gauge eligibility.
- The James Beard Foundation's Open for Good was established by the James Beard Foundation to support restaurants, which have been hit particularly hard during this time. Corporate, foundation, and individual donors can contribute to the fund, which in turn will provide microgrants to independent food and beverage businesses in need; click here to donate or apply for the program.
- Amazon’s Neighborhood Small Business Relief Fund targets organizations with fewer than 50 employees or that generate less than $7 million in annual revenue, and are local to the Seattle area. Amazon is pledging $5 million dollars in the form of cash grants for this program.
- Verizon and LISC: Small Business Recovery Fund: Verizon has donated $2.5 million to the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), who will use that money to offer grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps. Priority will be given to applicants who are entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses, or are part of an enterprise in historically under-served places without access to flexible, affordable capital.
Washington State Emergency law requires five key workplace safety practices for all employers. Employees must practice social distancing and mask up. Employees must wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. Workplaces must be routinely sanitized. A plan must be written and in place to address worker illness. Finally, employees must be educated about COVID-19 and how to work safely.
The state coronavirus website now features a collection of data dashboards about virus activity, economic activity, education, employment, and more. Bookmark this page for convenient access to key COVID information. Relevant dashboards include:
- Risk Assessment Dashboard - county phase map, virus activity, key goals
- DOH COVID-19 Dashboard - cases, hospitalizations, deaths, demographics, testing
- Commerce Economic Recovery Dashboard - employment, retail sales, consumer behavior
- ESD Data Homepage - employment data by county and by sector.
- OSPI School District Status - indicates remote, hybrid, or in-person schooling by district.
The Safe Start plan is the state’s strategy to adapt to local conditions and optimize economic activity and public health.
Gov. Inslee's COVID-19 Reopening Guidance for Businesses and Workers, listed by business and phase. The Office of the Governor has offered best practices for business owners in summary of recent face covering requirements.
Washington Department of Labor & Industries' Washington Coronavirus Hazard Considerations for Employers (except COVID-19 carein hospitals & clinics) Face Coverings, Masks, and Respirator Choices
AWB’s Rebound and Recovery website hosts an online portal to connect Washington businesses with ‘Made in Washington’ manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE), plus a toolkit for small businesses to help prepare their physical spaces for reopening and assist in communicating new health and safety protocols with employees and customers. The site is free to use and available to all Washington businesses.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, including guidance on how to reduce transmission among employees, maintain healthy business operations, and maintain a healthy work environment.
Information and Q&A from the public about the EEO laws and COVID-19, from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
For businesses operating across state lines, MultiState’s COVID-19 Policy Tracker contains resources on the state and local government response to COVID-19/coronavirus.
The U. S. Chamber of Commerce's Combating Coronavirus website offers the latest resources, guidance, and insights to help American businesses, workers, and families.
Google's Tools & resources for COVID-19 to keep your business going, whether you’re open, offering limited services, or closed during Stay Home, Stay Healthy.
"A Common Sense Guide for Returning to the Post COVID-19 Workplace," article from WorkDesign Magazine providing strategic and tactical planning guidelines for employers to consider before workers return to the office.
Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic is available from the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
How I Financed It - Ever wonder how small businesses got their start? South Sound Business News interviews four local startups to learn how they financed their companies, and share their reflections and knowledge acquired through the process.
is a searchable website to help any entrepreneur in the world, for-profit or nonprofit, struggling due to the economic impacts of COVID19, to locate cash relief resources in their community.
, the nation’s largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, is dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals. visit their site to find a mentor, rake a class, or browse their extensive resource library.
If you are a Washington library worker and would like to join the Washington Libraries Work listserv to share information and ideas on libraries supporting job seekers, career exploration and development, and engaging with state and local workforce development system partners, send an email to Elizabeth Iaukea at [email protected] with 'Join walibswork' in the subject. If you have resources you would like to recommend for addition to this page/list, please email Elizabeth with 'COVID-19 Workforce Development Resource Recommendation' in the subject. Please include a short (1-3 sentence) description with link(s), and the section where you recommend the resource be added.
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