Individuals across Arizona are struggling to know what is next—for them, for their families, for their employment—and all of us need to do a better job of helping navigate these uncertain times. The divisiveness pushed out in 280 characters online needs to subside and we must come together.
FACT: People are confused. State and federal actions are happening daily and quickly, recommendations are constantly changing based on the Centers for Disease Control guidance, and individuals are trying to keep up.
ALSO TRUE: These individuals would be better served by sharing the resources available to workers, small business owners and employees on their options, than in promoting more confusion.
So, in the interest of educating, here are some lifelines for both employees and employers.
- Paycheck Protection Program – Applications begin, April 3rd!
This program can be a lifeline for small businesses under 500, sole proprietors, independent contractors and more! The program allows businesses impacted by coronavirus to borrow enough to cover monthly payroll costs for two and a half months. And these loans can be forgiven, basically turning into a grant for small businesses. Apply through a private lender beginning Friday, April 3. Application can be found here along with your ultimate guide for completing it, also available in Spanish.
- Unemployment Insurance Expansion for COVID-19
State and federal legislation have recently expanded the eligibility for unemployment insurance and waived the one-week waiting period amid the COVID-19 pandemic. What that means for you: if you are an individual whose employer has permanently or temporarily ceased or drastically reduced operations due to COVID-19 resulting in a reduction of hours, you should apply. Eligibility is also expanded under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to individuals who historically have not been eligible for unemployment, such as individuals who are self-employed, contract workers or gig workers. While the Department of Economic Security (DES) is awaiting guidance from the federal government on the additional benefits, you should apply here and check back for updates from DES here.
These are just a couple of the immediate resources those impacted by COVID-19 should look to for help. Whether you are still working but your pay has been drastically reduced, or you are a small business owner struggling to pay your bills and employees, there are resources available and you should act now!
Courtney Coolidge is the vice president of government affairs for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry