Are you a worker or business affected by COVID-19 restrictions? These resources may help.

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For the next two weeks, Washington state’s restaurants, bars and gyms and other facilities will be shut down or have significantly reduced services to slow the spread of COVID-19.

To help those potentially affected by temporary layoffs, the Yakima County Development Association has compiled resources for both employers and employees. Here’s a summary of what’s available:

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Workers who are “mildly ill” with COVID-19, exposed and quarantined, immune-compromised and advised to self-quarantine or whose employers must shut down due to an official quarantine may qualify for unemployment benefits.

Employees may also qualify if their employer reduces available hours or shuts down due to business slowdown or lack of demand.

Under an emergency rule by Gov. Jay Inslee, workers who are caring for a sick family member or whose employer stays open in defiance of public health officials urging the business to close may also be eligible for unemployment benefits on a case-by-case basis.

Unemployment benefits include:

  • Standby:
    • In certain circumstances, employees may be eligible for standby. Standby means employees do not have to look for other work but need to be available for any work their employer offers that they can do if quarantined or isolated.
    • Generally, standby is only allowed for up to eight weeks during a claim year. ESD may grant an extension of standby for more than eight weeks if a request is made in writing and the person can show extraordinary circumstances.
    • Under the new emergency rules, temporary shutdowns related to COVID-19 infection at the place of business that cause the business to close or severely reduce operations are considered extraordinary circumstances.
    • Basic eligibility requirements for a claim can be found here.
  • Partial Employment (for reduction in hours):
    • Employers who need to keep operating on a less-than-full time basis can request a status known as “Partial” for their employees.
    • To qualify, employees must have been hired to work full time, must return to at least one week of full time employment within a four-month period and must work at least 16 hours per week.
    • Qualifying employees may be able to receive unemployment benefits without needing to look for work.
  • SharedWork
    • This program allows employers to reduce the hours of permanent and hourly-paid employees by as much as 50 percent, and the employees can collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.
    • While on the SharedWork program, employees are not required to make an active search for work.
    • The application and instructions can be found here.

EMPLOYER PAID SICK LEAVE

Workers may be eligible for paid sick leave through their employer if they are mildly or severely ill with COVID-19, have been exposed and quarantined, are caring for a sick family member or if they’re health care workers and first responders under quarantine.

Employees without childcare due to COVID-19-related school closures or whose employer must shut down due to a quarantine by a public official may also qualify.

Workers who are immune-compromised and advised to self-quarantine may be eligible for paid sick leave on a case-by-case basis.

PAID FAMILY & MEDICAL LEAVE

Workers may be eligible for paid family and medical leave if they are severely ill with COVID-19 or are caring for a sick family member.

Employees may also qualify, on a case-by-case basis, if they are mildly ill with COVID-19 or are immune-compromised and advised to self-quarantine.

INDUSTRIAL INSURANCE (L&I)

Health care workers and first responders under quarantine may qualify for industrial insurance (L&I).

Depending on the circumstances, workers may also qualify if they are mildly or severely ill with COVID-19 or are exposed and quarantined.

SMALL BUSINESS DISASTER LOANS 

The U.S. Small Business Association offers financial assistance to qualifying small businesses that are suffering economic injury as a result of disasters, including COVID-19, through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The Yakima County Development Association also advises small businesses to contact their local bank and ask if they are offering any assistance, such as lines of credit, low interest loans, or credit cards.

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