SEIU 503 is working quickly to make sure that workers’ voices are not ignored as employers, government agencies and policy makers roll out COVID-19 plans. It’s times like these that we’re thankful we have a strong union that can respond and make sure our voices are heard.
Governor Brown has issued an executive order loosening the rules around unemployment to help people who are quarantined or temporarily out of work due to COVID-19 – this includes people who need to stay at home to care for a child. Claims can be filed at Oregon.gov/employ or by calling 1-877-FILE-4-UI (1-877-345-3484).
- Unemployment Insurance (UI), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), and Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) through the new PUA program, unemployment benefits will now be available to FCC providers and all who are self-employed. The CARES Act also extended the duration of UI and PUA benefits nationally from 26 to 39 week, an increase of 13 weeks, through the end of 2020. The period of coverage will be retroactive to January 27, 2020. The benefit amount will be (different in each state, though generally between $100-250) Additionally, everyone receiving benefits through UI and PUA will automatically receive $600 per week on top of the base benefit amount (referred to in the CARES Act as Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) through July 31, 2020. This $600 per week will not be considered income for the purposes of Medicaid or CHIP eligibility.
HOW TO APPLY: All UI and PUA claims will be processed by state unemployment agencies, so contact your state agency online or by phone to file a claim (see links below). Unfortunately, the federal government is still in the process of creating the PUA application and guidance for states on how to administer the program. This means that some states are directing self-employed individuals to use the standard UI application, while others are encouraging them to wait until the new PUA application is received. For details in your state, contact your state UI department. Lastly, the weekly $600 PUC benefit is expected to come in a separate check from the base UI/PUA benefit, and advocates are encouraging states to ensure they are mailed the same week as the base benefit check.
Documentation and Immigration Status
Refer to the USCIS Response to Coronavirus(COVID-19) and the following link to the full website: https://www.uscis.gov/greencard/public-charge
Financial Relief for Providers and Teachers
Stimulus Payments under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by congress on March 27th, individuals who earned an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 (or $112,500 for head of household) will receive a one-time $1,200 tax rebate check. Married couples filing jointly with adjusted gross income up to $150,000 will receive $2,400. For each child in a family, $500 is added to the total payment.
HOW TO APPLY: These payments will be mailed to everyone who filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return. Make sure you’ve filed at least one of these returns!
Health Insurance Program Eligibility During COVID-19
Wondering how COVID19 benefit or aid payments will affect your income qualifications for Medicaid, CHIP, or ACA Marketplace insurance? The UC Berkeley Labor Center put together this helpful chart on which forms of aid count as income for the purpose of these three health programs.
Small Business Loans and Grants
The CARES Act makes available several loan and grant programs to help small businesses keep employees on payroll and maintain operations during the pandemic. While all offer opportunities for FCC providers, these programs are not one-size fits all, and not all of them may be right for your business. The CARES Act made available new funding for Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers to provide much-needed technical assistance to businesses seeking to apply for these programs.
The Paycheck Protection Program provides forgivable loans for up to two months of your average monthly payroll costs plus an additional 25%, up to $10 million. These loans are intended to allow business owners to maintain 8 weeks of operations through June 30, 2020, and must be used to cover salaries and wages, sick or family leave, health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, mortgages or utilities, and pre-existing debt obligations.
In order to have the loan forgiven, you must:
- Maintain your full-time employee headcount
- Not reduce salaries and wages by more than 25% for any employee making under $100,000 annually
- Restore any full-time employment or salary reductions you made between February 15 and April 26, 2020 by June 30th, 2020.
HOW TO APPLY: You can apply for PPP through your bank or any SBA-approved loan officer. These funds are available on a first-come, first served basis, so contact your bank to apply as soon as possible! Applications opened to small businesses on Friday, April 3, and reports are that most large banks are offering these loans only to customers who currently hold loans with the bank. We expect this will change in the coming days, as the federal government will be approving new lending entities to administer these loans.
Applying for an EIDL (a low-interest loan of up to $2 million) allows you to also apply for an emergency advance of $10,000 to maintain payroll, meet the increased cost of supplies, pay rent or mortgages, or honor debt obligations. This $10,000 should be disbursed within 3 days and does not need to be repaid. The covered period runs from January 31, 2020 to December 31, 2020 and loans may be secured by personal credit score. You can not use an EIDL for the same purpose during the same time period as a PPP loan.
HOW TO APPLY: Apply through the SBA’s website here.
For those holding existing SBA 7(a), 504, or microloans, the SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees for a period of six months. The SBA will also pay the principal, interest, and fees of new loans issued prior to September 27, 2020, excluding PPP or EIDL.
HOW TO APPLY: No application is necessary.
A pilot program providing loans of up $25,000 for business owners who currently have a relationship with an SBA Express Lender.
HOW TO APPLY: To find an SBA Express Lender, contact your local SBA District office here.
Short-Time Compensation or “Work Share” programs
Twenty-eight states, including all 8 states with SEIU family child care locals, currently offer “Work Share” programs that enable businesses to retain employees during periods of temporarily reduced business operations. Rather than lay off their workers, employers reduce hours or wages and employees receive partial unemployment for the wages lost. These programs are not widely known (largely due to lack of outreach and promotion by state agencies) but the National Employment Law Project has cited them as an important avenue for employee retention during COVID19. See NELP’s webpage on work sharing programs.
HOW TO APPLY: Apply through Oregon state’s unemployment department.
Other assistance with monthly expenses
- Phone, internet, and utilities: Many companies are offering accommodations for customers struggling to pay bills during the pandemic, including Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Spectrum, Cricket, Assurance Wireless, TracFone/Straight Talk and others. To find out what your service provider is offering and how to request accommodation, visit them online or contact them by phone.
- Mortgage relief: If your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be eligible to delay monthly payments without including late fees or affecting your credit. Additionally, four of the five biggest banks – Wells Fargo, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, and US Bank – and many local banks are offering a 90-day grace period during which there will be no negative credit impacts, fees or charges for late payments. Bank of America is currently offering a 30-day grace period. To apply for mortgage relief, contact your bank directly.
- Eviction and foreclosure moratoria: On March 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages for the next 60 days. Increasingly, cities and states are also issuing moratoria on rental evictions during pandemic. This article is tracking all states and cities that have passed eviction moratoria during the pandemic.
- Student Loans: Federal student debt is being deferred for at least 60 days. Contact your loan servicer to request that your payments be postponed
Recommended protocols for child care centers and homes
The CDC has developed detailed guidelines for child care facilities, which we encourage you to read in full. State departments of labor, education, and occupational health and safety are also developing their own industry-specific guidelines on maintaining health and safety in the workplace during the pandemic. California’s guidance for child care centers, one of the first to be released, contains more helpful suggestions for providers looking to reduce virus exposure within their facilities. Check with your state agencies for guidelines for child care centers and homes.
Cleaning and Disinfecting – The CDC has issued these guidelines on cleaning and disinfecting community facilities. The UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program recommends these additional practices:
- Avoid cleaning products with ingredients known to trigger asthma, including: bleach, quaternary ammonium, and glutaraldehyde. Instead, use alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.
- Clean off dirt and debris before disinfecting.
- Open windows to increase ventilation.
- Don’t use the same rag for different products.
- Read and follow label instructions about diluting and contact time on surfaces.
- Make sure all containers are labeled.
- Always use gloves and eye protection.
- Microfiber cloth is recommended.
The CDC is now recommending that everyone, especially essential workers like child care providers, wear masks for protection in places where social distancing protocols are difficult to maintain. While N95 masks offer better protection from airborne virus particles (blocking 95% of particles) , the global shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like masks and gloves is leading many communities to direct scarce supplies to medical personnel. While only N95 masks are certified to protect you from 95% of air particles when worn correctly, many people are creating home-made masks that offer some protection. If you are unable to find an N95 mask, the CDC website has new tutorials for creating your own homemade cloth masks.
If you are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID19, is it especially important that you wear a mask to minimize the risk of infecting those around you.
Food and nutrition during COVID19
The Families First Act, passed by congress on March 18, 2020, waives key requirements for the federal nutrition program, including meal times and monitoring requirements, and allows providers to offer grab-and-go meals to families. The Food Research & Action Center issued this guide outlining the changes.
Community Resource Guide
With information on state and county resources, food assistance, low cost healthcare, childcare and more, our resource guide is an attempt to pull together all the resources in the state that are available to people impacted by COVID-19.
Fact Sheets & Information
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): There is a critical shortage of PPE in Oregon and around the county. Governor Kate Brown directed all Oregon hospitals, outpatient clinics, and health care providers, including veterinarians and dentists, to cease all non-emergency procedures, in order to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE), such as surgical masks, gowns, and gloves, for health care workers treating COVID-19 patients. We are doing everything we can to fight for access. Please contact your organizer if you don’t have access to PPE. Every story helps us advocate.
- 211 is the go-to public phone number to get information about Novel Coronavirus and referrals to programs for food, shelter, health care and more. CALL 211 or 1-866-698-6155; TEXT your zip code to 898211 (TXT211); EMAIL email@example.com.
- Visit the Oregon Health Authority’s COVID-19 website for weekly public updates about how many people are being monitored in Oregon, as well as sharing updates about how Oregon families can help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- Governor Kate Brown is posting updated news and resources, including the latest information on school and business closures, on her official website.
- Ten Steps for preventing Coronavirus: in English and Spanish