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The Governor’s Small Business Initiatives – August 5 – COVID-19 has impacted how we conduct business in many ways. That is why the Governor’s Small Business Team will host another webinar focused on helping small businesses develop adaptive strategies for an evolving future. This webinar will help guide business owners and entrepreneurs in implementing solutions, such as e-commerce and online strategies, to maximize business resiliency during uncertain times.
If you are self-employed, a contract worker or previously worked in a position that did not report wages, you may qualify for unemployment and can apply for UI benefits!
If you need to file, please go online to ui.texasworkforce.org or call 1-800-939-6631 to start the process. You will be notified you do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits and be enrolled in disaster unemployment benefits or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
During the application process, when UBS asks non-traditional workers the reason for their job separation, they should select “reduced hours.” If their reduced hours are a result of COVID-19, they should also select “COVID-19” under the disaster impact section. The system will then display questions they need to answer to complete their claim.
After completion, the system will first review the claim for regular unemployment insurance eligibility, which will result in a denial for regular unemployment benefits only. Subsequently, TWC will automatically enroll these applicants in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The initial denial for unemployment insurance may cause confusion but does not affect the PUA eligibility.
For more information visit https://www.twc.texas.gov/news/self-employed-texans-and-cares-act
If you have to close your business either temporarily or permanently and need to lay off employees, you may be able to submit a mass claim for unemployment benefits on their behalf. The Mass Claims program streamlines the unemployment benefit claims process for employers faced with either temporary or permanent layoffs.
To submit a Mass Claim Request: https://www.twc.texas.gov/news/covid-19-resources-employers
Need to Reduce Employee Hours? Check out TWC’s Shared Work Program
If your business has slowed down due to the pandemic and you need to reduce employee working hours, you may be able to avoid laying off employees by submitting a shared work plan. The Shared Work program provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs. TWC developed this voluntary program to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business.
Shared Work allows employers to:
- Supplement their employees’ wages lost because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits.
- Reduce normal weekly work hours for employees in an affected unit by at least 10 percent but not more than 40 percent; the reduction must affect at least 10 percent of the employees in that unit.
Shared Work unemployment benefits are payable to employees who qualify for and participate in an approved Shared Work Plan. Workers may choose not to participate. Employees who qualify will receive both wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits.
To apply for benefits online, see Unemployment Benefits Services: https://twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services
For more information, see TWC’s Shared Work web page.
Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas can assist with customized proactive outplacement services or layoff aversion strategies at no cost. Rapid Response provides early business-focused intervention assistance designed to transition affected workers to their next employment. Our services are tailored to each company, based on the needs of the affected employees. For more information regarding Rapid Response, please email email@example.com.
If you are currently hiring and would like to have your openings added to our WorkInTexas.com job portal, please contact our Employer Solutions Representative Contact by calling 1-877-834-5627 to take advantage of the following services:
- Assistance to post your Job opening
- Prescreening your applicants
- Design your Customized Virtual Hiring Event
Employer Work Refusal Documentation
Employee Refused Return-to-Work Offer? If you offered any of your employees a chance to return to work and they refused, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) needs to know. Please report each individual who refused to return to work on our online Employer Work Refusal Documentation form.
Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available from U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) advance of up to $10,000.
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.
- SBA COVID-19 Guidance & Disaster Loan Assistance: click here.
- SBA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Relating to COVID-19 for Texas Businesses: click here.
- SBA The Three Step Process for Disaster Loans: click here.
Paycheck Protection Program
The Paycheck Protection Program is specifically designed to help small businesses keep their workforce employed. Visit SBA.gov/Coronavirus for more information on the Paycheck Protection Program.
The new loan program will be available retroactive from Feb. 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020. Update: The Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications July 6, 2020, in response to the President signing the program’s extension legislation. The new deadline to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program loan is August 8, 2020 (Source: SBA).
SBA Express Bridge Loans
Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.
- Up to $25,000
- Fast turnaround
- Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan
- Small Business Development Center (SBDC) – https://www.sbdc.uh.edu/sbdc/COVID-19.asp
- Beaumont Chamber of Commerce – bmtecon.org/business-and-employee-resources
- Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation – setedf.org/coronavirus-aid-information-and-updates.aspx
- Orange County Economic Development Corporation – https://orangecountyedc.com/business-resources/covid-19-business-resources
- Port Arthur Chamber – portarthurtexas.com
- Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) COVID-19 Resources for Employers: click here.
- TWC Unemployment Benefit Claims Help & Resources for Employers: click here.
- TWC Claimants Guide to Filing for UI Benefits (In English/Spanish): click here.