Resources for Employers Affected by COVID-19
We Stand with Austin's Businesses and Workforce
Governor Greg Abbott has declared a state of disaster in Texas due to COVID-19.
If your business is facing a layoff or closure, we can offer proactive, business-focused intervention and financial assistance for layoff aversion at no cost*. Below are resources to assist you in responding to economic changes related to concerns about COVID-19.
*We currently cannot offer legal counsel to employers.
Through Layoff Aversion funding, we can explore options to retain your workforce such as upskiling your employees or purchasing remote access equipment to adapt to the current environment. See additional funding options for layoff aversion strategies below.
To be contacted by our staff, please fill out this online form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unemployment Claims & Appeals: For Employers
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) holds responsibility for the state unemployment compensation program. However, Workforce Solutions Capital Area works closely with TWC and can act as your local navigator to resources.
Governor Abbott has waived the one-week waiting period for benefits and work search requirements for Unemployment Insurance. Learn more about the Unemployment Insurance claim and appeal process here.
The Mass Claims program streamlines the unemployment benefits claims process for employers faced with layoffs (permanent or temporary) of 10 or more employees at one time and takes some of the burden off the employees filing. For more information, click here (pdf).
For information on how to file a Mass Claim, go to the TWC website and download the User Guide (pdf).
Access the Texas Workforce Commission required Mass Claim Excel Spreadsheet here and the Mass Claim Agreement Letter here.
Shared work allows employers to reduce the work hours of employees rather than laying them off. TWC pays shared-work employees partial unemployment benefits to supplement the wages lost to working reduced hours. For more information, click here (pdf).
For information on how to apply for Shared Work, go to the TWC website and download the User Guide (pdf).
Reference: TEGL 19-16 Section:18 Rapid Response
Some examples of layoff aversion projects that use creative strategies to address COVID-19-related effects* on businesses and workers include, but are not limited to:
- A call center environment needs to have their employees work from home/remotely in order to support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID-19. Layoff aversion funding could be used to purchase remote access equipment that the employee would need to use from home to support their work.
- § A business whose employees use specific software or computer applications asks their employees work from home/remotely in order to support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID-19. Layoff aversion funding could be used to purchase the software/programs that the employee would need to use from home to support their work.
- § Due to decline in business/revenue, a company is reducing the hours of three or more employees, and the employer may be eligible for Texas’s “work share” Unemployment Insurance assistance program. Between the employee’s pay and UI benefits, the employee is still collecting less income than usual, and is having difficulty paying bills, mortgages, etc. Layoff aversion funding could be used to supplement the employee’s income and benefits.
- § In order to support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID-19, a company that usually runs two shifts of workers adds a third shift, so that fewer employees are on onsite at any given time. Layoff aversion funding could be used to offset related costs to the employer or workers.
- § A small business needs their employees to be at work, on site, but cannot afford frequent deep cleaning to help prevent potential exposure to COVID-19. Layoff aversion funds could be used to pay for a cleaning/sanitization service.
*Note: Layoff aversion funds can always be used to support creative approaches and strategies; other business/employee needs could be substituted for COVID-19-related language in the examples above
Please fill out this online form and indicate layoff aversion in the notes and our staff will contact you with more information.
Additional Resources for Your Workers
The Texas Workforce Commission holds responsibility for the state unemployment compensation program. However, Workforce Solutions Capital Area works directly with TWC as your local resource to help connect you.
Please visit our Resources for Workers Affected by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) page for more information.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is now offering disaster relief loans for small businesses in Texas. Go to the SBA website to apply. The process to apply, verify eligibility and close the loan can take several weeks to complete.
Learn more about disaster recovery for small businesses here (pdf).
Learn more about employment rights during a declared disaster here (pdf).
More COVID-19 Resources
For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 in Austin/Travis County, please refer to these official sources:
City of Austin COVID-19 Updates
Austin Center for Events COVID-19 Updates
Travis County COVID-19 Updates
Texas Workforce Commission COVID-19 Resources
If you are interested in receiving layoff aversion services, please contact us at email@example.com or 512.485.3792.
For up-to-date information about Workforce Solutions Capital Area locations and programs, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.