We Stand with Austin’s Businesses and Workforce
If you are a business or CBO facing a layoff or closure, we can offer outplacement assistance, layoff aversion strategies, and potential financial assistance at no cost. Below are resources to assist you in responding to economic changes related to concerns about COVID-19.
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.
Workers can contact us for assistance on our Resources for Workers page.
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).
Learn more about programs and resources in this recorded webinar with Aaron Demerson, Commissioner Representing Employers for the Texas Workforce Commission:
Whenever possible, we want to explore early interventions such as layoff aversion opportunities. Please view some strategies below to help you retain your workforce.
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).
Layoff Aversion Funding
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.
- 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 Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain non-profits and other employers.
The Austin Chamber of Commerce created a guide providing information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.
Download a copy here (pdf) or watch a video webinar with Congressman Michael McCaul:
What to know about the CARES Act & Paycheck Protection Program
CARES Act loan applications are now open. The CARES Act will provide a forgivable loan called the Paycheck Protection Program 7(a). Highlights of this loan program include:
- Loans to nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees in order to cover basic costs and keep staff employed through the crisis;
- Loans can be applied to payroll, health benefits, paid sick and family leave, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and debt interest;
- Loan amount is calculated by a formula based on the average total of monthly payroll in the prior year.
- Loans do NOT cover employees making over $100,000/yr, and with principal residences outside of the United States.
- This loan will be eligible for “forgiveness,” essentially turning into grants if they are used for the purposes as outlined as long as certain other conditions regarding maintaining employment levels in accordance with the law are met.
- A sample application is available on the Small Business Administration website.
- Nonprofits should apply through their local bank.
- Applications will start being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis starting Friday, April 3.
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).
Mission Capital has compiled COVID-19 updates and resources to help Austin’s nonprofits take steps to safeguard employees, operations and communities. Visit Mission Capital’s website to learn about resources for nonprofits, families, and more.
More COVID-19 Resources
For the most up-to-date information regarding COVID-19 in Austin/Travis County, please refer to these official sources: