Labor & Industries this week enacted emergency rules to fine businesses found to be open in violation of Governor Jay Inslee’s Stay Home Stay Healthy order in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Businesses found to be in violation of Inslee’s four-phase reopening plan will be directed to close or make immediate safety adjustments. Those who do not comply will be subject to a fine of nearly $10,000 or more, according to this recent L&I announcement.
See here for more details
COVID-19 RESOURCES HERE
Washington—May 15, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application.
The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.
The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:
The PPP was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. The documents released today will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans.
Click Here for Application and Instructions.
With the increase in unemployment benefits, unemployment fraud is on the rise. The Seattle Times reported that over 700 fraudulent claims were reported this month, adding up to over $1.6 million.
How does this impact employers and what should you do?
Pay attention! When you receive a notification of an unemployment claim…read it! Have you laid off that individual? Are they still working for you? Many employers, especially under the current conditions with layoffs abounding, are inclined to dismiss the notification, as they don’t plan to contest the claim. This is dangerous, as it may be the only way the fraud is identified in a timely manner. While it may take time to sort through the paperwork, track who is working, who is not, how many hours, etc., it is worth the effort!
Contact employees! Communicate with impacted employees to verify the information. Did they apply? If they did not apply, refer to the reporting steps below. If they did apply and they are still working, then you have a completely different disciplinary issue to discuss with the HR Hotline!
Notify IT! Let your IT department know of the fraudulent claim so that system security can be checked to ensure that the data breach did not come from your end. If it did, it should be addressed immediately and a data security attorney or your cyber security insurer should be contacted, and employees must be notified.
Report it! Employers should promptly notify the Employment Security Department (ESD) that the employee is still working, and the claim is suspected to be fraudulent.
Provide the steps below to affected employees. Cyber-crime investigators are recommending the following steps for anyone who knows, or believes, they are a victim of unemployment fraud:
Step One – Contact HR
Step Two – Contact WA State ESD
Step Three – File a Police Report
Step Four – Contact Credit Bureaus
Step Five – FTC & IRS
Step Six – Keep Your Notes
If you have reason to believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your information or used a scam to obtain your private information, the ESD urges you to make a report at esd.wa.gov/unemployment/unemployment-benefits-fraud.
Please be aware that you will need the following information:
As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to impact our region, we want to keep you informed on the work the American Red Cross is doing to fulfill our mission and support our partners during this health crisis.
Mental Health First Aid for COVID-19
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is challenging individuals and families in new ways. Mental health first aid, the practice of recognizing and responding to people experiencing crisis-related stress, can be used to help yourself and others to cope in the face of stressful events.
To help, the American Red Cross is offering a free Mental Health First Aid for COVID-19 online only course during the pandemic.
The course content is based on guidance from the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This online course is designed for anyone interested in learning techniques for supporting mental health during the COVID-19 crisis. Topics include:
Humanity in War
Also now available online: a free course to train policy professionals, government officials, academics, and the general public on the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law.
This course prepares participants to recognize key concepts in international humanitarian law, including:
Critical need for Diverse Blood
Right now, African American blood donors are critically needed to help patients battling sickle cell disease following a significant decrease in diverse donors amid this coronavirus outbreak.
Unfortunately, since mid-March we have seen the number of African American blood donors drop by more than half. Understandably, we believe this number has decreased in large part due to blood drive cancellations at businesses, churches and schools, as well as disproportionate COVID-19 infection rates for African Americans compared to other ethnicities.
While we recognize this challenge, the Red Cross needs the help of African American blood donors to ensure a diverse blood supply. Blood transfused to patients with rare blood types, like those with sickle cell disease, must be matched very closely to reduce the risk of complications.
Without a readily available blood supply, sickle cell patients can experience severe pain, tissue and organ damage, acute anemia and even strokes. Furthermore, sickle cell patients are at high risk of serious complications from coronavirus infection and blood transfusion can be a lifesaving treatment for these patients.
This is the time to take care of one another, and blood donation is essential to ensuring the health of those in our community. If you are feeling well, please make an appointment to give by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.
MultiCare Occupational Medicine provides three screening & testing services for employers to support restarting employment and our economy. These can be useful for employers to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure at work, so long as the employer and employee are aware of their limitations. There are no screening or test tools currently available which guarantee an employee will not spread COVID-19 at work.
If you decide to use one or more of these tools, we hope to be your provider. But regardless where you source the services, we want you to have the facts needed for an informed decision.
Symptom & Temperature Screen:
The medical provider relies on patient-provided symptom answers and a temperature reading to determine if symptoms are of concern or not. This screen is not indicative of past exposure, nor a guarantee the individual is not infected or a contagious carrier of the virus.
Antibody Serology Test:
CDC guidelines on Antibody testing:
PCR Nasopharyngeal Test:
Antibody Serology Test:
All these services are “snapshots in time.” The individual may be exposed and infected after the service is performed.
For questions, more information or to enroll for services:
Tel: 888-580-5513 opt 1
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TACOMA-PIERCE COUNTY CHAMBER
950 Pacific Ave. Suite 300
Tacoma, Washington 98402
Phone: (253) 627-2175
Fax: (253) 597-7305