Attention All NWHPBA Members:
Updates, Information, Webinars & Resources as of 4.2.20
By: Carolyn Logue, NWHPBA Lobbyist

I have been compiling information on the various resources available for employers and employees during the Corona Virus crisis and wanted to make sure that you all have this information. I have been reviewing webinars, etc… and attending various conference calls put on by business groups to determine the best information. All of the information below should be sent to all members of the organizations and also should be posted to a website. I am also participating on regular conference calls with the construction industry. We are working to get residential construction back to being essential. More to come on that in the next day or so.

I also get daily updates from the state and as pertinent information comes forward and I will forward to you - MARKING URGENT anything that impacts the members directly. Hopefully you can keep members and the website updated.

INFORMATION RE: ASSISTANCE FOR BUSINESSES AND WORKERS

First,  HERE  is a link to a recent webinar from NFIB that I have listened to twice now. I think this is the best summary of all of the bills that have passed at the federal level and the employer requirements/assistance in those. It is long but well worth going through it. It particularly gets into questions and details about the various loans, whether you can apply for both types of small business assistance loans (you can — but there are caveats), employer notice requirements, and paid family leave and paid sick leave at the federal level. NFIB’s general corona virus tab at the top of their page  www.NFIB.com  contains a lot of good information that has been digested quite well.

Important Things to Note:

  • Employer Notice Requirements:  Beginning April 1 and expiring December 31, 2020, all employers are required to post, and keep posted, in conspicuous places on the premises of the employer where notices to employees are customarily posted, the notice approved by the Secretary of Labor. Any employees working from home or remotely must be emailed this notice. HERE is the link to the notice.

  • Apply Quickly for the Pay Check Protection Program:  Starting this Friday, April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietors can apply for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program. The Department of the Treasury is advising small businesses “to apply as quickly as you can because there is a funding cap.” More Information Here

Second, On page 11 of the Governor’s Essential Businesses order — Under “Other Community-Based Government Operations and Essential Functions” — Bullet #26 — “Workers providing, maintaining, and repairing heating, cooling and refrigeration services” are listed as essential businesses. There are other essential business definitions that apply, such as home appliances, maintaining gas appliances and others that clearly put your work under the essential business category. As for any projects you have that are construction projects, please check with the general contractor to find out the status of that project.  HERE  is a link to ALL information for businesses and workers in Washington State. Our Governor has been compiling this information in one place to make it easier to find for our state’s businesses. I URGE EVERYONE TO TAKE A LOOK AT  WWW.CORONAVIRUS.WA.GOV   to see all of the information that has been gathered there.

Finally,  LINKED HERE is information directly from our state Employment Security Department to help you guide employees who want to collect UI and how the federal act works with the state. There are some good FAQs on this page that will help.

If people have questions and cannot find the answers in any of the information above, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. I have people I can contact to get answers to questions.



GENERAL STATE UPDATES, PROCLAMATIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS OF ORDERS:
  • WASHINGTON | INCREASED ENFORCEMENT OF BUSINESS-CLOSURE ORDER COMING
 
During a  press conference  on Monday, March 30,, Gov. Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a “three tier” enforcement approach for non-essential businesses that have remained in operation despite the Governor’s March 23 “Stay Home – Stay Healthy” proclamation. The Governor’s office just followed up with a  press release . Here’s an overview of the three-tier enforcement strategy:
 
1.      The Washington State Patrol and local law enforcement will begin  issuing warning letters  to non-essential businesses that have remained in operation after the midnight March 25 shut-down order. Each of the officials participating in today’s press conference said that education and voluntary compliance are their primary objectives.
 
2.      For those non-essential businesses that refuse to close after receiving a warning letter could then be subject to citation financial   penalty , or  loss of permits or licenses  – including  suspension of their business license .
 
3.      Finally, those non-essential businesses that continue to operate after warning and citation would be subject to penalties for operating without a license or permit (if suspended or revoked),  arrested , and charged with a  gross misdemeanor . Moreover, the Attorney General claimed those business owners would be engaging in  unfair labor practices  and in  violation  of the state’s  Consumer Protection Act .
 
Anyone can  file a complaint online  against a business suspected of operating in violation of the Governor’s proclamation. Not surprisingly, individuals filing such a complaint is not required to identify themselves.
 
MORTGAGE PAYMENTS AND OTHER UPDATES TO ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES
  • On Tuesday, March 31, Gov. Jay Inslee and Charlie Clark, director of the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) announced the state is taking steps to assist distressed Washington homeowners who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) restrictions.

Inslee also issued an  updated guidance bulletin  tonight concerning the "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" proclamation. Included in the bulletin as essential are nannies, who are deemed essential if they are in the home taking care of children of essential workers, automotive repair facilities and limited automotive sales and leasing activities, and renewable energies.
City of Seattle Specific:
Comprehensive Paid Sick and Safe Time Q&A Updated

On March 18, 2020, amendments to expand the types of absences for which an employee can use their Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) went into effect. To ensure employees and employers have the most recent information, we issued an updated PSST COVID Q&A  and  Fact Sheet  last week. Today we released an  updated comprehensive Q&A  which provides detailed questions and answers about this law. These resources can be found by clicking  here  to visit our Paid Sick and Safe Time web page.