Everyone is affected by COVID-19 in one way or another, especially if you’re an employee whose industry is experiencing a hit. The president recently signed into law the latest package from …
Everyone is affected by COVID-19 in one way or another, especially if you’re an employee whose industry is experiencing a hit. The president recently signed into law the latest package from Congress, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act — but what does this mean for you?
When I was helping to finalize this legislation, it was a priority of mine that workers would be able to get the help they need and keep their jobs. From one former small business owner, here are some answers to your questions about what is in this for you.
We want folks to be able to keep their jobs. Trained and loyal employees should feel some security during this tough economic time. One of the main goals for this third package is to provide direct financial assistance to small businesses — provided they keep their employees on even if there is no work for them and no revenue coming in — so employees across the state have more support. To help save our economy, we need to ensure as many people as possible stay employed, and the CARES Act provides many avenues to help.
One key form of assistance to help employees keep their jobs is the Paycheck Protection Program. It was created to provide potentially forgivable loans to pay for eight weeks of payroll and operational costs. If you work for a business with 500 employees or less, or businesses that qualify as employee-based size standard through the Small Business Administration, they can apply. It also applies to tribal businesses, 501(c)(19) veteran organizations and 501(c)(3) nonprofits. If you are an independent contractor, gig economy worker or self-employed, you are eligible.
While work may have paused, bills have not. Congress has created more opportunities to ensure workers are taken care of during this difficult time. Workers experiencing unemployment will now be able to stay assisted for a longer period of time. Workers will also be able to see help in areas such as housing mortgages and student loans with a temporary halt on repayments. Industries that are experiencing a shortage of workers are now able to have the flexibility to hire more temporary workers to get more people back to work.
This crisis has also created an extreme burden on the health care, trucking, grocery industries and many more — taking a toll on all of these workers. Congress has allocated money and supplies to help and make sure these workers feel supported as well.
For the families lucky enough to not be affected, there are many ways to help your community. Whether you are helping with food banks, sewing hospital masks, or simply staying home and social distancing, your help can go a long way.
Wyoming is proud to be a home for you and we want to see you stay. The Wyoming Business Council has response tips for affected employees and the Small Business Development Center can provide guidance on how to apply for loans to help weather this crisis. The state of Wyoming’s COVID-19 website provides resources and information for folks in Wyoming during these uncertain times. You can find these resources and other financial assistance help at http://enzi.senate.gov/coronavirus, where there is a span of helpful websites and federal updates.
Wyoming is filled with tough people who take on anything. During this time, when many businesses are having to close their doors through no fault of their own, it’s important that we help our workers stay supported and employed. Together, we will get through this pandemic.
(Mike Enzi, a Republican from Gillette, is Wyoming’s senior U.S. senator.)