coronavirus

Florida Offering Benefits for Workers, Businesses Struggling Due to COVID-19

For those looking for work, or just trying to get by in these uncertain times, the state has provided a plethora of resources for both employees and employers alike

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Businesses and workers are feeling the squeeze as the coronavirus pandemic has forced stores across Florida to shutter their doors.

Companies being forced to downsize in order to stop the spread of the virus has forced tens of thousands of Floridians to apply for unemployment on an almost daily basis.

In a news conference Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said 21,000 Floridians filed for unemployment benefits on Monday alone. The day before, he said, 18,000 had applied.

For those looking for work, or just trying to get by in these uncertain times, the state has provided a plethora of resources for both employees and employers alike.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity is offering reemployment assistance for those people who have been forced to quarantine due to COVID-19, or were laid off due to concerns of the virus.

According to the agency, reemployment assistance (also known as unemployment insurance) provides “temporary wage replacement benefits” for people who are out of work through no fault of their own.

Applicants do not necessarily need to be out of work. FDEO says workers whose hours were reduced due to the virus are also eligible.

Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at an event in Orlando on March 25 with the latest news on the spread of the coronavirus.

Another resource FDEO provides is short time compensation.

Short-time compensation is mainly aimed at businesses who are forced to downsize for a period of time, but can help avoid massive layoffs.

When businesses experience temporary slowdowns, hours for employees can be reduced across the board. STC allows businesses to plan for the long-term impact of a slowdown by using unemployment insurance to compensate employees during the downsizing period.

10 percent of employees must work reduced hours for businesses to claim the benefit.

BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

For businesses reeling from the impacts of closing their doors, the state is offering emergency bridge loans as relief.

The bridge loan program provides short-term, interest free loans for one year to small businesses that experience economic injury from COVID-19. Loans may be awarded up to $50,000 per business, or possibly $100,000 in special circumstances.

Small business owners with two to 100 employees located in Florida can apply for short-term loans up to $50,000. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to March 9, 2020, and demonstrate economic impacts as a result of COVID-19.

The federal government is also offering small businesses assistance through an economic injury disaster loan.

Unlike Florida’s bridge loans, the federal loan provided by the Small Business Administration does have an interest rate – although the agency says it will not exceed 4 percent per year.

For more information on unemployment benefits in Florida, visit the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity website.

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