The headlines are changing by the minute and HIRE Strategies aims to be a resource for you to access up to date information to keep you, your employees and families safe during these uncertain times. Below you will find a rolling and growing list of vetted organizations that provide a wide variety of data you may find helpful.
May 21, 2020
Phase 2 – Re-Opening of North Carolina
FAQs for Business Owners, Employers and Employees
May 5, 2020
Phase One – Re-Opening of North Carolina
FAQs for Business Owners, Employers and Employees
The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020. The law offers a number of benefits to employers.
- Gets financial assistance to Americans
- Brings relief to small businesses and their employees
- Stabilizes the economy
- Supports healthcare workers and patients
Our partners at CAI have provided a summary of the CARES Act here.
Unemployment Benefit Information
North Carolina Department of Commerce
Unpacking what North Carolina Governor Cooper announced the week of March 16, 2020. There are five items that will change concerning North Carolina unemployment under this executive order:
- The one-week waiting period for unemployment will be eliminated.
- The job-search requirement will be eliminated.
- Downsizing and specific reductions in hours due to the business impacts of Coronavirus will qualify for unemployment.
- Employees will be able to apply for unemployment online or over the telephone, versus doing so in person.
- Employers will not be responsible for the benefits paid as a result of the Coronavirus.
Note: we encourage employees to mention COVID-19 in their claim when filing for unemployment as a result of the Coronavirus.
North Carolina COVID-19 Rapid Recovery for Small Businesses
In response to the unique economic challenges of COVID-19, a consortium of public, private, and nonprofit partners have come together and launched an innovative recovery-lending program to help support entrepreneurs like you and stabilize North Carolina’s small business sector. Learn more and apply here.
Business Edge from the NC Department of Commerce
Business Counseling Services, including layoff aversion strategies: Business Edge is a series of layoff aversion strategies and activities designed to help North Carolina employers prevent or minimize job losses. Through Business Edge, workforce partners collaborate with business leaders to assess the needs of, and options for, “at-risk” firms, and to deliver services that address those needs.
- 919.814.0400 or Toll-Free: 800.562.6333 (Choose Option 2 – Business Services)
Families First Coronavirus Response Act – President Trump signed the legislation into law on March 18, which means the leave provisions will go into effect on April 2.
This bill responds to the coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.
Specifically, the bill provides FY2020 supplemental appropriations to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) for nutrition and food assistance programs, including:
- the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
- the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP); and
- nutrition assistance grants for U.S. territories.
The bill also provides FY2020 appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Services for nutrition programs that assist the elderly. The supplemental appropriations provided by the bill are designated as emergency spending, which is exempt from discretionary spending limits.
The bill modifies USDA food assistance and nutrition programs to:
- allow certain waivers to requirements for the school meal programs,
- suspend the work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program), and
- allow states to request waivers to provide certain emergency SNAP benefits.
In addition, the bill requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue an emergency temporary standard that requires certain employers to develop and implement a comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plan to protect health care workers.
The bill also includes provisions that:
- establish a federal emergency paid leave benefits program to provide payments to employees taking unpaid leave due to the coronavirus outbreak,
- expand unemployment benefits and provide grants to states for processing and paying claims,
- require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees,
- establish requirements for providing coronavirus diagnostic testing at no cost to consumers,
- treat personal respiratory protective devices as covered countermeasures that are eligible for certain liability protections, and
- temporarily increase the Medicaid federal medical assistance percentage (FMAP).
Small Business Administration
The SBA is working directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Small business owners in many states are now eligible to apply.
Wake County Resources
Wake County Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Ford today signed a new State of Emergency Declaration. The declaration requires some types of businesses to close, prohibit gatherings of 50 people or more, change visitation practices at nursing homes and restrict the use of playground equipment at local parks.
Restrictions specific to nursing homes and similar facilities go into effect immediately. All other restrictions go into effect at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 23. The new restrictions will last until April 30.
- Closing fitness clubs, gyms, hair and nail salons, spas, tanning, massage, and tattoo salons, and other professional grooming services;
- Canceling mass gatherings of 50 or more people (which includes both staff and patrons). This does not include organizations that provide critical services like hospitals, government operations and financial institutions. It also excludes retailers that provide essentials goods like grocery stores, pharmacies, pet stores and hardware stores;
- Requiring nursing homes, long-term care facilities and assisted living centers to cease group activities that don’t allow for social distancing. Residents can only have one adult visitor per day, unless it is an end-of-life situation, and the visitor must be screened for:
- fever of 100.4-degrees or higher,
- a cough and
- difficulty breathing before they can enter the building;
- Prohibiting the use of playground equipment at public and private parks. This does not include backyard playgrounds or other amenities such as greenways and walking trails; and
- Recommendations that retail businesses screen their employees and customers for fever and respiratory illness before they enter the facility and turn away those who are sick.
The county has set up a dedicated phone line to address business-specific questions: 919-856-7420. In addition, additional FAQs have been included on the county’s COVID-19 webpage here.
Capital Broadcasting Company Local Business Virtual Conference Series
Sign up here.
City of Raleigh COVD-19 Resources
Durham County Resources
Durham Small Business & COVID-19 Webinar
On Friday, April 17, 2020 at 2:00pm, you are invited to join a discussion of the impacts of COVID-19 on Durham’s small businesses and the long term steps necessary to assist them in their recovery. This is a discussion that will provide opportunity for leaders, business owners, and citizens to contribute thoughtful input about resources that are, or will be, available and how to best access and utilize them.
Zoom Meeting https://zoom.us/j/96169954003 Meeting ID: 961 6995 4003 Password: 433347
LinkedIn Learning Resources
Videos to help set your team up for success
If you’re looking for new employment, see our series of articles below to get you ready to put your best foot forward:
Helping Our Community
Raleigh City Council approved a new program in late April to help support small businesses that have been hit hard by the pandemic. The fund is starting with $1 million for local businesses to apply for if they meet the proposed criteria. Applications are set to go live in the near future.
Raleigh is looking for matching funds to help make a difference for small businesses. Consider contributing to the Carolina Small Business organization here or any of the following charitable organizations:
Strategies for Working from Home
Below are excellent tips from our Forbes Coaches Council:
1. Set Clear Expectations
Everyone has a different idea of what doing something “quickly” or “well” means. Whether showing examples of what you expect to be done, calendar sharing, etc., make sure you have clear expectations from those you work with online. The more prepared they are, the better they can serve.
2. Engage Regularly
Engage your remote workers on a daily basis through some kind of communication. Use multiple channels to communicate. Then, plan a regularly scheduled virtual face-to-face meeting. This can be weekly or bi-weekly and could be combined with a training or coaching program. This constant interaction and engagement will help remote workers feel included.
3. Schedule Video-Based Coaching and Feedback
It’s incumbent on employers, especially with virtual employees, to make time to truly engage. Use Zoom, Skype or GoToMeeting to work with your clients and your employees. If you do not schedule time to talk (hopefully face to face), silence becomes very loud and dangerous, as remote employees might end up wondering how they’re doing.
4. Trust Your Team
Sometimes, companies struggle with uncertainty about whether or not the work will be completed at the same level as if they were in the office. To balance oversight with a trusting relationship, set up work-from-home guidelines, such as responding to emails within 24 hours, using text for urgent matters, and mandating no calls between certain hours to make sure teammates are not working around the clock.
5. Have Reliable Tools First
If remote employees can’t download files, struggle to hear on a conference call, and consistently receive meeting invitations for times when they are still asleep, you have failed to address the basics.
First, invest in reliable tools to make collaboration possible. Then develop clear processes to use such tools.
6. Stay Focused on Goals, Not Activity
It is important to manage expectations and stay focused on goals when managing a remote workforce. Don’t worry as much about what is being done. Instead, concentrate on what is being accomplished. If we are meeting our goals, then great. If not, we need to investigate the situation further. It is all about accomplishment, not activity.
7. Be Intentional
Create a remote workforce atmosphere of engagement and genuine connection. Be intentional in preparing and orientating employees for the remote workforce culture. Make each team meeting count and create opportunities to engage and contribute in a variety of ways. Intentionality is an essential practice, particularly when we cannot readily “see” our people.
8. Create A Communication Strategy
Managing a productive team remotely begins with a strategy for communication. First, arrange for the appropriate number of weekly formal “report-ins.” Second, set guidelines about daily needs. Some people work better with a shopping list of questions and thoughts while others are happy to manage multiple contacts and questions throughout the day. An understanding of what is urgent will further mitigate inefficiency, allowing ultimate productivity.
9. Avoid Multi-Tasking on Conference Calls
To keep employees focused, use video conferences instead of phone conferences. Encourage people to stay in working mode and off email for the duration of the call. Further, email trails with an extensive “reply all” list can be stifling on productivity, even if it seems easier than a virtual meeting or phone call. This tends to peak on Fridays as people are trying to move work off their plate. Send a note to whoever needs it but send it early in the day.
10. Use Technology to Foster Community
Fostering community is an important element of an engaged remote workforce. Use technology to create dedicated spaces for celebrating special days (e.g. birthdays), company milestones (e.g., months or years of service), as well as community recognition. Being intentional about creating community helps develop a corporate culture that inspires connection, which can result in increased productivity.
Tips for Working at Home
Ideas and Free Educational Materials for Kids at Home:
Scholastic’s Free Learn at Home Program – https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
Free Resources for Education & Entertainment & Exercise