Small Business Assistance

To assist businesses, the City of Brentwood Economic Development Division is providing free business counseling and referrals to regional, State and Federal resources such layoff aversion and disaster assistance programs.  There is help currently available and with more business aid coming in the near future through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, otherwise known as the “CARES Act”.  City Economic Development staff can help businesses to understand the State and Federal Resources available to them.  Businesses with questions, concerns or to request business assistance and resources can contact the City’s Economic Development Division at EconomicDevelopment@brentwoodca.gov or leave a voicemail at 925-516-5440.

 

Business Regulations and Employee Safety Information

Contra Costa County Health Services has provided information and guidance relating to Essential and Non-Essential business activities, in addition to guidance and compliance information for employee and customer safety for the operation of Essential businesses.  Contra Costa County Health Services has established a webpage at https://www.coronavirus.cchealth.org/ with additional information.  The City of Brentwood requests all businesses follow the County’s Health Order.

Resources for Business to Avoid Layoffs and Employee Job Losses

Various resources and programs are available to assist employers retain their employees, offset employee’s lost work hours and lost pay.

Contra Costa County Workforce Development Board provides services to companies undergoing downsizing, which may include on-site assessment of needed employment and training and access to state and economic assistance. Contact the Workforce Development Board at wdb@ehsd.cccounty.us and by phone at 925-671-4560.

Workers who have lost their jobs or have had their hours reduced due to the impacts of COVID-19 may be eligible for financial support from the benefit programs of the California Employment Development Department (EDD). 

Work Sharing is a State program available to employers who reduce employee wages and hours as an alternative to layoffs. The Work Sharing Unemployment Insurance program allows for the payment of benefits to individuals whose wages and hours have been reduced.  Minimum requirements include businesses with two (2) full time employees impacted by a reduction of work hours of 10% or more.

 

Unemployment Insurance (UI) is an employer/employee paid program that provides partial income replacement when you become unemployed or have your hours reduced.  UI can be for a temporary layoff or for a reduction in hours.  Employees may be rehired once business operations resume.

With passage of the CARES Act, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is created for those not traditionally covered by unemployment insurance (UI), including the self-employed, independent contractors, or those with limited work history.  An additional $600 per week will be provided to recipients of UI and PUA for up to 4 months.  In addition, up to 13 additional weeks of UI will be provided following expiration of State UI benefits. UI/PUA Benefits do not have a waiting period for employees to apply.

Eligible workers that become ill or were medically quarantined due to COVID-19 may file a Disability Insurance Claim (DI) with the State of California.

Eligible workers caring for immediate family members whom became ill or were medically quarantined due to COVID-19 may file a claim for Paid Family Leave (PFL) with the State of California.

With passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, otherwise known as the “CARES Act”, the Federal government is providing business aid and relief through various programs.  The City of Brentwood recommends impacted businesses consider any of the following stimulus package benefits:

  • Impacted businesses should contact their existing lenders to discuss CARES Act related relief.
  • Impacted businesses should contact their insurer’s to inquire about whether their insurance policies carry business interruption coverage.

Small Business Loans:

Provides small business loans for responding to disasters including COVID-19. Loans are up to $2M at a loan term of up to 30 years.  Interest Rates are 3.75% for small business and (2.75% for non-profits).  The first month’s payments are deferred a full year from the date of origination.  EIDLS can be approved by the SBA based solely on an applicant’s credit score with loans of $200,000 or under with no required personal guarantee. 

Emergency Cash Grants:

Borrowers can receive up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) in an emergency grant cash advance that can be forgiven if spent on paid leave, maintaining payroll, increased costs due to supply chain disruption, mortgage or lease payments or repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue loss. There are no loan fees, guarantee fees or prepayment fees. Businesses must have been operating by January 31, 2020 in order to qualify.

Apply online at https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance.  Apply for Economic Injury for the Coronavirus loan program.

The Paycheck Protection Program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll by providing each small business a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses. If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.  Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable in certain circumstances. 

Includes independent contractors, sole proprietors and the self-employed.  Entities must have been operational by 2/15/20; had payroll and paid taxes.  The maximum interest rate under this program is 4% with loan terms up to 10 years.  No personal guarantee or collateral is required for the loan.  Payments are deferred up to 6 to 12 months. Banks and lending institutions handling SBA and small business commercial loan products may will be offering SBA 7a/PPP loans to interested businesses. 

Forgiveness on a covered loan is equal to the sum of the following payroll costs incurred during the covered 8 week period compared to the previous year or time period, proportionate to maintaining employees and wages (excluding compensation over $100,000.  You must apply through your lender for forgiveness on your loan.

Any loan amounts not forgiven are carried forward as an ongoing loan with max terms of 10 years, at a maximum interest rate of 4%. Principal and interest will continue to be deferred, for a total of 6 months to a year after disbursement of the loan.

Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Contra Costa County

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has a list of resources and program requirements for SBA loans and programs.  More information can be found at:

https://www.contracostasbdc.org/covid-19

 

Tax Programs and Benefits for Business:

  • California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) offers tax relief and extensions.

https://www.cdtfa.ca.gov/services/covid19.htm

  • 50% refundable payroll tax credit during COVID-19 crisis for businesses that either fully or partially shut down OR have a 50% decrease in receipts versus the same quarter in the previous year and continue to pay employees.
  • Payroll tax deferred, payments to be spread over 2 years, payroll tax holiday. This would give you the option to defer payment of the employer share of Social Security taxes for the period beginning on the date of the enactment of the Act and ending before January 1, 2021. The deferred amounts would then be 50% due by December 31, 2021, and the remaining amount by December 31, 2022.