December 28, 2020

$500 Million California Small Business Relief Program

The California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) announced the launch of their website for the $500 million California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program.

The website can be found here: https://careliefgrant.com and will provide information such as eligibility requirements and documents to prepare for the application.

Please note that applications for round 1 of this program will open on Wednesday, December 30th 2020. CalOSBA launched this website to assist businesses in their preparation for applying for this grant program, Applications for round 1 will close at end of day on Friday, January 8th 2021.

There will be a round 2 of funding announced in the future, and we will provide that information when it becomes available.

Can Employers Make COVID-19 Vaccination Mandatory?

Article by the Associated Press

Yes, with some exceptions.

Experts say employers can require employees to take safety measures, including vaccination. That doesn’t necessarily mean you would get fired if you refuse, but you might need to sign a waiver or agree to work under specific conditions to limit any risk you might pose to yourself or others.

“Employers generally have wide scope” to make rules for the workplace, said Dorit Reiss, a law professor who specializes in vaccine policies at the University of California Hastings College of the Law. “It’s their business.”

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has allowed companies to mandate the flu and other vaccines, and has also indicated they can require COVID-19 vaccines.

There are exceptions; for example, people can request exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

And even though employers can require vaccinations, there are reasons they might not want to.

Tracking compliance with mandatory vaccination would be an administrative burden, said Michelle S. Strowhiro, an employment adviser and lawyer at McDermott Will & Emery. Employers would also have to manage exemption requests — not to mention legal claims that might arise.

As a result, many employers will likely strongly encourage vaccination without requiring it, Strowhiro said.

2021 IRS Mileage Rates

Article by Matthew J. Roberts, Employment Law Counsel

On December 22, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued the 2021 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

Beginning January 1, 2021, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 56 cents per mile for business miles driven (down a one-and-a-half cents from the 2020 rate)
  • 16 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes for qualified active duty members of the Armed Forces (down one cent from the 2020 rate)
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations (same as 2020)

The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile, including depreciation, insurance, repairs, tires, maintenance, gas and oil. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs, such as gas and oil. The charitable rate is set by law.

Under California Labor Code section 2802, employers must fully reimburse employees for all expenses actually and necessarily incurred. This includes reimbursing employees for the required usage of their personal vehicle. However, expense reimbursement for personal vehicle use is not limited to just gas, but also wear and tear, repair, oil, insurance, and other costs associated with the use and maintenance of the vehicle.

Both the California courts and the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) have stated that using the IRS mileage rate will generally satisfy an employer’s obligation to reimburse for business-related personal vehicle expenses, absent evidence to the contrary. If an employee can show that the chosen mileage reimbursement rate, even the IRS rate, does not cover all actual expenses the employee has incurred, the employer must pay the difference.

As part of their January 1 compliance plan, employers should ensure that their expense reimbursement policies are up-to-date to reflect the new, lower IRS mileage rate.

Matthew J. Roberts, Employment Law Counsel/Subject Matter Expert

Downtown Improvement Incentive Program

December 21, 2020

Chambers Play a Key Role in Reducing Food Delivery Fees

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce along with 16 other Chambers of Commerce in the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition played a key role in getting the County Supervisors to consider and pass a temporary emergency ordinance placing a cap on food delivery fees from third party delivery services such as Uber Eats, DoorDash and others. The Chambers introduced the concept to the Supervisors and rallied restaurateurs, residents, and others to lobby the County to pass this much needed ordinance. This is a big win for local restaurants struggling to survive.

San Jose, Santa Clara County Put Pandemic-Influenced Cap on Food Deliver Fees
Article by J. Jennings Moss, Silicon Valley Business Journal

The region’s two biggest governmental bodies — the San Jose City Council and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors — passed measures Tuesday to temporarily put a cap on delivery fees from food delivered through DoorDash, Uber Eats and other app-based services.

In both cases, fees charged by third-party delivery services will be capped at 15% of the purchase price of an order. Most of these outside services typically charge as much as a 30% fee that restaurants, which have been economically devastated because of Covid-19 restrictions, have to pay.

“Many of these businesses rely on third-party delivery vendors such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub to meet their business’s delivery needs,” County Supervisor Joe Simitian said in a release following the vote. “While delivery vendors provide an important service, and are certainly within their rights to charge for such services, the current pandemic unfortunately creates opportunity for price gouging. That’s the problem we’re tackling.”

Both the Board of Supervisors and the San Jose City Council passed their respective measures through unanimous votes during each body’s regular Tuesday meetings.

They join other local governments — the cities of Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Francisco and Oakland as well as Alameda and San Mateo counties — in putting limits on delivery fees charged to restaurants.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who proposed the city’s cap along with Councilmember Lan Diep, said in a statement that officials had worked out a deal with delivery-app companies. “I am grateful that we could reach a compromise with food delivery companies services like DoorDash as they provide a lifeline to our local small businesses,” he said.

San Francisco-based DoorDash did not put out an immediate comment about Tuesday’s votes. In the past, the company defended its pricing model and said it has always supported restaurants.

“Pricing regulations could cause us to increase costs for customers, which could lead to fewer orders for local restaurants and fewer earning opportunities for Dashers,” a company spokesperson told the Business Journal last week in a statement. “Pricing regulations can also remove options available to restaurants by limiting their ability to opt-in to additional services to help their business. We remain focused on solutions that better support restaurants, customers, and Dashers.”

While both San Jose and Santa Clara County approved the fee caps, there are differences in the two measures:

  • Takeout fees: Food ordered through delivery apps has the option for someone to pick up the order, in which case the companies typically charge restaurants a 15% fee for facilitating the transaction. Santa Clara County caps this fee at 10% of an order while San Jose’s proposal did not include any language focused on pickup orders.
  • Total fees on restaurants: The San Jose measure includes language that says third-party delivery companies cannot charge a restaurant a total fee for all its services more than 18% of the price of an online order. The Santa Clara measure sets no similar fee cap.
  • Expiration: In San Jose, the cap will remain in effect until June 30, when the city may choose to extend or suspend the fee cap based on the Covid-19 impact at the time. Santa Clara County’s cap puts no specific date on the calendar, but does say it will last until the county’s public health emergency order is lifted or until all restaurants open up 100% for indoor dining.

One area both measures included dealt with delivery drivers: DoorDash, Uber Eats and other third-party companies aren’t allowed to reduce drivers’ compensation or claw back tips because of the reduced fees on restaurants.

Christopher High Senior Catalogues Veterans Buried at Gavilan Hills Cemetery

Article by Eric Chalhoub, Gilroy Dispatch

NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN Danielle Russell and Mark Turner view a map of Gavilan Hills Memorial Park while standing near the grave of Jasper Manley, a Civil War veteran who served in the Navy. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

Give Danielle Russell the name of any fallen Gilroy soldier, from the Civil War to present, and she can not only pinpoint the location of their grave at Gavilan Hills Memorial Park, but she can also share their personal stories, many of which have been lost to time.

The Christopher High School senior has spent hundreds of hours over the past two years cataloguing every veteran who is buried at the cemetery, recreating decades-old maps that she said were plagued with misspellings and wrong names.

Through the painstaking process, which involved tracking down relatives, service records and other historical documents, Russell discovered there are more veterans buried at Gavilan Hills than what was previously known, especially from the Civil War era.

Thanks to her efforts, more wreaths than ever before will be placed at the cemetery during the annual Wreaths Across America this week.

Wreaths Across America, which began in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, has expanded to include wreath-laying ceremonies at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.

Russell’s passion for history was sparked in elementary school, when one of her teachers suggested she read the “Dear America” book series.

She was hooked.

In seventh grade, she received an assignment from a teacher to research her family history up to her great-grandparents. However, Russell took it much further.

“I already know my great-grandparents,” she said. “I said, ’this is not enough for me.’ I got all the way back to 1475.”

At the age of 16, Russell applied with the City of Gilroy for its historian position, but was turned down because of her young age. She is now the resident historian for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6309.

After graduating from Christopher High, Russell plans to attend Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, where she will study American history and archival studies.

She said there have been more than 50 relatives in her family that have served in wars throughout history.

“The amount of them that died without wives or children and just were forgotten, it’s really hard,” Russell said. “I don’t like that feeling of knowing that they’ve been lost. I don’t want anyone else to be lost.”

That is what drives her to catalogue the veterans at Gavilan Hills.

“It makes me feel good to know that they will not be forgotten like my family members have been,” she said. “I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing this for my family.”

Wreaths Across America organizer Mark Turner said Russell’s efforts perfectly align with the organization’s principles of “remember, honor and teach.”

“It’s so invaluable,” he said. “This has a really far-reaching impact on so many different organizations who work with veterans groups and honor our past veterans.”

The Gilroy Foundation will also facilitate financial donations that will go toward repairing headstones and purchasing medallions to mark the graves of buried veterans. A donation button will be added to the foundation’s website at gilroyfoundation.org, or donors can mail checks to the Gilroy Foundation at PO Box 774, Gilroy, California, 95021.

Russell frequently posts photos and stories of veterans that she has gathered from her research. For information, visit honoringourheroes.wixsite.com/foreverhonoring and instagram.com/honoring_our_heroes_ca.

California May Be Losing Its Business Mojo

Article by Dan Walters, CalMatters

The timing could not have been more ironic.

As veteran Democratic operative Dee Dee Myers — she was Bill Clinton’s press secretary at one point in her lengthy career — became Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new ambassador to business this month, three of California’s biggest and best known corporate entities announced moves to arch-rival Texas.

The splashiest émigré is Elon Musk, founder of the Tesla electric car company and other high-technology firms, who had already chosen Texas for expansions of his automobile and space businesses.

Musk revealed his personal move at a business conference and compared California to a sports team with a long winning streak, saying, “they do tend to get a little complacent, a little entitled, and then they don’t win the championship anymore.” California, he said, “has been winning for a long time. And I think they’re taking them for granted a little bit.”

Very quickly, two other stalwarts of the San Francisco Bay Area’s high-tech community also announced departures to Texas, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co. and software giant Oracle.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is building a “state-of-the-art” campus near Houston for 2,600 workers and said, “HPE’s largest U.S. employment hub, Houston, is an attractive market to recruit and retain future diverse talent.”

Oracle, which is moving its headquarters to Austin, said, “We believe these moves best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work.”

The three announcements — and Musk’s comments especially — renew a question that has hovered over California for several years: Do the state’s high taxes, high operating and living costs and a political drift to the left make it hostile to business? And, parenthetically, does Texas, which has no personal income tax and is a reliably conservative, pro-business state, benefit from that perceived hostility?

“Anyone who doesn’t believe that this latest departure isn’t a threat to California’s economy is a business climate denier,” Jim Wunderman, president and CEO of the Bay Area Council, said in a statement. “We are watching the unraveling on one of the world’s mightiest economies and the consequences will be devastating. California for too long has willfully ignored our awful business climate, even as we’ve enjoyed incredible success and prosperity.”

Wunderman added, “We can’t afford to dither any longer or California will permanently lose hundreds of thousands if not millions of jobs to states like Texas that place value on business and investment.”

Clearly the COVID-19 pandemic has had an effect on corporate attitudes. Many employers are now embracing work-at-home arrangements that make physical location less important and the Bay Area has been seeing an outward migration to communities, such as Sacramento, with less congestion and lower housing costs as a result. In that sense, moving headquarters staff to low-cost Texas buys more bang for the buck and makes perfect sense.

But there are other recent developments that may have a cumulative effect. They include state legislators’ calls for higher personal and corporate taxes, political efforts to help unions organize workers in the high-tech sector, legislation to dictate corporate board memberships, and direct slaps such as San Francisco’s new tax on corporations whose chief executives are paid over 100 times more than their rank-and-file workers.

We may have reached a tipping point in which the disadvantages of doing business in California outweigh the advantages. We should remember what happened to Detroit, which was the Silicon Valley of its day a century ago, but took its prosperity for granted and paid a heavy financial and social price for its complacency.

Good luck, Dee Dee. You’ll need it.

Downtown Improvement Incentive Program

December 14, 2020

Your Voice Was Heard

Your Voice Was Heard… Thank You For Speaking Up

On behalf of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, thank you to our members and residents for signing onto the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition’s advocacy campaign to support a $100 million small business financial aid package to be sponsored by Santa Clara County. There was a very real possibility that the small business package could have failed, due to stiff opposition from the County Administration.

Thanks to over 800 letters of support and numerous organizations backing the program, the County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to expedite an initial small business relief package by January 12th.

Here’s a recap of the vote:

  1. The Board of Supervisors directed County Administration to invest $6 million into the California Rebuilding Fund and return with a contract for a Board vote by January 12th. The intention is to leverage the public-private partnership – that drives capital from private, philanthropic and public sector resources.
  2. The Board directed administration to identify $19 million for a second round of small business loans through the 2021-2022 fiscal year budget process and return to the Board with a detailed report by February 9th.
  3. The two financial investments would be able to leverage private and public resources to generate up to $100 million for a low-interest small business loan program.
  4. Create an outreach plan for micro-businesses and historically underbanked communities (particularly women-owned and minority-owned small businesses).

While the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition pushed hard for a cash grant program, the Board of Supervisors only voted to explore a small business loan program at this time. We will continue to push for more cash grants because we have been hearing from small businesses that, unless we find a way to safely reopen the economy soon, grants will have the most impact to facilitate economic recovery during this lockdown.

The Coalition has also been pushing for a temporary emergency ordinance to cap the food delivery fees charged to restaurants by Uber Eats, DoorDash and others. Due to the Coalition’s efforts, the County Board of Supervisor’s have taken the following steps:

  • The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors unanimously voted last Tuesday to expedite a draft of an emergency ordinance so it could approve and immediately implement the cap at its next meeting on December 15, instead of waiting until January 12 as originally proposed.
  • The Supervisors called for the ordinance to examine capping both delivery fees and non-delivery fees for the duration of the shelter orders.
  • They also emphasized that the proposed ordinance needed to protect gig workers and drivers for the third-party delivery companies by prohibiting wages or tips being cut by the parent company.
  • The Coalition is working with the County to provide data for the ordinance. Next step is the vote next Tuesday.

The Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition is made up of 18 Chambers of Commerce in and around Silicon Valley. Their goal is to address regional issues affecting the businesses and residents of Santa Clara County such as, education, land use, transportation, housing, and regulatory issues. Mark Turner, President/CEO of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, Chairs the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition.

Modified Wreath Laying Event Saturday, December 19

The Wreaths Across America event scheduled for Saturday, December 19 at 9:00 a.m. will have a different look this year. While the event is still scheduled, there will be no music and ceremonial speeches. Considering the COVID restrictions in place, volunteers will be allowed to place wreaths at pre-marked gravesites with no other events or activities planned. All volunteers who participate will be required to wear a mask and socially distance from other volunteers (except for immediate family members).

“As much as we would have liked to do the full blown event with speeches and all, the ultimate goal of this event is to honor our Veterans who are buried in Gilroy and Morgan Hill by placing a wreath of remembrance at their gravesite,” said Mark Turner, one of the organizers of South County’s Wreaths Across America event. Mark went on to say, “We are grateful to those who contributed to this effort to purchase the nearly 1,300 wreaths needed. To those who donated to help purchase wreaths, whether it was $15 or $1,500, and everybody in between, we could not do this without you.”

The Gilroy wreath laying event begins at Gavilan Hills Cemetery located on First Street beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 19. After instructions are provided, some volunteers will be led to St. Mary Cemetery to place wreaths there as well.

In Morgan Hill, the wreath laying event begins at 9:00 a.m. at Mt. Hope Cemetery on Spring Avenue. Special thanks to Larry W. Carr and the Knights of Columbus for their ongoing effort to manage the Morgan Hill event.

Gilroy Chamber Members See Big Savings on Health Benefits

Gilroy Chamber of Commerce members and their employees have access to unique healthcare options customized to be both affordable and accessible. The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is offering a low-cost health benefits program that employers, employees, and Gilroy residents can join.

Businesses can offer this plan to their employees at no cost to the employer. Employers can pay for a portion of the benefits if they choose, but it is not required. The health benefit opportunity being offered is ACA compliant and provides 3 minimum essential coverage plans which have all the preventative services included as well as dental and vision for children.

“In light of the difficult financial challenges residents, businesses and employees are facing,” said Scott Winant, Chair of the Gilroy Chamber, “it’s good to have options that can provide a savings to one’s budget.”

Here’s what members are saying:

“I started investigating CHCCHealth.net when my husband and I were coming off COBRA. I compared it to what we could get in the marketplace, and even with buying the most expensive (CHCC) plan, we saved $500 compared to the least expensive HMO in the marketplace – and we still get to keep all our private doctors! This is a 40% savings off the marketplace price, and a $750 savings on what we were paying for COBRA.” – Karyn Corbett, Gilroy Chamber Member

“I joined the plan being offered through the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce / California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and am now paying $425 per month. Prior to joining this plan, I was paying $1,038 per month for Blue Cross Anthem.” – Lisa Blagof, Realtor and Gilroy Chamber Member.

Costs and outcomes vary depending on individuals’/families’ needs and available plans. To learn more go to: https://www.gilroy.org/garliccityhealthcare/

Don’t Spend It All in One Place

Companies draw less than $100 from PPP
Article by Mark Mensheha, The National Observer

Aundrea Lacy thought it was the weirdest thing when she got approved for an $18 Paycheck Protection Program loan — not even enough to cover a tank of gas.

Lacy called Wells Fargo & Co. to investigate, and a bank representative told her: “I don’t know what happened, but I’ve seen less.” She took the money, nonetheless, and spent it on goods for her online bakery business, Luv’s Brownies, which she has owned and operated since 1996. Lacy said she has since paid the entire sum back to the government. Her repayment plan was calculated at 56 cents a month.

It’s hard to imagine getting a loan for $18 or less from a government-backed, $659 billion program, which was aimed to cushion the financial hardships of small businesses because of the pandemic. But a handful of small businesses, mainly sole proprietorships, got approved for less than $10, with two Southern California business owners awarded a PPP loan of just $1, according to government data. Here’s a look at some of their stories.

Moving Vans Lining Up

The article below is another example of businesses both large and small leaving California. In 2018-2019, a time when the economy was as good as ever, 765 businesses left California for greener pastures. According to Spectrum Location Services, between 2009-2016, more than 18,000 businesses left California for more tax and regulatory friendly states. The dam is beginning to break and the exodus of businesses leaving California is a real threat to California’s economic recovery. A bailout by the Federal Government is not a strategy for success. The Governor and State Legislators need to see this for the problem that it is and begin to develop a plan for easing taxes and regulations on those businesses who have chosen to invest in California. The question is, will California’s legislators simply turn a blind eye to this exodus and continue to dissuade new entrepreneurs and existing businesses owners/executives by implementing more overburdensome legislation? – Mark Turner, President/CEO, Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

Oracle moving HQ to Texas
Article by Mark Mensheha, Business Journal

Oracle Corp. has joined the ranks of companies moving to Texas from the West Coast. The computer technology company said Friday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it has relocated its corporate headquarters to its office presence in Austin, Texas, where it employs thousands of workers. “Oracle is implementing a more flexible employee work location policy and has changed its Corporate Headquarters from Redwood City, California, to Austin, Texas,” it said in the filing. “We believe these moves best position Oracle for growth and provide our personnel with more flexibility about where and how they work.”

Oracle said as part of this “more modern approach to work,” it will allow a number of employees to choose which office they work in, depending on their job, as well as whether they want to work from home some or all of the time. In addition to Austin and its former headquarters in Redwood City, which is south of San Francisco, Oracle has U.S. offices in Santa Monica, California; Seattle; Denver; Orlando, Florida; and Burlington, Massachusetts.

Oracle’s move follows HPE Inc.’s decision this month to move its headquarters to Houston from San Jose, California. Charles Schwab Corp. and McKesson Corp. also have turned to Texas from California for their headquarters. Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk said last week he was moving to Texas from California.

Also: Credit Karma is moving its San Francisco headquarters to Oakland, California. The move comes in the wake of Intuit Corp. closing its $7.1 billion acquisition of Credit Karma.

Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention Training Information for Employers

Don’t wait… CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRES ACTION BY JANUARY 1, 2021

S.B. 1343 requires that all employers of 5 or more employees provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to non-managerial employees and 2 hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to managerial employees once every two years.

There is no requirement that the 5 employees or contractors work at the same location or that all work or reside in California.

Under the DFEH’s regulations, the definition of “employee” includes full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

By what date must employees be trained?
Both managerial and non-managerial employees must receive training by January 1, 2021. After January 1, 2021, employees must be retrained once every two years.

What if my employees were trained between January 1 and December 31, 2018?
The law requires that employees be trained during calendar year 2019. Employees who were trained in 2018 or before will need to be retrained prior by January 1, 2021.

How can I get training for my employees?
The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce in partnership with CalChamber provides online training courses in English and Spanish. Employees can take their self-paced training from desktops, tablets or cell phones. Members of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce receive a 20% discount on their training courses. To register or get more information, click here and use code GILHPT during checkout or when ordering over the phone.

What are the laws and regulations governing the sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention trainings?
The law requiring sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training is Gov. Code 12950.1. The regulations governing such trainings are 2 CCR 11024.

Who is required to pay for the training? The employer or employee?
California law specifies that, “An employer . . . shall provide” sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training. Gov. Code 12950.1(a)-(b). The Department is authorized to seek a court order that “the employer” has not complied with this requirement. Gov. Code 12950.1(f). This language makes clear that it is the employer’s—not the employee’s—responsibility to provide the required training, including any costs that may be incurred. This language also makes clear that employees may not be required to take such training during their personal time; the training must be “provided” by the employer as part of an individual’s employment.

December 7, 2020

TAKE ACTION: SUPPORT A $100 MILLION RELIEF FUND FOR SMALL BUSINESSES

On Tuesday, December 8, the Santa Clara County Supervisors will be considering two important actions: Capping food delivery fees at 15% and the passing of a $100M financial aid package.

The staff report that was prepared for the $100M small business loan/grant program does not call for immediate relief, nor does it propose new financial solutions from the County.

There is real danger that we may not see either action pass until next January or February!

Your voice will help stress the urgency needed and push for immediate action. You can simply click the link below which will create a standard email for you to send, or email the supervisors directly. Feel free to add your personal story – it really makes a difference.

mike.wasserman@bos.sccgov.org
dave.cortese@bos.sccgov.org
supervisor.ellenberg@bos.sccgov.org
supervisor.simitian@bos.sccgov.org
cindy.chavez@bos.sccgov.org
jeff.smith@ceo.sccgov.org
CBOliaison@eoc.sccgov.org

Please join the Silicon Valley Chamber Coalition, a group of 17 Chambers of Commerce in the region, in pushing for this program.

Silicon Valley Black Chamber of Commerce
Campbell Chamber of Commerce
Cupertino Chamber of Commerce
Gilroy Chamber of Commerce
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley
Los Altos Chamber of Commerce
Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce
Milpitas Chamber of Commerce
Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce
Mountain View Chamber of Commerce
Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce
Rainbow Chamber of Commerce
Saratoga Chamber of Commerce
Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce
Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce
Sunnyvale Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce
The Silicon Valley Organization

6 Ways California is Offering Help to Those Impacted By COVID-19

Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday, November 30, that California will offer options that will provide temporary tax relief for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit small businesses significantly this year, presenting challenges to the businesses, employees and owners. According to an August Small Business Majority survey, data found that 44% of small businesses are at risk of shutting down.

To assist those businesses, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday the state will offer temporary tax relief and $500 million in aid to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The governor’s office says the total tax relief, if fully utilized, is estimated to have billions in impact.

As many businesses are struggling to stay afloat after months of restrictions and lower sales because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which in recent weeks has surged to record levels. Newsom says the tax relief and grants are designed to provide aid until the Legislature can meet in the new year and work with him to provide more relief.

“California’s small businesses embody the best of the California Dream and we can’t let this pandemic take that away,” said Governor Newsom. “We have to lead with health to reopen our economy safely and sustainably while doing all we can to keep our small businesses afloat. With this financial assistance and tax relief, California is stepping up where the federal government isn’t. By providing potentially billions in immediate relief and support, our small businesses can weather the next month as we continue partnering with the Legislature to secure additional funding and investments in small businesses in the new year.”

According to a press release from the governor’s office, California is home to 4.1 million small businesses, representing 99.8% of all businesses in the state and employing more than 7 million workers in California, or 48.5% of the state’s total workforce.

Data released through the Census Current Population Survey found that minority-owned businesses are disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of active businesses owned by African-Americans dropped by 41%, Latinx by 32%, Asians by 25%, and immigrants by 36%.

So, what exactly are these tax relief programs?

  1. Billions in Sales Tax Deferrals
    According to Governor Newsom, businesses will receive an automatic 3-month extension for taxpaying owners with less than $1 million in sales tax. Interest-free payment agreements will be expanded to larger companies with up to $5 million in sales tax. These tax deferrals will also expand to industries heavily impacted by coronavirus, including bars, restaurants, hair salons and more.
  2. Emergency Relief Package
    In partnership with the Legislature, California will provide up to $500 million in COVID-19 relief funds. The state will provide $25,000 each in grants to small businesses, non-profits and cultural institutions in need. The program will act as a bridge until California officials can take further actions with the Legislature in January 2021.
  3. CA Rebuilding Fund
    The goal of the CA Rebuilding Fund is to provide $125 million of relief funds with public-private investment for small businesses. It will increase the state funding to $37.5 million total. Applications for the CA Rebuilding Fund opened last weekend, with 86 million already matched. 68% of those funds were matched with diverse owners, 46% with women owners and 50% owned by indigenous and people of color.
  4. $100 Million Main Street Hiring Tax Credit
    The Main Street Hiring Credit authorizes $100 million in hiring tax credit for qualified small businesses. The credit is equal to $1,000 per qualified employee, up to $100,000 for each small business employer. Applications for the Main Street Hiring Credit open Tuesday, December 1. A full list of existing state support for businesses can be found here.
  5. Tax Relief to Encourage Entrepreneurialism
    California will offer $100 million to waive franchise taxes for new businesses in the state and exclude PPP loans from state taxes.
  6. $100 Million for Small Business Support
    $50 million in COVID-19 Disaster Relief Loan guarantees began through an executive order previously this year, which the Legislature has now doubled to $100 million. $24.9 Million has already been approved. 83% of those awarded support were women, minority-owned, low to moderate-income businesses. 217 loans have been approved for the $50 million for small business programs, leveraging a total of $109 million.

Gilroy Chamber Members See Big Savings on Health Benefits

Gilroy Chamber of Commerce members and their employees have access to unique healthcare options customized to be both affordable and accessible. The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is offering a low-cost health benefits program that employers, employees, and Gilroy residents can join.

Businesses can offer this plan to their employees at no cost to the employer. Employers can pay for a portion of the benefits if they choose, but it is not required. The health benefit opportunity being offered is ACA compliant and provides 3 minimum essential coverage plans which have all the preventative services included as well as dental and vision for children.

“In light of the difficult financial challenges residents, businesses and employees are facing,” said Scott Winant, Chair of the Gilroy Chamber, “it’s good to have options that can provide a savings to one’s budget.”

Here’s what members are saying:

“I started investigating CHCCHealth.net when my husband and I were coming off COBRA. I compared it to what we could get in the marketplace, and even with buying the most expensive (CHCC) plan, we saved $500 compared to the least expensive HMO in the marketplace – and we still get to keep all our private doctors! This is a 40% savings off the marketplace price, and a $750 savings on what we were paying for COBRA.” – Karyn Corbett, Gilroy Chamber Member

“I joined the plan being offered through the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce / California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and am now paying $425 per month. Prior to joining this plan, I was paying $1,038 per month for Blue Cross Anthem.” – Lisa Blagof, Realtor and Gilroy Chamber Member.

Costs and outcomes vary depending on individuals’/families’ needs and available plans. To learn more go to: https://www.gilroy.org/garliccityhealthcare/

California Offering Temporary Tax Relief, Grants for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

By CalChamber

California will be offering a number of relief options for businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday.

The state is creating a $500 million COVID-19 relief grant program, and a temporary tax relief program which, if fully utilized, is estimated to have billions in impact. Additionally, the state will expand the California Rebuilding Fund by $12.5 million, bringing the program’s total investment to $37.5 million.

These efforts are informed by recommendations made by the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery.

“California’s small businesses embody the best of the California Dream and we can’t let this pandemic take that away,” Governor Newsom said. “We have to lead with health to reopen our economy safely and sustainably while doing all we can to keep our small businesses afloat. With this financial assistance and tax relief, California is stepping up where the federal government isn’t. By providing potentially billions in immediate relief and support, our small businesses can weather the next month as we continue partnering with the Legislature to secure additional funding and investments in small businesses in the new year.”

New COVID Relief Grant for Small Business

The California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) will be administering the $500 million COVID Relief Grant at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, and health and safety restrictions.

Funds will be awarded to selected intermediaries with established networks of Community Development Financial Institutions to distribute relief through grants of up to $25,000 to underserved micro and small businesses throughout the state by early 2021. Non-profits would also be eligible for these grants.

CalOSBA is establishing the program and will make it available to small businesses as soon as possible—for updates on availability visit https://business.ca.gov/

Tax Relief Program

In April 2020, the Governor, through Executive Order, allowed taxpayers to apply for penalty and interest relief for 90 days for any taxpayer reporting less than $1 million in sales on their tax return. Through November 22, some 9,287 plans with almost $149 million in tax relief have taken advantage of this program.

The Governor will direct the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration to do the following:

Provide an automatic three-month extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax on the return and extend the availability of existing interest- and penalty-free payment agreements to companies (with up to $5 million in taxable sales);

Expand interest-free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions; and

Broaden opportunities for more businesses to enter into interest-free payment arrangements.

California Rebuilding Fund

Lastly, the state is providing an additional $12.5 million to the California Rebuilding Fund, which helps impacted small businesses rebuild from the economic crisis and keep local economies strong. This program is built to be a resource in the market for the next year as businesses pivot and recover.

The additional funding will help the third party administrator of the fund raise $125 million to make more low-interest loans to small businesses with less access to loans from traditional banking institutions.

$500 Million for New COVID Relief Grant for Small Business
The Governor announced the creation of a $500 million COVID Relief Grant administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID and the health and safety restrictions. Funds would be awarded to selected intermediaries with established networks of Community Development Financial Institutions to distribute relief through grants of up to $25,000 to underserved micro and small businesses throughout the state by early 2021. Non-profits would also be eligible for these grants. CalOSBA is establishing the program and will make it available to small businesses as soon as possible.

Sign up here for grant updates.

 

Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention Training Information for Employers

Don’t wait… CALIFORNIA LAW REQUIRES ACTION BY JANUARY 1, 2021

S.B. 1343 requires that all employers of 5 or more employees provide 1 hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to non-managerial employees and 2 hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to managerial employees once every two years.

There is no requirement that the 5 employees or contractors work at the same location or that all work or reside in California.

Under the DFEH’s regulations, the definition of “employee” includes full-time, part-time, and temporary employees.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

By what date must employees be trained?
Both managerial and non-managerial employees must receive training by January 1, 2020. After January 1, 2020, employees must be retrained once every two years.

What if my employees were trained between January 1 and December 31, 2018?
The law requires that employees be trained during calendar year 2019. Employees who were trained in 2018 or before will need to be retrained prior by January 1, 2021.

How can I get training for my employees?
The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce in partnership with CalChamber provides online training courses in English and Spanish. Employees can take their self-paced training from desktops, tablets or cell phones. Members of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce receive a 20% discount on their training courses. To register or get more information, click here and use code GILHPT during checkout or when ordering over the phone.

What are the laws and regulations governing the sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention trainings?
The law requiring sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training is Gov. Code 12950.1. The regulations governing such trainings are 2 CCR 11024.

Who is required to pay for the training? The employer or employee?
California law specifies that, “An employer . . . shall provide” sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training. Gov. Code 12950.1(a)-(b). The Department is authorized to seek a court order that “the employer” has not complied with this requirement. Gov. Code 12950.1(f). This language makes clear that it is the employer’s—not the employee’s—responsibility to provide the required training, including any costs that may be incurred. This language also makes clear that employees may not be required to take such training during their personal time; the training must be “provided” by the employer as part of an individual’s employment.