Business & Workforce Resources
COVID-19 Situational Awareness Resources
- Georgia Dept. of Public Health Guidance for Businesses and Employers: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-businesses-and-employers
- Georgia Dept. of Public Health Guidance for Long-Term Care Facilities: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-long-term-care-facilities
- CDC Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Guidance: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/ppe-strategy/index.html
- Guidance for First Responders: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/first-responders.html
- EPA Disinfectant Guidance: https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/disinfectant-use-and-coronavirus-covid-19
Got Questions? Athens Business Support Email at BusinessSupport@accgov.com
The ACCGov Economic Development Department is partnering with other local entities on a business support email hotline at BusinessSupport@accgov.com to answer your questions and share info with local businesses.
If you have questions related to coronavirus concerns for your business or seeking help with business / workforce / non-profit resources and opportunities, send an email to BusinessSupport@accgov.com and have your questions answered by ACCGov Economic Development or a local partner organization.
Community partners that will help answer questions include the Athens-Clarke Economic Development Department; the Athens Area Chamber of Commerce; Blasingame, Burch, Garrard and Ashley; Fortson, Bentley and Griffin; UGA Small Business Development Center - Athens Center; and the Athens Downtown Development Authority.
In addition to providing direct responses to questions, ACCGov will post answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on the ACCGov Business & Workforce Resources web page.
IRS: Employee Retention Tax Credit
The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50% of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021.
Eligible employers can get immediate access to the credit by reducing employment tax deposits they are otherwise required to make. Also, if the employer’s employment tax deposits are not sufficient to cover the credit, the employer may get an advance payment from the IRS.
For each employee, wages (including certain health plan costs) up to $10,000 can be counted to determine the amount of the 50% credit. Because this credit can apply to wages already paid after March 12, 2020, many struggling employers can get access to this credit by reducing upcoming deposits or requesting an advance credit on Form 7200, Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID-19.
Employers, including tax-exempt organizations, are eligible for the credit if they operate a trade or business during calendar year 2020 and experience either:
- the full or partial suspension of the operation of their trade or business during any calendar quarter because of governmental orders limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to COVID-19, or
- a significant decline in gross receipts.
For more information, view Frequently Asked Questions and visit: www.irs.gov/coronavirus/employee-retention-credit.
Small Business Information and Resources
Please share this information with your network and neighboring businesses.
Contact Your Lender(s)
- Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Program
- American Bankers Association offers a list of COVD-19 response programs
- Forbes has compiled a list of banks offering deferment and forbearance to small business owners having financial difficulty
- If your bank cannot provide support or if you don’t have a local bank, a collaboration of local organizations (Oconee, Oglethorpe and Athens Area Chambers as well as the NE Ga Business Alliance and Envision Athens) will provide assistance in getting you directly connected to a local lending institution. Take a few minutes to answer questions at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1OrzPCPUmJBLiLW60W_Wxf-1obbq5ruVhqkxqzw8gXCw/edit. These questions are needed before making a connection with a local banker. You may also send an email to NEGaPPPhelp@athensga.com.
Federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans
If your Athens-Clarke County business has suffered substantial economic injury and is one of the following types of businesses, you may be eligible for U.S. Small Business Administration Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL):
- Small Business
- Small agricultural cooperative
- Most private nonprofit organizations
Overview and how to apply: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/EIDLLoans
Application deadline: December 18, 2020.
Unemployment Claims Information
Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) services & resources are available at dol.georgia.gov/.
GDOL Athens Career Center: Currently closed to the public to protect its employees and customers. The center remains open for GDOL employees to ensure support for customer needs and to continue processing unemployment claims.
Employers are mandated by the state to electronically file partial claims on behalf of your employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily lay workers off, including reducing their work hours or temporarily closing due to COVID-19. Filing partial claims results in your employees receiving unemployment insurance benefit payments faster, usually within 48 hours for claims filed electronically.
All Georgia employers share in the cost of the unemployment benefits paid to employees temporarily displaced due to COVID-19. If you do not electronically file partial claims on behalf of your employees, however, your business will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of the unemployment benefits paid to your employee(s).
- Go to: https://dol.georgia.gov/blog/new-information-filing-unemployment-partial-claims-and-reemployment-services
- Click on “How Employers File Partial Claims,” and follow the instructions.
Your Employer May Be Filing Your Claim For You
- The Georgia Department of Labor currently requires employers to file partial claims online on behalf of their employees. These claims will be for any week during which an employee worked less than his or her regular full-time or part-time schedule due to a partial or total company shutdown caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- If your employer is filing a partial claim, you do not need to file. Talk to your employer. Tell your employer whether or not you want taxes withheld. If you have taxes withheld, GDOL with withhold 10% for federal taxes and 6% for state taxes.
- Unemployment benefits are paid on a weekly basis. Payments will be released within 24 hours after your employer files a partial claim on your behalf.
- If you file your own claim, your payments will be released once a written determination to allow benefits is released.
You do not have to go to the Department of Labor
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has temporarily suspended in-person requirements for services provided by the agency. GDOL is providing online access to unemployment services at dol.georgia.gov/.
Please remember, your claim may be delayed due to overwhelming requests for service due to COVID-19.
- If you are sent home due to lack of work because of COVID-19 and you are not getting paid for time off you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
- If your employer is filing partial claims for you, you do not need to file.
- If you quit your job or voluntarily choose to stay out of work due to COVID-9, you must file your own claim. GDOL will review your claim and determine eligibility.
- If both you and your employer filed a claim, contact the local career center at dol.georgia.gov.
- Unemployment payments will be made by direct deposit or Georgia UI Way2Go Debit Mastercard.
- Extended unemployment benefits are not available at this time.
- If you chose to not work due to fear of exposure to COVID-19, GDOL will determine eligibility on a case by case basis.
How to File an Unemployment Claim
Gather your information
- You will need:
- Social security number
- Georgia Driver’s License if you have one
- Bank’s routing and account number (if you want to receive your benefit payments via direct deposit)
- Work history information for the last 18 months
File your claim online
- Go to https://dol.georgia.gov/.
- Select the link labeled “Apply for Unemployment Benefits”.
- Answer the questions completely. Report gross wages and any leave pay as earnings for each week claimed for benefits.
- Download the “Claimant Handbook” and read it. This handbook has a section called “next steps” that you will need to follow to submit your claim.
- Record your confirmation number. A confirmation email is sent to the email address that you provide.
- If you do not receive a confirmation number, the application was not successfully submitted. Log in again within 24 hours and make sure you select FINISH to receive a confirmation number. An incomplete application is only kept on the system for 24 hours. If you do not submit it, you will have to start over.
What do I do after I file?
- Request your weekly benefit payment every week at https://dol.georgia.gov/.
- On the first Sunday after filling your claim login and select “Claim Weekly UI Benefits Payments” on the GDOL home page.
- Monitor your voicemail and email. GDOL will contact you if they require additional information.
- Respond immediately to all requests for additional information.
- You will not have to report to a career center.
- If you have claimed a week of benefits and have not received your written “Claims Examiner’s Determination” within 21 days of the filed date, you may call UI Customer Service at 404.232.3001 (in Metro Atlanta) or 1.877.709.8185 (in all other areas).
- For additional information or to submit a claim, please visit https://dol.georgia.gov/.
The Department of Labor will allow you to file a claim and get information by phone, although you may experience long wait times. Call the Athens DOL Career Center at (706) 583-2550.
Athens-Clarke County Unified Government Business Support
Athens-Clarke County Department of Economic Development is available remotely via phone, email, and video conferencing to assist with your business needs and help direct you to available resources.
The Mayor & Commission voted on March 19 to utilize the remaining $3 million from the county’s “prosperity package” passed as part of the 2020 budget to financial assistance for laid-off workers, small businesses, and nonprofits.