Self-employment benefits, volunteer opportunities and a Zoom update

"Take care of yourself" enamel pin on a yellow background
A pin designed by Betty Turbo

Legislative Update- April 1, 2020

Rep. Brian Cina and Rep. Selene Colburn

Economic Resources for Small Businesses, Gig Workers, and Self-employed Workers

We’re working to get more clarity on support for small businesses and self-employed and gig workers who are affected by COVID-19 closures, particularly in light of new federal legislation.

Thanks to our hardworking legislative council, we know that the recent federal CARES Act includes pandemic unemployment assistance for self-employed, independent contractors, and workers with insufficient employment history to qualify for regular unemployment insurance (UI).

Individuals will be able to access this if they are:

  • Not eligible for unemployment insurance (this includes someone who has exhausted UI).
  • Self-certified that they are otherwise able and available to work but cannot work or are unemployed because:
    • Diagnosed with, or symptomatic for COVID-19
    • Household member is diagnosed with COVID-19
    • Caring for a family member with COVID-19
    • Child’s school or child care is closed
    • Quarantined because of COVID-19
    • Advised by health care provider to self-quarantine
    • Unable to start job as a result of COVID-19
    • Head of household died from COVID-19
    • Quit job because of COVID-19
    • Place of employment closed because of COVID-19
    • Additional criteria as established by Sec. of Labor
  • Self-employed or otherwise would not qualify for UI.

They will not be able to access this if:

  • Able to telework, or
  • Receiving paid sick leave or paid leave benefits.

This will cover unemployment from 1/27/2020 to 12/31/2020 and the administration will establish a process to back pay benefits. Individuals can receive up to 39 weeks of benefits. Weekly benefits will equal the amount permitted under Vermont unemployment law, plus $600 per week.

We’re awaiting further guidelines from state and federal administrations about how to access these benefits. You are encouraged to open unemployment claims if you believe you will qualify for these new benefits. Visit https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19 or call 877-214-3331for assistance.

Small businesses and sole proprietors may be eligible for additional loans and grants.

For more assistance see the Agency of Commerce and Community Development:

https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19

The Vermont Small Business Development Center:

https://www.vtsbdc.org/coronavirus/

The Vermont Economic Development Authority:

https://www.veda.org/newsevents/covid19updates

The US Small Business Administration:

https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

Please contact us if you need help navigating these resources:

Selene Colburn (scolburn@leg.state.vt.us; 802-233-1358) and Brian Cina (bcina@leg.state.vt.us; 802-448-2178)

Volunteers and Donations Needed 

The State has launched a website allowing people to sign up for volunteer assistance to support the state’s response to COVID-19: https://vermont.gov/volunteer.

The Vermont Medical Reserve Corps is seeking these qualified and experienced volunteers:

  • Licensed and certified health care professionals;
  • People with mental health, or other types of clinical or professional experience;
  • Health care administrative experience, such as with medical data entry or language translators; and
  • People who have worked with displaced individuals, such as homeless shelter programs.

Other individuals who do not have healthcare backgrounds but are willing to volunteer their time in Vermont’s response effort can register through the state’s volunteer web portal and indicate their expertise and availability.

Vermonters can also contribute to blood banks, food banks, and other emergency supply efforts. The American Red Cross of Northern New England faces a severe blood shortage and many local food banks and other community organizations are in need of support and donations of supplies. In addition to volunteering, Vermonters can also give back in the following ways:

Virtual Zoom Meeting with State Representatives (Cina, Colburn, and Gonzalez) this Friday, April 3, at 5 PM

Please join us for a Virtual meeting this Friday on Zoom. This meeting will be recorded and broadcast by Channel 17. If you are concerned about being recorded, send us your questions in advance and we will answer them, and you can watch the meeting instead of joining it!

https://zoom.us/j/339947005?pwd=a1VmVU9rK1JidUtSdmhtaE85RDl2UT09

Meeting ID: 339 947 005

Password: 024625

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What You Should Know About Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

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