USDA Secretary Tom Vilsak announced this week that as of April 30th the Farmers to Family Food Box program will be discontinued and USDA fresh produce boxes will now be delivered as part of the [...]
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources
Employment and Labor Resources
Information relating to CA paid sick leave requirements, unemployment insurance, disability, and CA Paid Family Leave and the new Federal emergency paid sick leave and expanded Family Medical Leave Act benefits.
California Resources & Employee Benefits
- Labor & Workforce Development Agency:
State Issues New Employer Guidance Regarding COVID-19 Vaccines
On March 4, 2021, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing updated its “Employment Information on COVID-19” FAQ document to address questions relating to vaccines. The document clarifies that an employer may require employees to receive an FDA-approved vaccine in accordance with existing antidiscrimination and antiharassment laws. The document also clarifies what types of information an employer may ask employees if the employer administers a COVID-19 vaccination program.
Click here to download the DFEH “Employment Information on COVID-19” FAQ.
CA Civil Rights Laws & COVID-19
The CA Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the state agency charged with enforcing California’s civil rights laws. DFEH has provided guidance to address what employers can and cannot legally do with regard to employee rights and COVID-19. The guidance addresses questions such as: “May an employer send employees home if they show signs of COVID-19?” and “May an employer take employees’ temperatures?”.
Family First COVID-19 Response Act (FFCRA)
Effective April 2, 2020, the FFCRA provides for two forms of paid leave to employees forced to miss work because of the COVID-19 outbreak: an emergency expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and a new federal paid sick leave law.
- S. Department of Labor Guidance
- Mandatory Employer Poster
- Summary of Legislation
- DOL Foreign Service Certification: FAQ document addressing potential issues regarding the H-2A temporary agricultural labor certification program.
Ag Industry Resources
- Agricultural Employer Checklist
- Employee Transit Letters – English
- Employee Transit Letters – Spanish
- Department of Homeland Security Critical Infrastructure Guidance: States that all aspects of the agricultural sector and food supply chain are an essential service for purposes of COVID-19 related shelter-in-place orders.
- California Ag Labor Association
- Cal/OSHA Notice: New Guidance Video in Spanish on COVID-19 Infection Prevention for Agricultural Workers and Employers
Health & Safety Resources
Ensuring worker safety and health is of the utmost importance. The following links include state and federal guidelines to protect workers from COVID-19 in the workplace. Specific resources for agricultural employers include posters and other materials that can be shared with employees.
- Center for Disease Control Resources or Businesses and Employees
- Agricultural Employer Checklist
- California Department of Public Health Outbreak and Returning to Work Guidance
- Cal/OSHA: Guidance on the Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
- California Department of Public Health
- Face Covering Guidance: This document provides public health information for the use of cloth face coverings by the general public when outside the home conducting essential activities. It does not substitute for existing guidance about social distancing and handwashing. It does not mandate that face coverings be worn state-wide.
- CDPH Press Release
- S. Department of Labor Workplace Safety
Ag Industry Resources
- Protocols When Employee/Customer Tests Positive
- Sanitation Alternatives when conventional materials are not available
- How to mix a 200 ppm bleach solution
- World Health Organization Recommended Handrub Formula
- AgSafe: COVID-19 information for agriculture employers
- California Farmworker Foundation
- Farmworker Hotline Flyer (English)
- Farmworker Hotline Flyer (Spanish)
- UC Davis Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety
California Re-Opening Guidance (Updated May 11, 2020)
California businesses may begin to reopen as outlined in the State’s Resilience Roadmap. Beginning May 8, 2020, California will enter into Stage 2 of modifying the state’s stay at home order with the gradual reopening of “lower risk workplaces”. The Resilience Roadmap, including an explanation of the 4-stage, reopen process can be found here.
Agriculture businesses are deemed critical infrastructure and thus have been allowed to operate through the duration of the stay at home order. However, the Resilience Roadmap does include updated guidance for the agriculture and livestock industry to support a safe, clean environment for workers. Accordingly, CalOSHA has also released updated guidance for COVID-19 infection prevention for agriculture employers and employees (May 5, 2020). Employers are strongly encouraged to closely review both documents and adhere to the recommendations therein.
- COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Agriculture and Livestock (May 7, 2020)
- Prepared by the California Department of Public Health, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and CalOSHA
- Cal/OSHA Safety and Health Guidance: COVID-19 Prevention for Agriculture Employers and Employees (May 5, 2020)
Federal Stimulus Packages (CARES Act & C3.5)
For those with small businesses under 500 employees, we urge you to look at the SBA loans included in the CARES Act and subsequent Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Act (Stimulus Package 3.5 or C3.5). If you use these loans to keep your employees paid through this period, the loans can become grants that do not have to be repaid!
The Paycheck Protection Program, authorized by the CARES Act and expanded by C3.5, is a guaranteed and forgivable loan meant for job retention and certain other expenses. The new loan program will be available retroactive from Feb. 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.
The application is available NOW. If you think you may qualify, we encourage you to submit your application NOW. (NOTE – As of 4.27.2020 the SBA will resume processing PPP applications.)
- S. Department of Treasury
- CARES ACT Emergency Loans Small Business Guide and Checklist (prepared by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce)
Stimulus Package 3.5 also provides an additional $60 Billion to the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Advance Loan (EIDL), including $10 in grants. Businesses experiencing a temporary loss of revenue can get a grant for $10,000 and borrow up to $2 Million under the EIDL program. For the first time, agricultural enterprises are now eligible for the disaster assistance from EIDL.
- Internal Revenue Service: Filing and Payment Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020
- CA Franchise Tax Board: COVID-19 Extensions to File and Pay
WARN Act: Business Closures and Layoffs
The State and Federal WARN Acts require a business to give notice to workers before mass layoffs. California businesses subject to the WARN Act that have been affected by COVID-19 no longer have to give 60 days notice to workers before mass layoffs. Instead, businesses are required to give as much notice as practicable plus a statement explaining the basis for lessening the notification period.
- S. Department of Labor: Federal WARN Act Compliance Assistance
- CA Department of Industrial Relations/Labor Commissioner: Cal-WARN Act
- CA Executive Order Providing Cal-WARN Act Exemption for COVID-19 related layoffs and closures
CFAP will use the funding and authorities provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), and other USDA existing authorities. The program includes two major elements: direct support to farmers and ranchers and a new USDA purchase and distribution program.
- Information about direct support to farmers and ranchers will be posted once it is available from USDA.
- USDA Farmers to Families Food Box: The Food Box Program will be implemented by distributors who submit a bid and are awarded a federal contract. The contractor will be 100% responsible for the full supply chain including procurement of product, assembly of boxes, transportation, and distribution to non-profit organizations that can receive, store, and distribute food items. Contracts will be awarded in early May with shipments beginning in mid-May.
For more information in regards to the CFAP, USDA has provided a Stakeholder Toolkit.
The CFAP Payment Dashboard allows you to track CFAP payments and applications by state and commodity.
Applying for the CFAP:
- Online Applications
- Manual Applications
Videos & Webinars:
- General CFAP Fact Sheet (English)
- General CFAP Fact Sheet (Spanish)
- General CFAP Fact Sheet (Puerto Rican Spanish)
- Specialty Crop CFAP Fact Sheet (English)
- Specialty Crop CFAP Fact Sheet (Spanish)
- Specialty Crop CFAP Fact Sheet (Puerto Rican Spanish)