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Association of Washington Business – Updated Weekly

COVID-19

Washington employers, families, first responders and more stand to benefit from historic federal stimulus package

Small business loans and grants, direct payments to American families and a massive influx of federal funds for state unemployment systems are among the highlights of a historic stimulus measure passed by Congress and signed into law on Friday. The $2.2 trillion package aims to boost a national economy hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

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State and federal unemployment claims spike to record levels

With businesses shut down, workers are turning to unemployment in dramatic numbers. Nearly 120,000 more Washingtonians applied for unemployment benefits last week than the week before. That's an 834% increase. Some sectors are seeing 2,000% increases in jobless claims.

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Gov. Inslee declares 'Stay Home, Stay Healthy' rule

At midnight last Wednesday, Washington began a mandatory stay-home order, with exceptions for food shopping, emergencies, and work at "essential" businesses. Non-essential businesses can continue operating, but only if work takes place remotely. Washington's early steps to enforce social distancing appear to be working to start flattening the curve of new infections, but Gov. Jay Inslee said Washington is not "within 1,000 miles of declaring victory" yet.

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State launches new online portal to answer questions

Washington state officials have launched a new online portal in an effort to handle the large volume of questions from the public, including employers, about a historic shutdown order in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Banks, federal agencies under pressure to help small businesses in COVID-19 economic fallout

During AWB's weekly COVID-19 webinar this morning, a leading Washington bank president urged employers to be patient over the next week as federal officials finalize rules for the economic relief programs approved by Congress just last Friday. And before giving an overview of the $2.2 trillion package, U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer acknowledged the public health crisis that has led to 195 deaths in Washington. Watch a replay of the webinar here.

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Employers helping invent, produce and distribute important supplies

Businesses in Washington and across the country are helping produce needed medical supplies. Manufacturers are designing new processes to make masks, ventilators and other products. And while countless manufacturers are voluntarily converting to medical production, on Friday the president ordered General Motors to make ventilators using the Defense Production Act.

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AWB continues ongoing survey campaign to track employer needs and impact of COVID-19

Two weeks ago, AWB surveyed its members to ask what Washington businesses needed as the COVID-19 outbreak increased in scope and impact. The survey provided important guidance for AWB as it advocates for employers during the early days of the pandemic. Now, AWB will be repeating the survey every two weeks to keep apprised of the changing needs of Washington employers in this uncertain time. Watch your inbox for this week's survey and please take two minutes to respond. Your response will help all employers in our state.

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Department of Revenue moves back tax deadlines due to COVID-19

Employers who file business taxes quarterly or annually will get an automatic extension of their filing deadlines. Due to COVID-19, the filing dates will be moved back without filers needing to request an extension.

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Other News

Washington Research Council: Legislature acknowledged negative outlook, but increased spending 20.5%

In a new policy brief, the Washington Research Council looks at the recently passed state budget. The Legislature increased appropriations by 20.5%. That's less than either chamber had proposed, but still probably more than can be sustained, the council concludes.

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Columbia Pulp's tree-free pulp helps bring shuttered Oregon paper mill back to life

The winner of AWB's 2018 Operational Excellence Award is supplying the remarkably green new raw material that brought an Oregon paper mill back from the dead.

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AWB Events & Resources

HR & Employment Law Webinar on April 1: Wage and Hours

Learn about the latest developments in federal, state and local wage and hour laws so that your organization can focus on compliance and avoid administrative claims during AWB's next HR & Employment Law webinar on April 1. There will be more relevant topics in the months ahead, including ways to properly handle performance evaluations, the latest on non-competition agreements, and more. Register online for this and other timely webinars!

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AWB hosts weekly webinar for employers covering the coronavirus

Every Monday from 10-11 a.m., the Employer Resources Webinar Series will give you real-time, expert insights on all aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to connect you to the latest information, webinar speakers rotate depending on the breaking news of the week. Check our webinar landing page for who's on the agenda to connect you with the latest information, direct from top officials. Watch a replay of the webinar here.

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Tweet of the Week

No Pass Needed

 

They Said It

United to Survive COVID-19 Together

"Washingtonians are smart, kind, and tough. We will emerge from this challenge more united than ever, prepared to build an even stronger Washington." ~ A joint statement last week from the four majority and minority leaders of the Legislature: Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins, Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, and House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox.
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