Small Business Grants of Up to $50,000 Are Now Available
Governor Hogan and the Maryland Department of Labor (“Labor”) recently launched the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund. The purpose of the Fund is to support businesses undergoing economic stresses due to the coronavirus pandemic by preventing or minimizing the duration of unemployment resulting from layoffs with grants of up to $50,000. Labor is accepting grant applications from small businesses now through 30 days after the State of Emergency ends in Maryland. However, awards will be distributed on a rolling basis and awards are subject to funding availability. So get your application in now!
Participating organizations must utilize funds in order to mitigate layoffs and adhere to “social distancing” provisions established by state and federal public health entities. Requests must be reasonable, necessary, and directly related to the purpose of the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund. Permissible uses include, but are not limited to:
- Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing remote access (ex. computers, printers, etc.) equipment to allow employees to work remotely from home versus being laid off;
- Providing funds to cover the cost of purchasing software or programs that an employee would need to use from home;
- Supporting businesses that take advantage of the Work Share Unemployment Insurance Program by supplementing the employee’s income and benefits;
- Providing funds to cover the costs of cleaning/sanitizing supplies and/or services that will allow a small business to maintain an onsite workforce as a result of exposure reduction through frequent deep cleaning;
- Paying for liability insurance for restaurants that convert to delivery while under emergency circumstances;
- Providing funds for training or professional development opportunities for employees to avoid layoffs; and
- Adopting other creative approaches and strategies to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs in the small business community.
Resources from the Fund may not be used for the following:
- Hazard pay;
- Employee wages/benefits other than those utilizing the Workshare Unemployment Insurance Program; or
- Support services such as childcare, transportation costs, lodging expenses, or meals.
Eligible applicants include Maryland businesses that:
- Have 500 employees or fewer based within the State;
- Are up-to-date on Unemployment Insurance taxes and in good standing with the Comptroller of Maryland and MD Labor; and
- Can demonstrate a need for layoff aversion support due to the impacts of COVID-19.
In addition to small businesses, applicants may include employer consortiums comprised of businesses who collectively meet the above qualifications, such as:
- Non-profit or community-based organizations;
- Industry Associations;
- Two or four-year institution of higher education;
- Local Workforce Development Areas;
- Labor Unions;
- Local or Regional Economic Development entities; and
- Local Governments.
Applying for a Grant
Applications can be found at http://www.labor.maryland.gov/employment/covidlafund.shtml. A completed application must, at a minimum, provide:
- The amount of funds requested and a brief itemized description of all costs;
- The number of employees affected;
- A brief profile of the business including Employer ID#, address, and contact information;
- A brief narrative describing the layoff aversion plan and need for funds;
- A copy of the organization’s W-9 form; and,
- A commitment to keep employees on staff through 45 calendar days from the date of the grant award.
Submit your completed application to Labor at LaborCOVID19.firstname.lastname@example.org. Labor is processing applications within two business days of receipt, and upon approval and receipt of a signed contract, grant payment will be expedited.
If you have any questions about the Maryland COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund or other available resources, please contact Frank Laws (FLaws@tandllaw.com) or Sima Fried (SFried@tandllaw.com) – or another Thomas & Libowitz attorney – and we will gladly assist you with your legal needs.