HR / Legal Information & Updates

Provided below is a list of HR / Legal resources and information for Iowa City Area businesses during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. We will continue to update this page as more resources become available.

Suggestions for Safely Reopening Your Business

Reopening our economy will be a community wide effort to ensure that both employees and customers remain safe. Any phased reopening must be in accordance with sound public health decisions, and with proper safety protocols outlined by local and state health departments. Although each industry will require unique and robust guidelines to safeguard against future breakouts, we wanted to lay out some general best practices to help you begin planning to reopen.

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Mental Health During COVID-19

Mental Health is Workforce Health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the combination of increased anxiety coupled with the increased expectations of their employment has created the perfect storm for an over 59% increase in anxiety levels among Americans. Mental and behavioral health is just as important to maintain, if not more, than one’s own physical health. Together, we can provide the necessary resources and support to our employees to ensure their health is protected in this unprecedented time. 

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COVID-19 Recovery FAQ

Have questions about legal issues regarding reopening, testing and screening, or employee and customer safety? We’ve got answers to common questions on our COVID-19 Recovery FAQ page.

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Communicating with your Team During COVID-19

Communication during this time is incredibly important. Remain available to and transparent with your employees. Have conversations with employees about their concerns. Your team’s health is of the utmost importance, so get your employees in on your COVID-19 planning strategy for reopening. We’ve put together a list of a few ways you can work as a team to reopen your business safely.

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Paycheck Protection Program

Following the passage of the CARES Act, the SBA and Treasury Department have begun to mobilize banks to provide small businesses with capital for payroll and operating expenses via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying for PPP loans on April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning on April 10. The loans will be forgiven as long as the funds are used to keep employees on the payroll and for certain other expenses.
  • Check with your current lender to see if they are a participating SBA 7(a) lender, bank, or credit union.
  • Start working on your loan application. The U.S. Treasury Department has the application form on their website now.

Voluntary Shared Work Program

The Voluntary Shared Work Program (VSW) is Iowa’s version of Short Term Compensation (STC).

The VSW program is intended for use as an alternative to layoffs and has been an effective tool for Iowa businesses experiencing a decline in regular business activity. Under VSW, work reductions are shared by reducing employees’ work hours and Unemployment Insurance (UI) partially replaces lost earnings. By avoiding layoffs, employees stay connected to their jobs and employers maintain their skilled workforce for when business improves.

Learn More about the advantages and requirements

COVID-19 Legal Information Hotline

Governor Reynolds announced a new hotline for Iowans who have questions or are experiencing legal struggles during the coronavirus outbreak. Starting April 1, the COVID-19 Legal Information Hotline can be reached at 1-800-332-0419. It was developed in partnership with Iowa Legal Aid, the Iowa State Bar Association and the Polk County Volunteer Lawyer Project.