Businesses & Employers

Merced County Employer Resources 

Assistance in Hiring New Employees and Reopening

The following programs can help offset the costs of training and on-boarding new employees:

Expanded Subsidized Employment:  Employers are reimbursed 100% of the hourly wages for six months when hiring a candidate through the Human Services Agency Department.

The On-the-Job Training (OJT) program:  Employers are reimbursed up to 50 percent of the new hire’s hourly wages for a maximum of 1,040 training hours.

For more information about these or other business services offered at no cost, please contact Mario Pena, Worknet Merced County, at (209) 724-2046. 

California Employers Association (HR Hotline)

Worknet Merced County has contracted with a statewide leader in advocacy for employers, the California Employers Association, to host a Human Resources Hotline.  This service is available to all employers from Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm.  It is operated by a trained professional who can give advice on questions regarding any HR issue you might be facing, such as potential layoffs, leave issues, or others.  Please call (888) 906-0041 to get help with the Human Resources issues that you have questions about. 

Health Guidance for Food Facilities

On March 14, the Merced County Department of Public Health released guidance for food facilities around how to protect the health of those who are vulnerable to COVID-19 and aid in the prevention and spread of the virus.  The full document is located here: COVID-19 Guidance for Food Facilities

State and Federal Grants and Programs

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) 

The U.S. Small Business Administration is releasing loans in the amount of up to $10 million dollars for a small business to keep workers on payroll and to help pay for certain other expenses.  If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable.  More information is located here: SBA Paycheck Protection Program 

Small Business Microloans from California iBank

Up to $50 million in state funding has been made available for those who do not qualify for other types of loan programs from the federal government.  All businesses in California with 1-750 employees that have been negatively impacted or experienced disruption by COVID-19, as well as eligible nonprofits, are able to take part in this program.  A list of lenders is forthcoming, and all details on the program are available at iBank’s website.

California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC)

The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) is an income tax credit available to businesses that want to locate in California or stay and grow in California. Businesses of any industry, size, or location compete for over $180 million available in tax credits by applying in one of the three application periods each year. Applicants will be analyzed based on twelve different factors of evaluation, including number of full-time jobs being created, amount of investment, and strategic importance to the state or region. Have additional questions? Please contact their office at: (916) 322-4051 or visit California Competes Tax Credit to get started on the application process. 

IRS Employee Retention Credit

The Employee Retention Credit is a refundable tax credit against certain employment taxes equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages an eligible employer pays to employees after March 12, 2020, and before January 1, 2021. Eligible employers can get immediate access to the credit by reducing employment tax deposits they are otherwise required to make. Also, if the employer's employment tax deposits are not sufficient to cover the credit, the employer may get an advance payment from the IRS.

For each employee, wages (including certain health plan costs) up to $10,000 can be counted to determine the amount of the 50% credit. Because this credit can apply to wages already paid after March 12, 2020, many struggling employers can get access to this credit by reducing upcoming deposits or requesting an advance credit on Form 7200, Advance of Employer Credits Due To COVID-19.

For additional information, visit the Employee Retention Credit website for details. 


The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a Federal tax credit available to employers for hiring individuals from certain targeted groups who have consistently faced significant barriers to employment. Employers may be eligible for up to $9,600 in tax credits. Please go to the WOTC website for guidance. 

Federal Disaster Loan Assistance

On March 16th, the Small Business Administration (SBA) approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration for California. While the declaration originally covered certain counties only, as of March 17, the declaration applies to the entire state of California.

Disaster Assistance loans are working capital loans issued to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

The SBA will provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

The SBA has made applying easier by supplying counties with a document that highlights the three steps businesses need to do to apply for Disaster Loans through the SBA.  They have also provided the forms that will be needed as part of the application, which are located below:

For additional information about the Disaster Loan Assistance, visit the Disaster Assistance website for details. 

Work Sharing Program 

For businesses who are experiencing a slowdown as a result of the coronavirus’ impact on the economy, applying for the UI Work Sharing Program will allow employers to seek an alternative to layoffs – retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset by UI benefits. Visit the Work Sharing Program website to learn more about the program.

To File for Various State Tax Exemptions 

On March 12, 2020, Governor Newsom issued an Executive Order in response to the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Pursuant to this Executive Order, through May 11th, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) has the authority to assist individuals and businesses impacted by complying with a state or local public health official’s imposition or recommendation of social distancing measures related to COVID-19. On April 2, 2020 the Governor stated that businesses will be able to defer up to $50,000 in sales and use tax payments to the state, and that details would be available through the CDTFA. To get in touch with CDTFA, please visit their COVID-19 State of Emergency Website.

Payroll Taxes / Employment Development Department 

Employers experiencing a hardship as a result of COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day extension of time from the EDD to file their state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return. With questions or to learn how to apply for COVID-19 relief, please visit the EDD’s COVID-19 assistance website, or call the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at (888) 745-3886.

Franchise Tax Board (FTB)

The FTB administers two of California’s major tax programs: Personal Income Tax and the Corporation Tax.  This relief includes moving the various tax filing and payment deadlines that occur on March 15, 2020, through June 15, 2020, to June 15, 2020. This includes partnerships and LLCs who are taxed as partnerships whose tax returns are due on March 15 now have a 90-day extension to file and pay by June 15. The FTB will also waive interest and any late filing or late payment penalties that would otherwise apply. With questions or to learn about how to apply for COVID-19 relief, please visit the FTB’s website.

CDC Guidance for Building Water Systems

Stagnant, or standing water can cause conditions that increase the risk for growth and spread of Legionella and other bio-film-associated bacteria. When water is stagnant, hot water temperatures can decrease to the Legionella growth range (77–108°F, 25–42°C). Stagnant water can also lead to low or undetectable levels of disinfectant, such as chlorine. Ensure that your water system is safe to use after a prolonged shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water. For additional information and guidance, please visit the CDC Guidance for Building Water Systems website.

Additional Resources

The Centers for Disease Control issued Interim Guidance for businesses and employers to plan and respond to Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which has been updated as of March 21.  Please go to the CDC website for that guidance.

OSHA released Guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19, which contains no new legal obligations, but gives information that helps employers provide safe and healthy work environments.  Please go to the OSHA website for this helpful information.