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Established in 1914 by the state legislature, State Fund is California's most reliable provider of workers' compensation insurance and a vital asset to California businesses. State Fund supports California's entrepreneurial spirit and plays a stabilizing role in the economy by providing fairly priced workers' compensation insurance, helping California employers keep their workplaces safe, and restoring injured workers.



Essential Business Support Fund and Returning California to Work COVID-19 Safety Protocol Fund FAQs

 

What are the two grant programs that State Fund is offering?

The Essential Business Support Fund is a $50 million reimbursement fund to help policyholders in essential businesses operating through the stay-at-home order defray the additional costs of protecting their workers from COVID-19. The fund is designed to reimburse policyholders for workplace safety expenses related to preventing the spread of COVID-19, and covers such costs as goggles, masks, and gloves; cleaning supplies and services; and worksite modifications. Individual reimbursements can total up to $10,000 or two times the policyholder’s Estimated Annual Premium, whichever is less.

The Returning California to Work COVID-19 Safety Protocol Fund is a $50 million reimbursement fund to help policyholders in non-essential business sectors that are resuming operations after COVID-19 Shelter in Place restrictions. The funds are intended to help these policyholders defray the additional costs of protecting their workers from COVID-19. The fund reimburses policyholders for workplace safety expenses related to preventing the spread of COVID-19, and covers such costs as goggles, masks, and gloves; cleaning supplies and services; and worksite modifications. Individual grants can total up to twice the policyholder’s estimated annual premium (EAP) up to a maximum of $10,000, whichever is less. Policyholders can find their EAP by reviewing their Policy Declarations Page document, or logging into their State Fund Online account.

Why did State Fund establish these grant funds?

One of State Fund’s critical roles is to support employers’ efforts to keep workplaces safe. We recognize that keeping employees safe during this pandemic requires extra precautions at additional expense to employers, and we are in a position to offer help.

How do I know which of the two support funds to apply to?

The Essential Business Support Fund is for essential businesses that have been operating through the pandemic; Returning California to Work COVID-19 Protocol Fund is for non-essential businesses that have recently re-opened or are preparing to resume operations. Both funds offer the same benefits to help policyholders defray the cost of workplace safety expenses related to protecting employees from COVID-19. There’s one application for both funds; just indicate on the application whether your business is considered essential or not and we will direct it to the appropriate fund. Policyholders may apply for one fund only.

What is an essential business?

On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 directing all residents immediately to stay home, except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of essential critical infrastructure sectors. The following sectors have been identified as essential and may operate during the Shelter in Place order:

  • Healthcare/Public Health, Emergency Services, Food/Agriculture, Energy, Water/Waste Water, Transportation/Logistics, Communications/Information Technology, Other Community-based Government Operations and Essential Functions, Critical Manufacturing, Hazardous Materials, Financial Services, Chemical, and Defense Industrial Base.

What is non-essential business?

Essentially, any business that is re-opening their workplace and is NOT in the following sectors:

Healthcare/Public Health, Emergency Services, Food/Agriculture, Energy, Water/Waste Water, Transportation/Logistics, Communications/Information Technology, Other Community-based Government Operations and Essential Functions, Critical Manufacturing, Hazardous Materials, Financial Services, Chemical, and Defense Industrial Base.

How do policyholders apply?

Applications and instructions are available at COVID-19 Financial Relief

How will applications be reviewed and the funds awarded?

We will review applications for both funds on a first-come, first-served basis.

For the Essential Business Support Fund, grants will be awarded to policyholders who:

  • Are considered an essential business by the State of California
  • And are operating through the stay-at-home order
  • And that have documented eligible expenses, purchased or planned, related to COVID-19 workplace safety.

For the Returning California to Work COVID-19 Safety Protocol Fund, grants will be awarded to policyholders with documented eligible expenses, purchased or planned, related to COVID-19 work place safety and who follow the State of California’s re-opening protocol of having:

  • A detailed risk assessment of their workplace
  • Employee training and implementation of a site-specific protection plan
  • Cleaning and disinfecting protocols and physical distancing guidelines

In addition, California employers must have a written Injury and Illness Prevention Program with a site-specific prevention plan for their business. Policyholders who do not already have an IIPP and pandemic prevention plan can create them using State Fund’s IIPP Builder  and model site-specific prevention plan on our safety resource site, www.SafeAtWorkCA.com.

How long will it take to get a decision on my application?

We are reviewing applications on a first come, first served basis and will get back to you within 15 business days.

Do all State Fund policyholders qualify to receive the reimbursement?

Policyholders in essential and non-essential businesses may apply for reimbursement for workplace safety expenses related to protecting their employees from COVID-19.

What qualifies as a COVID-19 workplace safety expense?

Expenses must be new and related to worker safety and well-being during the COVID-19 crisis. The funds are designed to reimburse policyholders for workplace safety expenses related to preventing the spread of COVID-19. Qualifying expenses include:

  • Personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, face shields, gowns, goggles
  • Cleaning supplies and cleaning services for virus disinfection
  • Worksite modification or redesign to lower the risk of transmission
  • Safety training and communications related to the prevention of COVID-19 transmission
  • Employee health clinic modification or additional staffing needed for virus related treatment
  • Mental health and wellness initiatives tied to COVID-19 concerns
  • Costs associated with signage/supplies to control customer flow in the workplace
  • Costs associated with COVID-19 safety precautions in re-opening a business, using guidelines put in place by the State of California, or utilizing Cal /OSHA or CDC guidance

Can policyholders submit now for expenses they imagine will come later?

For the Essential Business Support Fund, a policyholder should have either already incurred the expenses or anticipate paying it within the next 30 days.

For the Returning California to Work COVID-19 Safety Protocol Fund, policyholders may submit now for expenses they expect to incur when they re-open their business.

I do not have any past COVID-19 related expenses, but I have expenditures I am planning to incur in the coming weeks. Can I still apply?

Absolutely. If your organization has anticipated expenditures, please provide a detailed description and supporting documentation (estimates, quotes, purchase orders, photos, etc.) with your application.

Will State Fund pay for laptops and telecommuting equipment?

No. While telecommuting is a critical component of social distancing, technology, supplies, furniture, etc. related to home offices is ineligible for funding.

Will State Fund pay for staffing?

Regular staffing is not an eligible expense. Additional staffing specifically needed to combat COVID-19 risk will be considered.

Does this program incentivize workers to stay at work during the crisis?

No. Hazard pay is not eligible. Labor is an eligible expense only if the position and the activity is new and COVID-19 safety related. Regular payroll for previous duties won’t be funded, nor will requests to reallocate current workers to new duties.

Is there a cap on how much an organization can request?

Individual grants can total up to twice the policyholder’s estimated annual premium (EAP) up to a maximum of $10,000, whichever is less. Policyholders can find their EAP by reviewing their Policy Declarations Page document, or logging into their State Fund Online account.

Can policyholders submit multiple applications?

Policyholders should combine all current and short-term needs in one request. However, they can submit again as additional expenses come up. The overall limit for reimbursement for a policyholder is twice the Estimated Annual Premium up to $10,000, no matter how many applications are received.

How should a policyholder who supports multiple business units or multiple combined policies structure their request?

Policyholders with more than one policy should submit an application for each policy. Policyholders who only have one policy should submit all at once rather than submitting separate requests for each business department or unit.

Are personal vehicle mileage or van rentals to transport employees to job sites eligible expenses?

If the intent is to limit the number of people in an enclosed space, the expenses would be eligible.

If a policyholder donates PPE, can they be reimbursed for restocking?

Yes, these items may be considered for funding.

What if a policyholder needs increased quantities of routine supplies? Is this a “new” expense?

If a policyholder needs to purchase more supplies than usual to keep employees safe, those supplies are considered eligible.

Does State Fund have any special access or sources to help policyholders find out of stock items like cleaning supplies and PPE?

No. State Fund doesn't have any special access to source items that are in short supply. As policyholders are able to make these purchases, their expenses are eligible for funding consideration.

What is the deadline to apply for funding?

Submissions will be accepted until either all funds have been expended or the fund is no longer needed.

Are State Agencies under the Master Agreement eligible?

No, State Agencies under the Master Agreement are not eligible for this program.  Agencies insured with State Fund that are not part of the Master Agreement can be considered for these funds.

Are the funds taxable?

State Fund cannot advise as to the tax consequences of the grants. Policyholders should consult with a tax professional.

Will applicants be notified about the outcome of their submission?

Yes, State Fund will notify all applicants whether their submission was fully funded, partially funded, or denied.

Will this impact a policyholder’s premium?

No, this will not impact premium in any way.

Are policies with locations outside California eligible to receive funds? Will the Other States Coverage program be funded for interventions outside California?

Only the California operations of Other States Coverage policyholders may qualify. The grant funding is intended for use within California.

How do I get in touch with the State Fund COVID-19 Safety Fund Committee if I have a question?

If you have questions about your application or award, you can send them to covidfundquestions@scif.com.

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