All posts by Njeri P

Shared Work and Unemployment Information for Small Businesses

Shared work programs are unemployment programs that allow businesses to reduce employee wages and hours as an alternative to layoffs. Under a shared work program, employees can receive partial unemployment benefits to offset a portion of their reduced wages.

Employers benefit by retaining skilled employees, eliminating the need to hire and train new employees, and possibly saving recruiting fees when the period of disruption ends.  Employees benefit by receiving partial compensation for lost wages while continuing employment and maintaining health insurance and other benefits.

General Requirements of the Shared Work Program:

  1. Employers must file a Shared Work Plan (the “Plan”) with the Department of Labor identifying the employees included in the Plan.
  2. Employers are required to estimate the number of layoffs that would occur in the absence of the Plan and to certify that the reduced hours for employees included in the Plan are equal to the hours that would be lost due to layoffs.  Reductions in hours and wages must be between 20% and 60% and the Plan cannot exceed 53 weeks.  Once approved, a Plan can be modified due to changing business conditions but must not exceed 53 weeks. Employees may receive unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks during the 53 week period.  These 26 weeks do not have to be consecutive.
  3. A shared work plan covers all employees, or a particular group of employees, which can be a business unit, a shift or a department.
  4. The reduction in hours must be equal for all employees in the specific group.  An employer can develop different plans for different groups within the business.  Employee benefits must be maintained during the effective period of the Plan, unless those benefits are eliminated or reduced for the entire workforce.  No new employees can be hired for any specific group covered by the Plan, unless they are replacing employees covered by the Plan who voluntarily resigned.

Here are the links to NYS Department of Labor:

Some tips:

  • The application should be completed on-line. If submitted in hard copy the system will take 2-3 weeks to process (submit online and complete your weekly submittal  (employee & employer) on line to expedite the process.
  • The pay and hour reduction percentage must match The corporate officers can be included COVID Special: there is no payment into the business UI account until August (it is essentially cost-free for the business).

There have also been changes to Unemployment Claims process, including waiving the 7 day wait period to apply. If you are a business owner that has needed to lay off your workforce, please click here to go to the Department of Labor.

Click here for The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act





April 28, 2019: Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo  outlined additional guidelines for the phased plan to re-open New York on a regional basis.  

  1. CDC Guidelines: Based on CDC recommendations, once a region experiences a 14-day decline in the hospitalization rate they may begin a phased re-opening.
  2. Industries: Businesses in each region will re-open in phases. Phase one will include opening construction and manufacturing functions with low risk. Phase two will open certain industries based on priority and risk level. Businesses considered “more essential” with inherent low risks of infection in the workplace and to customers will be prioritized, followed by other businesses considered “less essential” or those that present a higher risk of infection spread. Regions must not open attractions or businesses that would draw a large number of visitors from outside the local area.
  3. Business Precautions: Each business and industry must have a plan to protect employees and consumers, make the physical work space safer and implement processes that lower risk of infection in the business.
  4. Building Health Care Capacity: To maintain the phased re-opening plan, each region must have at least 30 percent of hospital beds and ICU beds available after elective surgeries resume.
  5. Testing Regimen: Regions must implement a testing regimen that prioritizes symptomatic persons and individuals who came into contact with a known COVID-positive person, and conducts frequent tests of frontline and essential workers. Regions must maintain an appropriate number of testing sites to accommodate its population and must fully advertise where and how people can get tested. The region must also use the collected data to track and trace the spread of the virus.
  6. Tracing System: There must be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people. The region must also monitor the regional infection rate throughout the re-opening plan.
  7. Isolation Facilities: Regions must present plans to have rooms available for people who test positive for COVID-19 and who cannot self-isolate.
  8. Regional Coordination: Regions must coordinate the re-opening of schools, transportation systems, testing and tracing with other surrounding regions.
  9. Re-imagining Tele-Medicine
  10. Re-imagining Tele-Education
  11. Regional Control Rooms: Each region must appoint an oversight institution as its control room to monitor regional indicators during the phased re-opening, including hospital capacity, rate of infection, PPE burn rate and businesses.
  12. Protect and Respect Essential Workers: Regions must continue to ensure protections are in place for essential workers.

CARES Act: Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

The comprehensive package and additional funding brings to bear the full resources of the federal government to protect the health and well-being of all Americans. As of  April 23, a total of $659 Billion has been placed into the Paycheck Protection Program and $20 Billion has been dedicated to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Fund.

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Updated April 10, 2020

Click Here for SBA PPP Application (updated 4/4/2020) 

SBA Lenders  serving Schuyler County: (updated 5/29/2020)

Chemung Canal Trust

Community Bank, N.A. (Not Currently Accepting Applications)

Elmira Savings Bank

Intuit/ Quickbooks


Tompkins Trust (Not Currently Accepting Applications)

Visions FCU (Not Currently Accepting Applications)

SBA Paycheck Protection Program

Click here to access the PPP Loan Usage Tracker

Click here to access the PPP Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to access the SBA PPP Guidance Information Sheet

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization including 501c3, 501c19, Religious Organizations,Tribal Businesses,, and Veteran Organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible if their individual locations employ less than 500 workers.

Click here to view the SBA PPP application

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Additional Forms

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan, click here.

May 4, 2020: Application is open for farms, dairies and other agricultural producers.

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee for businesses with ten or fewer employees) as part of the EIDL. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available quickly after submission of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Additional Forms that may be required (Do not complete unless directed by the SBA).


REOI Waterfront Redevelopment

The Village of Watkins Glen is located at the headwaters of Seneca Lake and is considered the gateway to New York State’s Finger Lakes Region. The beauty of its natural surroundings, authentic and welcoming atmosphere, and accessibility from major metro areas such as NYC, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Toronto as well as nearby cities of Rochester, Syracuse, and Erie, Pennsylvania, make the Village of Watkins Glen a prime location for developers and investors alike. The economies of Watkins Glen and Schuyler County rely heavily on tourism to and through the Finger Lakes Region. Recent tourism statistics estimate Schuyler County hosts over 3 million annual visitors drawn to attractions in the Village and surrounding area including internationally recognized Watkins Glen International Speedway and Cornell University, nationally recognized Watkins Glen State Park, pristine Seneca Lake, nationally-acclaimed Corning Museum of Glass, and the Seneca Lake Wine and Beer Trails. In 2012, the business community in partnership with the Village of Watkins Glen, Schuyler County, and SCOPED began the Project Seneca Initiative which includes redevelopment of the villages of Watkins Glen and Montour Falls as well as transformation of the waterfront in Watkins Glen. When the transformation is complete, investment is expected to total $400 million. Since 2012, the area has experienced capital investment greater than $190 million

Click Here to Learn More About the REOI Waterfront Redevelopment Opportunity


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2020 NY to Germany Trade Mission

April 20-24, 2020


Empire State Development’s (ESD) Global NY division will lead a trade mission to Hannover Messe 2020, the world’s largest trade fair for industrial technology, from April 20-24 in Hannover, Germany. Global NY is recruiting up to 9 New York State small businesses interested in exporting to this key global market that is seeking high-tech products and services from New York companies.

Eligible businesses can receive reimbursement from Global NY’s State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) for travel and lodging expenses. STEP is a Global NY program that is funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to increase the number of businesses entering the export market, and to increase the value of exports businesses are already producing.

Please see the attached flyer and factsheets for further details.

Application Details and Deadline:

The deadline for applying to participate in Hannover Messe is January 20, 2020.

Click here to complete the STEP application.

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$1.45 million available in grants to promote smart growth in communities and not-for-profits

Grants Support Age-Friendly Economic Development, Tourism, Infrastructure Enhancements and Community Revitalization Projects

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the availability of $1.45 million in grants to promote smart growth in communities and not-for-profits in the Adirondack and Catskill parks. DEC, in partnership with the Department of State and the Adirondack Park Agency, is soliciting applications for projects that link environmental protection, economic development, and community livability within the forest preserves. The focus for this round of Smart Growth Grant applications is creating age-friendly communities. Age-friendly projects help create more livable communities for people of all ages and applicants are encouraged to submit projects that enhance these characteristics.

“The Adirondack and Catskill parks are more than vacation spots with vast mountainous and scenic regions of protected lands,” said Commissioner Seggos. “The parks are composed of public parklands and private property, with more than 100,000 permanent residents and more than 100 municipal governments and hamlets. Smart growth projects enable the communities in the parks to capitalize on their unique natural settings to improve economic vitality, reinforce the assets of villages and hamlets, and help preserve their heritage.”

DEC’s Community Smart Growth Grants Program is modeled after the national “smart growth” movement and promotes growth that harmonizes economic development with the protection of the natural and built environment. For more information, including a list of previous projects awarded under the Smart Growth Grant Program, visit DEC’s website.

Today’s announcement marks the sixth round of Smart Growth Grants. Approximately $5 million has been awarded to communities since 2008 — $1.5 million in the Catskill Park, and $3.5 million in the Adirondack Park. Smart growth is a renewal of land use patterns that once came naturally in the parks and can provide the right balance between development and preservation for Adirondack and Catskill communities.

Funding for this round of Community Smart Growth Grants is provided by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and includes $1,050,000 for Adirondack Park projects and $400,000 for projects in the Catskill Park. Eligible projects include:

  • Developing municipal comprehensive plans;
  • Providing bike-friendly routes and amenities;
  • Improving or promoting local/regional museums and theaters;
  • Improving main street facades;
  • Refurbishing historic properties;
  • Providing community-based tourism programs and activities;
  • Creating new recreational opportunities;
  • Developing multi-use trails;
  • Installing informational signage and kiosks;
  • Enhancing parks and public spaces;
  • Updating land use laws;
  • Improving visitor centers;
  • Beautifying tourism sites; and
  • Providing sidewalks in hamlets and villages.

Applicants must be a county, town, or village located wholly or partially within the Adirondack or Catskill parks or a not-for-profit organization. Partnerships are encouraged. Projects submitted must be located wholly within the borders of the Adirondack Park or anywhere within a town or village that lies wholly or partially within the Catskill Park and must be consistent with the Smart Growth principles outlined in the grant program Request for Applications.

The Request for Applications is available through the NYS Grants Gateway and the deadline to apply is 3 p.m. June 7, 2019.

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NYS Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) is now open

Round 9 of the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) is now open for projects seeking support from up to $750 million of available funding via dozens of State agency programs. Applications will be accepted until July 26th at 4:00pm SHARP.

The press release below includes detailed information about how to apply for CFA funding, including these important highlights…

Below are the various resource materials available to learn more about the CFA process: