As COVID-19 layoffs pile up, workers find jobs by adjusting


Hello. I’m Rachel Schnalzer, LA Times Business editor in charge of public engagement, with our weekly newsletter on how you and your bank account can weather the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for what might happen. look like the economy on the other side.

The layoffs caused by the pandemic that started in spring are still sweeping california, leaving people scrambling for new jobs and side scrambling. And a pair of announcements made on Monday will only intensify workers’ need for flexibility: Governor Gavin Newsom ordered a series of restrictions that are forcing many California businesses to shut down again, and the LA Unified School District has decided do not reopen campuses when the school year starts next month, which means parents who still have jobs have to keep juggling work and childcare.

If you are struggling with job loss or other financial stressors, it is worth considering how to adapt your professional skills to earn some extra money. My colleague Ronald D. White, along with other Times reporters, spoke to several Californians in the ways they jostle each other to get by during the pandemic. Here are some strategies you can try, inspired by their stories:

◆ Adapt a skill you already have: Chef Cal Peternell’s restaurant opened in September 2019 and was still struggling to make a profit when the coronavirus hit California and destroyed his business. So he turned towards a new economic model: He goes to people’s homes to cook intimate dinners, charging $ 65 for a three-course meal for two. Will Peternell continue his work as a personal chef? “It may require some capital investment if I really want to try this,” he says.

Take your abilities online: Before the pandemic, magician Dean Apple performed primarily at corporate events and private parties. Now, Apple is targeting a different audience: children. He was hired by day camps to teach magic and do online shows, and won $ 2,400 for a month of videos for a school district in Alaska. “You learn to adapt the magic to the current situation,” he says. “I kinda like virtual stuff.”

Make a change: Advertising director Jimmy Smith has won numerous awards and accolades, but he has never been able to escape the racism he considers endemic to the advertising industry. So when the pandemic started to hurt his agency’s revenue, he decided to go ahead with his diversification plan, which involves making products “rather than always waiting for a customer call.” A concept he is seeking to patent: a pair of augmented / virtual reality glasses.

◆ Use extra time to volunteer: With galas on hiatus, marketing and events organizer Christina Jimenez has found a meaningful way to fill her free time: growing food for the less fortunate. Jimenez and three friends have started a non-profit organization that will use 5,500 square feet of donated land, soil, compost, plants and trees to create a community garden in Arleta and provide free vegetables to people in the surrounding area. . “It’s nice to be able to help feed people,” she says.

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◆ Los Angeles $ 103 Million Rent Relief Program accepts applications until Friday, reports the City News Service. The program aims to help people who are experiencing financial difficulties because of the pandemic. If you are interested in applying, visit the program site.

?? Some good news from journalist Deborah Netburn: The pandemic can help create better bosses – those who talk less and listen more. Netburn explains how much managers have changed their style in response to the coronavirus.

?? ICYMI: IRS is in backlog hell, writes Liz Weston, Certified Financial Planner. Why? Closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, years of congressional budget cuts and the effort needed to distribute stimulus checks, Weston says.

?? Black and Latino borrowers could suffer the most as Trump throws a payday loan rule, according to columnist David Lazarus. Lazare explains why he sees payday loans as a form of “economic bondage” that can disproportionately harm people of color.

?? Are you a business owner or an aspiring business owner in Ventura County? The Collaboration for Economic Development launched Business Forward Ventura County, intended to serve as resource for entrepreneurs and existing businesses.

Reader question

A reader asked us: Can California workers who have been laid off following a COVID-19 slowdown turn down a return-to-work offer and continue to receive federal and state unemployment benefits?

It depends.

I contacted the California Department of Employment Development for more information. According to the EDD, “an individual is disqualified for unemployment insurance [benefits] if they refuse to accept an “appropriate” job when offered to them. ”

Tia Koonse, head of legal and policy research at UCLA’s Labor Center, backed up this claim, saying, “People are kind of screwed if they’re afraid to go back to work, but their employer is able to. to offer “suitable employment”.

ESD determines whether a particular job is “appropriate” on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the risk inherent in the job as well as the health of each worker. If an employer has complied with California reopening requirements and all government regulations, the person could be excluded from unemployment insurance benefits for a period of time if they refuse to return to work.

However, if a worker is over 65, is immunocompromised, or has some other serious health problem, their refusal to work may be considered just cause., and would therefore be able to receive unemployment benefits. here is a list of higher risk factors listed by the California Department of Public Health.

Additionally, if a worker has “school-aged children or seniors whose daycare programs have closed due to the pandemic, they may remain on UI or PUA,” Koonse explains. “There are other options for staying home too … disability, paid family leave, paid sick leave. It’s really on a case-by-case basis. ”

If you refuse to work, you must report it on your bi-weekly attestation form. EDD will review your request and may contact you and / or your employer for more information.

Want to know more about unemployment? David Lightman at the Sacramento Bee addressed a bunch of others frequently asked questions this week.

As always, if you have any questions about work, business, or finance in the COVID-19 era, send an email [email protected] and we can use it in a future newsletter.

One more thing

Many students preparing for the fall semester make housing decisions without knowing whether their classes will be in-person, virtual, or a mix of the two. Corn if you (or a student you know) need to move out of an apartment or dorm, you may have options. Lila Seidman goes down What to do.

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