COVID-19: Resources on Federal and State Policy and Assistance

UC Berkeley Labor Center

Part of the Labor Center’s Covid-19 Series: Resources, Data, and Analysis for California
Last updated 7/1/2020

In the coming weeks and months, the Labor Center will continually review and update this resource list with information on new COVID-19 legislation, regulations, analysis, and tools. See also our resources on Understanding Federal Legislation.

California State Government Sources

The Office of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Newsroom provides links to the governor’s press releases, executive orders, media advisories, proclamation, and “On the Record” column.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California from the California Department of Public Health is a central resource for information and assistance related to the pandemic. Includes links to programs for workers and businesses and county COVID-19 web pages.

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) Resources for Employers and Workers from the California Labor Commissioner’s Office provides extensive guidance for both workers and employees on paid sick leave, disability and unemployment, paid family leave, workplace health and safety, employment assistance, more.

Coronavirus Outbreak Resources and Information for Workers from the California Labor Federation compiles state and federal resources and laws, Executive Orders from Governor Newsom, resources for undocumented workers, resources from health care unions in California, much more.

COVID-19 Series: Federal Actions Affecting California is an ongoing series from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, with overviews, analysis, and discussion of possible state action in response to federal assistance.

The CARES program provides new federal funding for Short-Time Compensation programs, also known as Work Sharing. California’s Work Sharing program is eligible for full federal funding. Learn more about work sharing in this NELP report, Work Sharing: An Alternative to Layoffs.


Federal Government Sources

Coronavirus Resources from the U.S. Department of Labor provides links to information on workplace safety; wages, hours, leave; unemployment; much more. Covers both new and ongoing programs.


Know Your Rights, for Workers

Coronavirus – Frequently Asked Questions from Legal Rights at Work, available in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese, covers COVID-related questions on unemployment, disability, discrimination, wage replacement for undocumented workers, more. See also Undocumented Workers’ Employment Rights.

A Roundup of California Worker Rights in the Time of COVID-19 from CELA Voice, California Employment Lawyers Association, provides detailed information with FAQs and links.

The Worker’s Guide: Your Rights During the Coronavirus from the Western Poverty Law Center, provides detailed and practical information on worker rights and benefits related to sick leave, family and medical leave, and unemployment assistance.


Health and Safety

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Worker Health Resources from the UC Berkeley Labor Occupational Health Program. Includes federal guidance documents, sector-specific resources, workers’ rights to a safe workplace, sick leave, more. Links to resources in numerous languages.

Worker Safety & Health During COVID-19 Pandemic: Rights & Resources. This policy toolkit from NELP is for workers, their advocates and allies, and policymakers to help ensure that workers are protected.



Understanding the Impact of Key Provisions of COVID-19 Relief Bills on Immigrant Communities from the National Immigration Law Center is a policy brief on the impact of FFCRA and CARES on low-income immigrants and urgently needed improvements.

COVID-19 Resource Guide for Immigrants in California from the California Immigrant Policy Center includes information and resource links for California immigrants with various types of status, as well as links to COVID-19 information in numerous languages.

Immigrant Eligibility for Public Programs During COVID-19 from Protecting Immigrant Families is an inventory of federal support programs, eligibility rules related to immigrants, and implications for the public charge rule.

Immigrant Workers’ Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance. This fact sheet from NELP provides clear and detailed information on immigrants and unemployment eligibility.

Undocumented Workers’ Employment Rights from Legal Aid at Work discusses California state programs available to undocumented workers, including State Disability Insurance, Paid Family Leave, Workers’ Compensation, and Paid Sick Days, as well as how federal workers’ rights apply to undocumented workers.

A List of Relief Funds for Undocumented Workers in California from Legal Aid at Work describes known financial assistance programs for undocumented workers who have become unemployed or lost income due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The list is in English and Spanish.


Domestic Workers

The Hand in Hand Domestic Employers Network has put out a fact sheet, “Shelter in Place? Stay-at-Home? What it Means for Domestic Workers & Employers,” discussing implications of these types of executive orders for in-home workers like nannies, home care attendants, house cleaners, and gardeners.


Gig Workers

Note: Gig workers who are self-employed qualify for a new unemployment program under the CARES Act, called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. At the same time, many gig workers who work for app-based companies may be considered employees under California law (AB 5).

What freelancers need to know about the coronavirus, from Freelancers Union, summarizes new government relief programs and links to additional information and applications. This page also links to COVID-19 Resources, from the Gig Workers Collective, with links to national and state-level assistance for gig workers and others.

COVID-19 Resources: Info for gig workers and consumers from Gig Workers Rising includes links to assistance available to gig workers and safety tips for grocery and delivery workers and consumers.

Information Regarding the Unemployment Insurance Application for Workers at App-Based Companies in California from the Partnership for Working Families provides practical information on how to apply for unemployment benefits.



Key Federal COVID-19 Relief Programs For Unions, AFL-CIO Central Labor Bodies, & 501(c)(3)s. Prepared by the AFL-CIO, this resource summarizes federal relief programs and their applicability to unions, CLCs, and non-profit organizations.


Small Businesses and Non-Profit Organizations

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act from the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Office of Senator Ben Cardin. Overview, FAQs, links to other resources and program applications, applicability to non-profit organizations.

Understanding the Paycheck Protection Program from Economic Innovation Group provides a detailed overview of the CARES Act’s forgivable loan program for small businesses and nonprofits.

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) from the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) outlines federal and state resources for small businesses. Includes links to assistance application portals for state and federal programs.

The Small Business Majority is posting Daily Updates for Small Businesses, with links to webinars and resources. See also their Venturize COVID-19 Resources webpage, with more information on emergency loans, grants, leave and unemployment policy, and more.

Nonprofits and Coronavirus, COVID-19 from the National Council of Nonprofits includes a webinar and slides on “Federal Coronavirus Relief Bills: What Do They Mean for Nonprofits?” and many other resources for non-profits.



Major Consumer Protections Announced in Response to COVID-19 from the National Consumer Law Center covers consumer protections in the CARES Act and other federal policies on issues including foreclosure, eviction, mortgages, students loans, and price gouging. The page also tracks state limitations on foreclosures and eviction. Homeowners can look up if their loans are through Fannie Mae here, and through Freddie Mac here.


Health Care

Covered California’s Special Enrollment Period Due to Coronavirus allows workers and families to enroll in individual health insurance marketplace plans through June 30, 2020. After June 30, until October 15, 2020, people can enroll if they experience a qualifying event, including loss of job-based coverage. Enrollment in Medi-Cal is available year round. People can check their eligibility for Medi-Cal or a subsidized rate through Covered California here.

Modified Adjusted Gross Income under the Affordable Care Act — Updated with Information for COVID-19 Policies, from the UC Berkeley Labor Center, explains how to calculate MAGI for purposes of applying to Covered California or Medi-Cal.

County Medically Indigent Programs from Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) tracks California county programs that provide access to health care services for uninsured individuals regardless of immigration status, tracks these and explains eligibility guidelines.

COVID-19: The Federal and California Responses fact sheet, from Health Access, discusses the health aspects of the four federal relief bills as well as actions taken by Governor Newsom and California state agencies.