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Changes to Unemployment Compensation by State  Due to COVID-19

EverythingHR Staff | 03/24/2020 | Blog

There is no facet of HR that is not impacted by the Coronavirus. Based on the calls coming into EverythingHR’s Helpline, one of the top areas of concern is Unemployment Compensation. This impacts both the employer and the employee in many ways. Following is a state-by-state summary of the adjustments made to UI compensation in response to the global crisis. Links to the state UI agencies are included.

Changes to Unemployment Compensation by State

Alabama. Waived one-week waiting period and “able and available” and work search requirements for individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19, quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency, laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, or caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19. https://www.labor.alabama.gov/covid19resources.aspx

Alaska. Bill passed by house that would relax restrictions on unemployment aid for Alaskans laid off or seeing reduced hours because of the coronavirus pandemic. Pending in Senate. https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

Arizona. Unemployment insurance benefits may be available to individuals who are involuntarily unemployed as a result of COVID-19. https://des.az.gov/services/coronavirus

Arkansas. Governor Asa Hutchinson has directed the Arkansas Department of Commerce to waive the one-week waiting period. https://govstatus.egov.com/ar-covid-19

California. Waived the one-week waiting period so unemployed workers may collect benefits for the first week they are out of work, and the California Employment Development Department has indicated that reduced hours because of COVID-19 will qualify for partial wage replacement benefits, too. https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

Colorado. If an employer closed or reduced an employee’s hours to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the individual can file or reopen an unemployment claim. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdle/information-and-resources-coronavirus

Connecticut. Waived work search requirements. Individuals still must be physically able and available for full time work, unless the individual has a note from a physician stating that the individual is only available for part time work. If business has slowed, the Department of Labor offers a SharedWork program as an alternative to a layoff. http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/DOLCOVIDFAQ.PDF

Delaware. New guidelines enhance the flexibility of Delaware’s unemployment insurance program to provide cash assistance to many Delaware workers whose employment has been impacted directly by coronavirus [COVID-19] and who would not typically qualify for benefits. https://news.delaware.gov/2020/03/17/the-delaware-department-of-labor-expands-unemployment-benefits-to-workers-affected-by-the-covid-19-pandemic/

District of Columbia. Employee eligibility for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits have been expanded while the Mayor’s declaration of a public health emergency is in effect. https://dccouncil.us/covid-19-response-emergency-amendment-act-of-2020/

Florida. State has indicated that Reemployment Assistance may be available for those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency, laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, or caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19. https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19

Georgia. Work search requirements waived. Employers must file partial claims online on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily reduce work hours or there is no work available for a short period. Employer account will not be charged for certain benefits paid for unemployment due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, including partial claims. https://dol.georgia.gov/blog/new-information-filing-unemployment-partial-claims-and-reemployment-services

Hawaii. The one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance benefits is waived for those unemployed because of COVID-19. https://labor.hawaii.gov/ui/files/2020/03/COVID-19-Labor-Benefits-Fact-Sheet_20200319.pdf https://governor.hawaii.gov/newsroom/latest-news/proper-use-of-covid-19-tests-imperative-there-is-a-current-shortage-of-hand-sanitizers-and-toilet-paper-in-hawaii-in-part-because-of-the-publics-over-reaction-to-covid-19-the-hawai/

Idaho. No changes to unemployment yet, but state has provided COVID-related material at https://labor.idaho.gov/dnn/COVID-19

Illinois. Under emergency rules IDES recently adopted, individuals temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 do not have to register with the employment service. They are considered to be actively seeking work as long as they are prepared to return to the job as soon as the employer reopens. Those confined to their homes because of a COVID-19 diagnosis, a quarantine, or to care for a family member with COVID-19 are considered to meet the requirement to be unemployed through “no fault of their own.” https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/COVID-19-and-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx

Indiana. If a person’s employment has been interrupted or ended due to COVID-19, they should file for UI and their claim will be evaluated. Applications must be filed online. https://www.in.gov/dwd/19.htm

Iowa. Individuals are eligible if ill with COVID-19 and unable to work due to sickness or quarantine, or out of work due to: caring for a family member with COVID exposure/illness; loss of childcare or school closures; employer shutdown (temporary layoffs have always qualified), or a need to self-quarantine need. Work search requirement is waived for these circumstances. Employers will not be charged for benefits relating to COVID-19. https://www.in.gov/dwd/19.htm

Kansas. Waived one-week waiting period. Requirements to be able and available for work and to look for work may be waived as well. Employers forced to lay off employees temporarily may make a “spreadsheet filing” on their behalf. https://www.dol.ks.gov/covid19response https://www.dol.ks.gov/docs/default-source/default-document-library/ui-covid19-faqs.pdf?sfvrsn=3b4c881f_12

Kentucky. Waived one-week waiting period. Discretion to waive standards for ability to work, availability to work, work search activities and suitability for work. https://governor.ky.gov/attachments/20200316_Executive-Order_2020-235.pdf

Louisiana. Waived one-week waiting period and work search requirements. http://www.laworks.net/Downloads/PR/COVID_19_Information.pdf

Maine. Expanded eligibility for benefits to people who are affected by COVID-19 but have not lost their job. https://www.maine.gov/labor/covid19/

Maryland. Individuals eligible if employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID–19, the individual is quarantined due to COVID–19 with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over, or the individual leaves employment due to a risk of COVID–19 or to care for a family member due to COVID–19. https://www.dllr.state.md.us/employment/uicovidfaqs.shtml

Massachusetts. Waived one-week waiting period. https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-unemployment-information

Michigan. Benefits were increased from 20 to 26 weeks, the application eligibility period was increased from 14 to 28 days, and the normal in-person registration and work search requirements were suspended. Unemployment benefits extended to workers who have an unanticipated family care responsibility, and those who are sick, quarantined, or immunocompromised and who do not have access to paid family and medical leave or are laid off. https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/MIEOG/2020/03/16/file_attachments/1401944/EO%202020-10.pdf

Minnesota. Waived one-week waiting period. Individuals eligible if a healthcare professional or health authority recommended or ordered them to avoid contact with others, they have been ordered not to come to their workplace due to an outbreak of a communicable disease, or child care is unavailable due to school or daycare closures. https://www.uimn.org/applicants/needtoknow/news-updates/covid-19.jsp

Mississippi. Workers who are not able to work due to COVID-19 will be eligible to file for unemployment benefits. https://mdes.ms.gov/news/2020/03/20/mississippi-announces-support-for-workers-impacted-by-covid-19/

Missouri. If there is a layoff or temporary shutdown, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the eligibility criteria. Weekly work search requirements are not required when there is a recall date within 8 weeks of the temporary layoff. Employers may be able to avoid a layoff with a partial shutdown by applying for the Missouri Shared Work program. https://mdes.ms.gov/news/2020/03/20/mississippi-announces-support-for-workers-impacted-by-covid-19/

Montana. Workers instructed by employers to leave work or not report to work due to COVID-19, workers who must quarantine, and workers who need to take care of a family member due to COVID-19 are eligible for benefits. Emergency rules allow DLI to waive the one week waiting period. http://dli.mt.gov/employer-covid-19

Nebraska. Waived one-week waiting period and work search requirements. Department of Labor will temporarily waive charges incurred by employers when employees file claims related to COVID-19. https://dol.nebraska.gov/PressRelease/Details/141

Nevada. Waived one-week waiting period and work search requirement. http://gov.nv.gov/News/Press/2020/Governor_Sisolak_Waives_Work_Search_Requirement_and_Wait_Period_for_Unemployment_Insurance_Benefits/

https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/information-for/businesses-workforce/

New Hampshire. Waived one-week waiting period. Certain other requirements waived for individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, quarantined, caring for a diagnosed or quarantined family member, or caring for a family member due to a school or daycare closing. These benefits not charged to employer’s account. https://www.governor.nh.gov/news-media/emergency-orders/documents/emergency-order-5.pdf

New Jersey. Individuals eligible if employer closes or worker has fewer hours due to low demand. Employees who have COVID-19, were exposed and quarantined, or can’t work because school or daycare closed may use earned sick leave. https://www.nj.gov/labor/worker-protections/earnedsick/covid.shtml

New Mexico. Waived able, available, and work search requirements for up to 4 weeks for employees who are laid off, whose hours are reduced, who are quarantined, or whose family member is quarantined. https://www.dws.state.nm.us/COVID-19-Info

New York. Waived the one-week waiting period for people out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines. State has expanded eligibility for paid sick leave and disability benefits. https://labor.ny.gov/ui/how_to_file_claim.shtm

North Carolina. Waived one-week waiting period. Discretion to waive “able and available” to work, work search, actively seeking work, and “lack of work” requirements. Employers’ accounts will not be charged for benefits related to COVID-19. https://des.nc.gov/need-help/covid-19-information

North Dakota. If an employer shuts down or lays off employees due to lack of work caused by the impact of COVID-19 on the business, these employees will generally be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. https://www.jobsnd.com/news/unemployment-insurance-and-covid-19-frequently-asked-questions

Ohio. Waived the one-week waiting period for all eligible individuals. Unemployment benefits are available for eligible individuals who are requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19, even if not actually diagnosed with COVID-19. http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

Oklahoma. Waived one-week waiting period. Employees given a return to work date do not have to search for other work during the layoff period. Employers may file a mass claim for a temporary shutdown involving 25 or more employees. https://www.ok.gov/oesc/Claimants/COVID-19_Message.html

Oregon. Enacted temporary rules to give more flexibility in providing unemployment benefits to COVID-19 affected workers. Unemployment Insurance benefits are available during temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 situations. These benefits occur for employees whose employer stops operation for a short period of time, such as cleaning following a coronavirus exposure, or by government requirement. https://www.oregon.gov/employ/Pages/COVID-19.aspx

Pennsylvania. The one-week waiting period has been suspended, and work search ad work registration requirements have been waived for all claimants. https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/UC-COVID19-FAQs.aspx

Rhode Island. Waived one-week waiting period. Individuals under quarantine qualify for Temporary Disability Insurance. http://www.dlt.ri.gov/pdfs/COVID-19%20Workplace%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

South Carolina. If an employer must shut down operations, lay off employees, or reduce hours, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits. Employers that have a temporary shutdown or are experiencing a slow or smaller workload than normal can request permission to file claims on their workers’ behalf for up to six weeks of benefits, during which the work search requirement is waived. https://dew.sc.gov/covid-hub

South Dakota. Workers who are temporarily unemployed (up to 10 weeks) and expected to return to work with their employer are eligible, and not required to actively seek work each week. Workers sent home because they are considered a risk also are likely eligible. https://dlr.sd.gov/ra/covid_19_ra_eligibility.aspx

Tennessee. An individual who is quarantined or ordered to isolate by a medical professional or health authority may receive unemployment benefits if all other eligibility requirements are met and the individual intends to return to the job. Employers closing temporarily should file a mass claim. https://www.tn.gov/workforce/covid-19.html

Texas. Waived work search requirements for all claimants and the waiting week for those claimants affected by COVID-19. https://twc.texas.gov/news/covid-19-resources-employers

Vermont. Waived “able and available” requirements when a claimant is isolated or quarantined at the direction of a health care official due to potential or verified COVID-19 exposure. Waived work search requirements for employees affected by a temporary closure of a business who were provided with a return to work date within 10 weeks, and for individuals in isolation/quarantine. https://labor.vermont.gov/covid19

Virginia. Waived one-week waiting period and weekly job search requirement. http://www.vec.virginia.gov/ http://www.vec.virginia.gov/qa-coronavirus

Washington. An individual may be eligible if following guidance issued by a medical professional or public health official to self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure, and the individual is not receiving paid sick leave from the employer. Employees who are laid off, or whose hours are reduced, temporarily may request “standby” status. Employers may request a relief of benefit charges due to a business closure which is directly related to possible contamination at the business site. https://esd.wa.gov/newsroom/covid-19

West Virginia. Discretion to waive one-week waiting period, “able and available” requirement, and work search requirement. Benefits are available to eligible individuals who are requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined due to COVID-19, even if they are not actually diagnosed. https://workforcewv.org/covid19

Wisconsin. Waived work search and availability requirements. https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/covid19/public/ui.htm

Wyoming. If an employer must shut down operations or lay off employees, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the monetary criteria and the federal weekly eligibility criteria. If a layoff is temporary, the employer may request that the employee be job-attached for up to 12 weeks so the employee can collect unemployment benefits without having to look for other work. http://wyomingworkforce.org/_docs/data/epidemiology/2020-03-covid19-faq.pdf

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