Expansion of Unemployment Benefits

As most of you are aware, the president signed into law the Cares Act on March 28th.  Below is a summary of the items included in the legislation that apply to individuals. More legislation is expected so we will continue to update you as we have more information.  You can also see the Corona virus section of our website for this & other related information.

The size and scope of unemployment benefits is expanded under this bill. It includes relief for workers who are

self-employed, as well as independent contractors. These changes are temporary.

  • Provides $250 billion to expand unemployment benefits
  • Makes sure self-employed and independent contractors, like Uber drivers and gig workers, can receive unemployment during the public health emergency. The bill also includes support to stateand local governments and nonprofits so they can pay unemployment to their employees
  • Makes benefits more generous by adding a $600/week across-the-board payment increase through the end of July. In addition, for those who need it, the bill provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits beyond what states typically allow

Unemployment insurance eligibility is expanded to those who are not eligible for regular compensation or extended benefits under state or federal law, or previously passed pandemic emergency unemployment compensation.To qualify, an individual must self-certify that s/he is otherwise able and available to work but cannot for one of the following reasons:

  • Diagnosis of COVID-19 or is experiencing the systems and seeking a medical diagnosis
  • Member of household has COVID-19
  • Individual is providing care for a family member or member of household who has been diagnosed with COVID-1
  • Child or other person in household for whom the individual is the primary caregiver is unable to attend school or other facility because of COVID-19 and such attendance is necessary for that individual to attend work
  • Individual is unable to reach place of employment because of mandatory quarantine
  • Individual has been advised by a medical professional to self-quarantine due to COVID-19 concerns
  • Individual was scheduled to start a job and doesn’t have a job or unable to reach job due to COVID-19
  • Individual has become the primary source of income or major support for household due to head of household dying due to COVID-19
  • Individual has quit job as a direct result of COVID-19
  • Place of business is closed due to COVID-19
  • Individual is self-employed, is seeking part-time employment, doesn’t have sufficient work history, or otherwise doesn’t qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits
  • This does not include individuals who can telework with pay or who are receiving paid sick leave or other leave benefits due to other provisions in COVID-19 relief.

 

This assistance is available beginning Jan. 27, 2020 and goes until Dec. 31, 2020 with a 39-week maximum or an individual receiving assistance.

The bill also allows for states to waive their one week waiting period for unemployment benefits and the federal government will reimburse them for that week, thus incentivizing states to provide an immediate benefit.

Paid Leave for Rehired Employees

The CARES Act amends the expanded paid leave requirements for employers in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to include employees who are laid off and then rehired by an employer.

Specifically, an employee who was laid off by their employer on March 1, 2020 or later, had worked for the employer for at least 30 of the previous 60 days before being laid off, and was then rehired by the employer will be eligible for the paid family and sick leave benefits