Table of Contents
- 1 Am I eligible for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- 2 Can self-employed individuals qualify for PUA benefits?
- 3 Who do I do if my employer refuses to provide me sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- 4 Can I get unemployment assistance if I am partially employed under the CARES Act?
Am I eligible for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic?
See full answerEach state sets its own unemployment insurance benefits eligibility guidelines, but you usually qualify if you:
- Are unemployed through no fault of your own. In most states, this means you have to have separated from your last job due to a lack of available work.
- Meet work and wage requirements. You must meet your state’s requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a “base period.” (In most states, this is usually the first four out of the last five completed calendar quarters before the time that your claim is filed.)
- Meet any additional state requirements. Find details of your own state’s program.
Am I eligible for PUA benefits if I quit my job because of COVID-19?
There are multiple qualifying circumstances related to COVID-19 that can make an individual eligible for PUA, including if the individual quits his or her job as a direct result of COVID-19. Quitting to access unemployment benefits is not one of them.
How suitable employment is connected to unemployment insurance eligibility?
Most state unemployment insurance laws include language defining suitable employment. Typically, suitable employment is connected to the previous job’s wage level, type of work, and the claimant’s skills.Refusing an offer of suitable employment (as defined in state law) without good cause will often disqualify individuals from continued eligibility for unemployment compensation.
Can self-employed individuals qualify for PUA benefits?
States are permitted to provide Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to individuals who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment compensation.
How can I receive unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 crisis?
To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.
Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits if I quite my job during COVID-19 pandemic?
No, typically that employee would not be eligible for regular unemployment compensation or PUA. Eligibility for regular unemployment compensation varies by state but generally does not include those who voluntarily leave employment.
Who do I do if my employer refuses to provide me sick leave during the COVID-19 pandemic?
If you believe that your employer is covered and is improperly refusing you paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, the Department encourages you to raise and try to resolve your concerns with your employer. Regardless of whether you discuss your concerns with your employer, if you believe your employer is improperly refusing you paid sick leave, you may call 1-866-4US-WAGE (1-866-487-9243).
Can I remain on unemployment if my employer has reopened?
No. As a general matter, individuals receiving regular unemployment compensation must act upon any referral to suitable employment and must accept any offer of suitable employment. Barring unusual circumstances, a request that a furloughed employee return to his or her job very likely constitutes an offer of suitable employment that the employee must accept.
Are self-employed, independent contractor and gig workers eligible for the new COVID-19 unemployment benefits?
See full answerSelf-employed workers, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and people who have not worked long enough to qualify for the other types of unemployment assistance may still qualify for PUA if they are otherwise able to work and available for work within the meaning of the applicable state law and certify that they are unemployed, partially unemployed or unable or unavailable to work for one of the following COVID-19 reasons:You have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have symptoms, and are seeking a medical diagnosis.A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.You are caring for a family member of a member of your household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.A child or other person in your household for whom you have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of COVID-19 and the school or facility care is required for you to work.
Can I get unemployment assistance if I am partially employed under the CARES Act?
A gig economy worker, such as a driver for a ride-sharing service, is eligible for PUA provided that he or she is unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work for one or more of the qualifying reasons provided for by the CARES Act.
Is there additional relief available if my regular unemployment compensation benefits do not provide adequate support?
See full answerThe new law creates the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC), which provides an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting regular UC (including Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE) and Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Servicemembers (UCX), PEUC, PUA, Extended Benefits (EB), Short Time Compensation (STC), Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), and payments under the Self Employment Assistance (SEA) program). This benefit is available for weeks of unemployment beginning after the date on which your state entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor and ending with weeks of unemployment ending on or before July 31, 2020.
What should I do if I don’t provide paid sick leave to my employees?
Employers that do not currently offer sick leave to some or all of their employees may want to draft non-punitive “emergency sick leave” policies. Ensure that sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of and understand these policies.