COVID-19 & Unemployment
We understand that to due to the rapidly evolving situation regarding COVID-19, many of our clients have questions regarding what the current circumstances means for their business.
We have created this page to provide updates as they become available.
3/30/20 The CARES Act per The Department of Unemployment Assistance:
The federal government recently enacted the CARES Act, which provides unemployment compensation to individuals not covered under regular Massachusetts unemployment law, such as those who are self-employed or paid by 1099s, those who have recently exhausted their weeks of unemployment benefits, and those who do not have sufficient earnings over the last year to qualify for state unemployment.
The CARES Act also extends the number of available weeks of benefits for all claimants, and supplements all claimants’ weekly benefit amount by $600.
The Department of Unemployment Assistance is awaiting federal guidance regarding the CARES Act’s application requirements, business rules, eligibility requirements, exceptions, and technical requirements. Until that guidance is issued, benefits under the CARES Act are not yet available in Massachusetts and claimants may not apply for such benefits through UI Online at this time.
Updates about when CARES Act benefits will be available, and about when and how you should apply for those benefits will be posted at mass.gov/unemployment/covid-19 as soon as they are available.
3/16/20 per The Department of Unemployment Assistance:
The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) and the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA), in coordination with the US Department of Labor (USDOL), are taking a series of actions to assist workers and employers:
For current unemployment claims:
All requirements regarding attending seminars at the MassHire career centers have been suspended.
Missing deadlines due to effects of COVID-19 will be considered good cause, and lateness will be excused.
All appeal hearings will be held by telephone only.
The Department of Labor issued guidance to the states instructing state agencies to apply existing law flexibly. Under the DOL guidance, DUA may now pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by a civil authority or medical professional or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member and does not intend to or is not allowed to return to work. The worker need not provide medical documentation and need only be available for work when and as able.
To assist individuals who cannot work due to the impact of COVID-19, the Administration is filing emergency legislation that will allow new claims to be paid more quickly by waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits.
EOLWD and DUA are also filing emergency regulations that will allow people impacted by COVID-19 to collect unemployment in the following circumstances:
The workplace is shut down and expects to reopen in four or fewer weeks. Workers must remain in contact with their employer and be available for any work their employer may have for them that they are able to do, but do not otherwise need to be looking for work.
An employer may extend the period of the shut-down to eight weeks, and the employees will remain eligible for the longer period under the same conditions described above.
If necessary, DUA may extend these time periods.
Employers who are impacted by COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day grace period to file quarterly reports and pay contributions.
The pending federal legislation proposes further relief including additional money for unemployment benefits, and relief to employers for charges related to unemployment benefits paid due to COVID-19.
For more information, head to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-directives