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Unemployment/Paid Leave Information

There are some new Acts passed by Congress and signed by President Trump dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.  It is important to understand when this applies to you and when it doesn't.  

  1. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requires CERTAIN EMPLOYERS to give employees up to 80 hours of paid sick leave in connection to COVID-19.  These rules only apply to employers with LESS THAN 500 employees.  Unfortunately, some of our biggest signatory contractors (GLDD and Weeks Marine, for example) are exempt from this policy and DO NOT have to provide additional paid sick leave for COVID-19.  Please refer to your employer's own COVID-19 Response Plan to determine if they have extended their paid  leave policy. For employers that are required to provide the leave outlined in the FFCRA, the following guidelines are in effect:


    • up to 80 hours of paid sick leave (at regular rate of pay) if an employee is quarantined by local government or healthcare provider or is experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 and is seeking a diagnosis of COVID-19.  


    • up to 80 hours of paid sick leave (at 2/3 regular rate of pay) if employee must care for a family member with COVID-19 (or quarantined by a local government or healthcare provider).


    • Up to 12 weeks (40 hours per week) of expanded paid family and medical leave at 2/3 regular rate of pay (up to $200/day) if employee must care for child whose school or daycare is closed because of COVID-19. 

    Click here for more information about the Families First Act

  2. The CARES Act expands unemployment coverage for many Americans, including additional benefit money from the federal government and easing restrictions on who is eligible in some cases.
  • Anyone eligible and receiving their state's unemployment compensation will now also receive an additional $600/month from the federal government (until July 31, 2020).  You don't have to do anything other than file for your state's unemployment compensation to receive this additional benefit.  If you are already receiving your state's unemployment compensation, the additional federal money will simply be added to the weekly amount you collect. 
  • The Act allows states to expand the number of weeks you can collect unemployment compensation.  If your state benefit weeks run out, you are still eligible for the $600 federal payment for an additional 13 weeks. 
  • The Act allows states to waive the traditional 1 week waiting period. 
  • In most states, you are NOT eligible for unemployment compensation if you voluntarily leave a job because of fear of possible exposure to COVID-19. 
  • If you must care for a family member who is sick with COVID-19 or are the main caretaker for a child whose school or daycare is closed because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits.  This may be through the traditional unemployment benefits in your state (in addition to the $600 federal addition) or through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program (which includes the $600 federal contribution).  In order to apply for PUA, you must have first been denied unemployment benefits from your state.  Once you are denied, you will have the option to apply for PUA.  

Click here for more unemployment information and state links to apply


"Labor never quits. We never give up the fight. No matter how tough the odds, no matter how long it takes." ~ George Meany

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