By Steve Solovic
With companies scrambling to manage their workforces during the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant increase in unemployment claims based on disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
Our Unemployment Cost Management team has been monitoring both federal and state-level changes related to unemployment insurance programs and claims management. We hosted a webinar on April 3 to share the latest information we have, as well as tips and best practices for unemployment claims management.
There are 16 sections of the CARES Act that focus on unemployment. Guidance is only just starting to come out from the DOL; in the webinar, we covered three topics that seem most important for employers to understand, essentially helping address: how much can someone collect, for how long and what are the employer responsibilities?
One other element we touched on that was clarified in the DOL advice issued on Thursday is around short-time compensation programs. These are programs that incent employers to not fully lay off their workforce, but rather reduce hours and keep employees job-attached. These programs require specific application and approval from the states. The CARES Act provides 100% funding for payments under STC programs through December 31, 2020.
So, who is eligible to collect benefits under the CARES Act? The legislation is pretty generous (although exceptions may apply based on state) and in general, the following employees could collect:
Employers are still responsible for:
Bottom line, there are a lot of moving parts at the moment. Employers should continue to pay close attention to the new guidance issued by the states in order to best serve their impacted employees, while also being mindful of the potentially changing status of their employer tax accounts.
For additional information on other potential impacts and some of the activity we are seeing at the state level, along with some common questions we’re hearing from employers, watch our free webinar. Have questions or need assistance with your unemployment claims? Equifax customers may reach out to their Unemployment Insurance Consultant or Account Manager. If you are not a current customer, please contact a member of our Unemployment Solutions Sales team for additional information.