Last Updated: 6.30.2020 @ 11:30 am
DISCLAIMER: The following information is a guide, not intended to be used as legal advice, and no attorney client relationship is established by any communication through this website. Because every situation and every workplace is different we ask that you contact us with specific questions.
State Unemployment Aid
- Ohio’s current one-week waiting period before an individual can receive unemployment will be waived.
- Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will waive employer penalties for late reporting and payments for the next quarter to assist employers impacted by the lack of staff availability.
- Those that are quarantined by a doctor or by their employer will be considered unemployed and will be eligible for unemployment benefits.
- Those currently receiving unemployment benefits will not be asked to show they are seeking work during this period.
- Employees imposing self-quarantine who are not showing symptoms will not be, in most cases, eligible for unemployment benefits.
- Visit www.unemployment.ohio.gov for additional information.
- On June 16, 2020 Governor DeWine signed Executive Order 2020-24D. The Executive Order stated that there is a presumption that an employer’s job offer of returning the employee to the same position as before the Director of Health’s Order is presumed to be “suitable work” as defined by Ohio unemployment compensation law. Therefore, individuals who refuse such an offer of “suitable work” would probably lose their unemployment benefits unless they had “good cause” for such refusal. The Executive Order specified five (5) reasons as “good cause” to refuse suitable work as follows:
1. A medical professional’s recommendation that an individual not return to work because he/she falls into a category that is considered “high risk” for contracting COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the employer cannot offer teleworking options; or
2. The employee is sixty-five years of age or older; or
3. Tangible evidence of a health and safety violation by the employer that does not allow the employee to practice social distancing, hygiene, and wearing protective equipment; or
4. Potential exposure to COVID-19 and subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional; or
5. Staying home to care for a family member who is suffering from COVID-19 or subject to a prescribed quarantine period by a medical or health professional.
Notably among those who no longer qualify for Ohio’s unemployment benefits are those who quit or declined work because of childcare issues. However, such individuals may still qualify for special federal coronavirus unemployment benefits at $600 per week.
Federal Unemployment Aid
- The Bill amends the Social Security Act by providing $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance benefits, under certain conditions.
- $500 million would be reserved for emergency grants to states which experienced at least a 10 percent increase in unemployment. Those states would be eligible to receive an additional grant, in the same amount as the initial grant, to assist with costs related to the unemployment spike, and would also be required to take steps to temporarily ease eligibility requirements that are limiting access to unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak, like work search requirements, required waiting periods, and requirements to increase employer unemployment insurance benefits taxes if they have high layoff rates.
Q:. We have not sent out layoff notices yet for employees. Can they file unemployment prior to receiving something in writing from us?
A:. An employee can file for unemployment anytime they want including while employed. The claim is set up, the benefit year established, and the base period for the earnings and calculations of the payment rate is accomplished. However, the weeks for which the employee worked while requesting unemployment benefits will be denied. Unemployment compensation is a determination made on a week by week basis so the employee must be unemployed, ready, willing and able to work, and separated from employment for a non-disqualifying reason in order to qualify for unemployment compensation for that week.
Q: When taking employees temps as they enter the building, is there a requirement to have that be private from other employees – example a line of employees waiting to be screened and temp’d?
A: Yes. Recommend drive through, having employees take temperatures at home, or a line with at least 6 feet of distance between each person for privacy and safety reasons. Any medical information must remain private.
Q: If we reduce a full-time employee’s hours from 40 to 20, can they file for unemployment for the lost wages?
A: Yes, employees can get unemployment compensation for a reduction in hours.
Q:If an asymptomatic employee imposes a self-quarantine because of the coronavirus, will they be eligible for unemployment benefits?
A: In most cases, no. Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are totally or partially unemployed due to no fault of their own. In this example, the individual-not the employer-is choosing not to work and, therefore, would be ineligible. However, the facts of each circumstance are important. If the employer allowed this individual to telework, they would not qualify for benefits because they would not be unemployed. If the employer required the individual to stay home but did not offer telework, the individual might be eligible for benefits if they met the monetary and weekly eligibility criteria.