Changes to State Unemployment Laws During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Changes to State Unemployment Laws During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Excerpted from Lexology by Adams and Reese LLP

Many states have revised and expanded unemployment-benefits coverage for employees affected by coronavirus-related layoffs, shutdowns, and work-hour reductions. Some states are also requiring employers to file claims on behalf of affected employees, creating incentives for employers to do so, and streamlining the process for employer-filed claims. Here is a summary of changes to unemployment-benefits coverage in the eight states and the District of Columbia within Adams and Reese’s footprint that also includes links to additional resources and information for employers.

ALABAMA

•Employers experiencing coronavirus-related business shutdowns are encouraged to file partial unemployment-benefit claims on their employees’ behalf (i.e., claims for employees who are laid-off for a short period but who employers expect to rehire for the same job)

o Charges for unemployment benefits resulting from shutdowns will be waived for employers who file partial claims on their employees’ behalf
o Employers’ experience ratings will not be affected by coronavirus-related claims
o Employers that currently use the CPUB application, have greater than 5 employees, or have routine layoffs can file partial claims here

•Employers who do not file partial claims are encouraged to waive their right to respond to any Request for Separation information (BEN 241)
oBEN 241s will still be mailed to employers; however, employers will not need to respond to the BEN 241s if they notify the Department of Labor in writing that they waive this right
oEmployers can notify the agency by emailing Ben241waiver@labor.alabama.gov or by faxing 334-309-9098
oWaivers should be on company letterhead and include the employers’ state unemployment insurance account numbers

•No guidance has been issued about whether unemployment benefits resulting from coronavirus-related shutdowns can be charged to the mutual account

FLORIDA

•General information for employers is available here; through the Reemployment Assistance Contact Form; and by calling 1-877-846-8770
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