COVID-19 Pandemic

Unemployment Has Expanded

In Ohio, and most other states, you are now eligible for unemployment if your employer shut down operations due to the coronavirus or if you were required to self-quarantine by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer due to COVID-19. Legislation increased the number of weeks you can receive unemployment benefits as a result of the coronavirus by 13 weeks that states already allow. In Ohio, for example, you can collect unemployment for a total of 39 weeks, instead of the previous 26. In addition to benefits that you would normally be eligible for in your State, Congress has allocated an extra $600 a week though the end of July.

Independent contractors (a.k.a. 1099 Employees) are also now eligible for unemployment benefits; however, states are still implementing the procedures to handle these types of claims. Ohioans can apply online 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or by phone from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Both methods are experiencing an exceptional amount of traffic and volume and you should be patient when filing your claim. Because of this, payments will be retroactive to the first day that you became unemployed.

Unemployment eligibility varies from state to state. Our licensed attorneys have researched the state-specific requirements and are able to answer questions you may have in Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Indiana.

Family Medical Leave Act Emergency Expansion

Recently, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) which expands FMLA to now allow for paid leave to take care of a child whose school or daycare was closed do to COVID-19. This new provision applies to all employers with less than 500 employees, but some segments of the workforce are automatically exempt such as health care professionals or emergency responders. An employee must have also worked for this employer for at least 30 days to be eligible.

Whether you are eligible to these benefits depends primarily on individualized facts. We are here to listen to your situation and advise you on whether you are eligible for FMLA Emergency Expansion.

Emergency Paid Sick Leave

COVID-19 prompted federal legislation enacting paid sick leave in response to this unprecedented crisis. This provision requires all employers who have less than 500 employees to provide two weeks (10 days) of paid sick leave. While again, there are exceptions for health care professionals and emergency responders, there is no waiting period requirement. If you are taking care of yourself, you are eligible for full pay, and if you are taking care of others you are entitled to two-thirds pay.

There are caps and limitations to Emergency Paid Sick Leave and our attorneys are here to counsel you in navigating the process.

It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who knows your rights and will fight for them. These benefits are additional to any existing leave your employer might already provide. If your employer provides more benefits, these Acts do not minimize them. Call us today and let us work for you.

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