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Unemployment insurance and COVID-19 impacted/quarantined workers

On March 12, 2020 the Department of Labor (DOL) advised states that workers impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. States are permitted to pay benefits to individuals who are quarantined with the expectation of returning to work, as well as to those who leave their employment to avoid exposure or care for a sick family member. If an employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, their workers will also be eligible for benefits. Workers receiving paid sick leave or paid family leave are not considered “unemployed,” according to the guidance, and therefore are ineligible for unemployment insurance.

“From the beginning, this Administration has taken aggressive action in protecting the health and safety of the American workforce. Clarifying the flexibility in which a person may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits during the coronavirus outbreak will ease financial burdens for those workers affected by the virus.”

John Pallasch
Assistant Secretary for the Employment and Training Administration

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