unemployment compensation during coronavirus pandemic working from home

Can I Collect Unemployment Compensation During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

If you meet one of the following employment statuses, you may be eligible for unemployment compensation in Pennsylvania.

Both employees and employers are trying to navigate the unprecedented measures being implemented by the government to attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus). With many businesses being forced to close or alter operations, employers are struggling with deciding how to adjust operations and whether to furlough or even lay off employees. At the same time, employees need to be proactive and look ahead to their options. Below are unemployment compensation eligibility statuses that may effect many employees in Pennsylvania.

Unemployment compensation eligibility statuses for employees

Employees in Pennsylvania are likely eligible for unemployment compensation if:

  • their employer has closed
  • the employee is furloughed (a temporary leave of employees due to the outstanding needs of the employer)
  • laid off
  • forced to work at home (if it results in a reduction of hours)

What if and employee is under quarantine for coronavirus?

If the employee is quarantined, they may also be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, but the employee must first exhaust all sick leave/paid time off benefits.

The Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Bureau (“UCB”) has made some important changes to its typical operations/requirements in this unprecedented COVID-19 and coronavirus outbreak in 2020. Most importantly, UCB has temporarily:

  • eliminated the one week waiting period for receipt of unemployment benefits
  • eliminated the requirement to search for work while receiving unemployment benefits

This is in light of the fact that, at least for now, many of the requests for benefits will be for furloughed workers. Employers that close as a result of COVID-19 impacts will be granted relief from charges and the employers’ unemployment tax rate will not increase.

On March 18, 2020, the president signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Click here to see if you as an employee or employer is affected. (Link to JBS Blog on FFCRA)

Our advice here at High Swartz is that if you meet any of the above criteria, consider filing a unemployment compensation claim as soon as possible. If you have filed for UC before, you may enter your PIN (Personal Identification Number) that will pull up your past information. If you are new to the process, there are a few things that are necessary for you to have before you get started.

  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your Home address or mailing address
  • The best phone number to reach you
  • The best email address to reach you. This must be a valid address
  • Direct Deposit information (optional) – bank name, address and routing number

If you need help or advice during these trying times, High Swartz’s attorneys are here to help. Please contact Employment Attorney, Jim Shrimp at jshrimp@highswartz.com or call 610.275.0700.

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