Over the weekend, Governor Mike DeWine announced that the State of Ohio will expand immediately its unemployment insurance system to cover workers quarantined because of COVID-19 who do not have paid sick leave as well as workers who are displaced, even temporarily, by the COVID-19 crisis. The changes will be made through an executive order from Governor DeWine coming as soon as today. Under this expansion, the state will waive the typical waiting period required to qualify and will waive a requirement that individuals who get unemployment benefits must actively seek employment.
The initial changes announced be Governor DeWine will include:
- Individuals quarantined by a health professional or by their employer are considered to be unemployed and will not be subject to requirement to actively seek employment.
- Individual employed by companies which determine it necessary to temporarily shut down operations will also be eligible to seek unemployment.
- The mandatory one (1) week waiting period required prior to receiving unemployment benefits is being waived and the unemployment payments will be expedited.
The State of Ohio has set up a Q&A page on the unemployment changes at http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm
On the federal level, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201), which is intended to provide a broad range of assistance to businesses and individuals affected by COVID-19. Specifically, for employers and employees the bill includes measures that will expand the FMLA and provide for emergency paid leave for employers of 500 or fewer employees.
The bill would extend these protections through the end of 2020. This legislation must still be considered in the U.S. Senate this week, and it is unclear whether the Senate will approve the bill as passed, reject it, or make modifications to it which may require reconciliation with the House of Representatives. KWGD will continue to monitor this legislation and update as events warrant.
NOTE: This general summary of the law should not be used to solve individual problems since slight changes in the fact situation may require a material variance in the applicable legal advice.
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