In response to a directive from President Biden, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance to state unemployment insurance agencies that expands the number of instances in which workers may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). These newly eligible workers self-certify that they refused to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite not in compliance with coronavirus health and safety standards, with states being responsible for investigating and accepting or denying claims.
The new guidance expands eligibility to three categories of workers:
- Workers receiving unemployment benefits who had their continued regular unemployment benefits’ claims denied after they refused to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite not in compliance with coronavirus health and safety standards.
- Workers laid off, or who have had their work hours reduced as a direct result of the pandemic.
- School employees working without a contract or reasonable assurance of continued employment who face reduced paychecks and no assurance of continued pay when schools are closed due to coronavirus.
The Unemployment Insurance Program is a federal/state partnership. PUA is 100 percent federally funded and administered by state agencies on behalf of the department’s Employment and Training Administration. The DOL directed all further questions to State employment agencies.
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