BY: Tad T. Roumayah | IN: COVID-19, Employment Law
Tens of millions of Americans – hourly workers, salaried employees, independent contractors, and the self-employed – suddenly and unexpectedly find themselves without a paycheck for the foreseeable future. In response, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law on March 27, 2020, providing expanded federal unemployment benefits for individuals who are out of work due to the crisis. At the state level, Michigan has made several changes to its unemployment insurance program that can further assist laid-off or furloughed workers.
Here is what you need to know about these new federal and state unemployment compensation provisions:
Self-Employed, Independent Contractors, and Gig Workers in Michigan Now Eligible for Benefits
One of the most significant parts of the CARES Act is the expansion of unemployment benefits to individuals who historically were ineligible to receive it.
Self-employed individuals, independent contractors, gig workers, those seeking part-time employment, and people with an insufficient work history can now apply for and obtain federally funded unemployment compensation through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program.
You may be eligible for unemployment benefits under this new program if (1) you are otherwise ineligible for, or have exhausted all rights to, unemployment benefits; and (2) you are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable to work because of any of the following COVID-19-related situations:
You can receive benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for the duration of your period of unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability to work, beginning retroactively on January 27, 2020, and ending on December 31, 2020, up to a maximum of 39 weeks.
In addition to the CARES Act, pursuant to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-10, the following workers are eligible for unemployment compensation:
Though the federal government funds the new and expanded unemployment benefits under the CARES Act, Michigan workers seeking to access these benefits need to file their claims with Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA). However, if you have already filed for benefits, you do not need to reapply to obtain CARES Act-established benefits.
As is the case in every state, Michigan’s UIA has been overwhelmed with new claims. Accordingly, it has established a filing schedule based on last names:
If you need assistance with workplace issues or disputes, have questions about the CARES Act, or have any other employment-related concerns arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact the employment law attorneys at Sommers Schwartz today. We are working remotely and are still here to help.
View all posts byTad T. Roumayah
Tad Roumayah focuses his practice primarily on employment litigation, representing employees who have encountered discrimination, retaliation, wrongful discharge, whistleblower protection claims, wage and hour violations and other employment issues and disputes.