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Minnesota

The CARES Act & the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) advised that they have fully implemented Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). PEUC provides a 13-week extension for unemployment benefits for eligible applications.

In Minnesota, approximately 8,000 individuals exhausted, or are expected to soon exhaust, their benefits. Individuals will be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of benefits, as well as the additional $600 payments, with PEUC fully implemented. Individuals can login to their account at https://www.uimn.org if they exhausted their benefits and believe they are eligible for extended benefits under PEUC.

 The final part of the CARES Act that is the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which will provide unemployment benefits to self-employed individuals, independent contractors, gig workers and others who would not normally be eligible for unemployment benefits. The state believes that they will have this program fully operational by the end of April 2020. However, the state encourages those who think they are eligible to apply online.

 

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

The CARES Act & Jobs in Minnesota

The CARES Act:

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that they received final guidance from the Department of Labor (DOL) to be one of the first states to make $600 additional compensation payments available to individuals receiving unemployment benefits. All individuals who are currently receiving benefits will qualify for the $600 additional and will continue to receive their regular benefits as well.  Please be aware of the following details regarding the $600 payments:

  • The first week for the additional $600 is the week beginning March 29, 2020.
  • The week of March 29 on or after April 5 can be requested for the additional $600 payment. If it was already requested for that week, the $600 payment will be automatically issued.
  • There is no need to contact DEED or do anything to receive the additional $600. DEED will automatically process the additional $600 payment after the request benefits for the week of March 29 (and every week after that an individual is eligible).
  • The additional $600 payment will not appear on the online unemployment account. The additional $600 payment will only appear on a bank account or unemployment debit card statement.
  • All payments may take a few days to reach a bank account and/or debit card.

Minnesota Jobs:

Many businesses that provide essential services (like health care, food, supplies and transportation) are currently hiring employees. Some open jobs may be temporary during COVID-19, but many may be permanent and, particularly in the healthcare industry, can serve as an entry position to higher-paying careers.

If needed, CareerForce can help with job searches. CareerForce offers virtual and interactive services, including virtual workshops, videos, and other online resources.  Individuals can connect by phone or email with staff at their nearest CareerForce location and receive personalized assistance with interviewing, resume writing, and other job search resources. To search and find current Minnesota job postings, visit the CareerForce job search page: https://www.careerforcemn.com/job-search.

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

COVID-19 & Updates in Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, and Missouri

Idaho Department of Labor

The Idaho Department of Labor stated that COVID-19 impacted employees filed 13,341 new claims for benefits during the week of March 15-21, 2020. This number is up 12,310 for a 1,200 percent increase over the previous week. The state advised that their priority is to get benefits to those impacted, and eligible, as quickly as possible, as well as to help hiring employers find the staff they need as quickly as possible too.

Employees can review frequently asked questions about filing for benefits at the following website: https://www.labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Unemployment-Benfits/Questions-Answers. The state recommends that employees pull their last two years of their work history before filing online to help speed up the process.

 Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity

The fastest way for employees to file for benefits is online at https://www.Michigan.gov/UIA. The state urges employees to file during off-peak hours to avoid longer load times from 8pm to 8am local time. Employees are asked to be patient and not click more than once to reload a page.

Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development

While many businesses have been ordered to temporarily close to slow the spread of COVID-19, some Minnesota businesses are not only staying open – they are also hiring large numbers of workers and even offering hiring incentives. Not only can employees earn a paycheck in these industries, but these jobs can help serve Minnesotans and save lives. Overall, more than 3,650 new job openings were posted last week on the state’s online job bank. Similar to an ordinary week, jobs in the health care industry accounted for 23% of all new jobs posted, with hospitals and nursing homes having the largest demand for workers.

In addition to health care operations, many other businesses providing essential goods and services are hiring. Among these businesses are grocery stores, pharmacies, transportation and delivery services, banks, childcare, and food production. A growing number of employers – including U.S. Bank, Hormel, Target, and Amazon – have recently announced temporary bonuses or pay increases for some employees. Grocery stores are hiring for a variety of front-line positions including online personal shoppers, stockers, and cashiers. Some of the larger grocery retailers posting for positions in Minnesota are CUB Foods, Lunds & Byerlys, and Target. Many smaller local grocery stores are hiring as well. Moreover, government entities are hiring. For example, the Minnesota Department of Corrections is seeking Trainee-Corrections Officers at facilities across the state with immediate openings. The starting wage is $20.55 per hour. No corrections experience is necessary, and a 6-week paid training program is provided. Nationally, CVS Health announced plans this week to hire 50,000 workers across the country in a range of full-time, part-time and temporary positions. Meanwhile, Walmart announced plans last week to hire people for 150,000 jobs throughout the U.S.

If employees have recently been laid off, their skills may transfer more easily to another field than you might think. For instance, many health care employers are looking for people with skills common to employees in the leisure and hospitality industry – such as customer service experience, attention to detail, and the ability to multi-task – to fill a variety of health care positions. While many health care jobs require a state license, certificate, or passing a state exam – a lot of positions may require only on-site training. Among them are home care aides, resident aides, and direct support specialists – as well as positions in medical coding/billing, food service, and housekeeping. Entry-level jobs can be a stepping stone to higher-paid health care positions. Because demand is high, it’s not unusual for employers to help pay for training for many positions that require licensure or certification. There are also numerous grants and scholarships available.

Finally, if employees are looking for work now, or planning to look for work, they can CareerForce at https://www.careerforcemn.com/. Employees may also visit https://www.careerforcemn.com/virtual-interactive-services for links to online classes in resume writing, interviewing skills, and job search – as well as to other online resources. At CareerForceMN.com/locations, employees will find a phone number and an email address for a CareerForce location near them. If employees have trouble connecting, please advise them to call the CareerForce Help Desk at 651-259-7501 or email careerforce@state.mn.us for assistance.

Employees can file for unemployment benefits by visiting the state’s webpage at https://www.uimn.org and applying online. Visit https://www.mn.gov/deed for additional COVID-19 information and resources.

Missouri Department of Labor

While state office buildings may be closed to the public temporarily amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DOLIR) and Division of Employment Security (DES) will continue to process unemployment claims. The DES staff are performing essential functions to support Missouri employees and employers in response to this public health crisis. For the week ending March 21, 2020, the DES processed 42,207 initial claims, more than ten times the 3,976 initial claims processed during the week ending March 14, 2020. For perspective, in just one week, the DES processed nearly a quarter of the total number of claims it processed in the entirety of 2019.

Because of high call volumes, the DES encourages employees to file their claims online with UInteract at https://www.uinteract.labor.mo.gov as soon as they become unemployed. UInteract is mobile-friendly and available 24/7 to meet employee needs. Employees usually spend an average about of ten minutes to file a claim. For unemployment assistance or questions, employees can contact the DES at 1-800-320-2519 or by email at esuiclaims@labor.mo.gov. To receive assistance in a timely manner, please advise your employees to include their name, phone number, and last four digits of their social security number. Employees can also watch video tutorials of the system and these are available at https://www.labor.mo.gov/coronavirus. The DES recently expanded UInteract to handled increased workload and will monitor the system 24/7 for potential issues too.

Finally, please remember that the DES also relaxed some requirements for filing for benefits such as eliminating the need to search for work for those who file COVID-19 related claims. The DES is currently working on temporarily waiving the waiting week requirement for COVID-19 related claims. Additionally, the DES has announced that it will temporarily waive charges for COVID-19 related claims to the respective employer’s experience rating accounts. The DES continues to review guidance received from the US Department of Labor for additional changes. It is also important to remember that employers pay into the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund from which benefits are provided to eligible workers. Employees do not pay anything into the unemployment insurance trust fund. It is wholly funded by employers.

For answers to more COVID-19 related unemployment questions, visit https://www.labor.mo.gov/coronavirus.

Thomas & Company Reminder

Our office will be monitoring COVID-19 updates closely and will be sending out additional announcements on our website as we become aware of new development: https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

COVID-19 & Minnesota Non-Profit Organizations

Many non-profits across Minnesota are facing unique challenges brought on by COVID-19. During this unprecedented time, Minnesota doubled down on their commitment to non-profit organizations at DEED. In the last year, Minnesota made several changes to their request for proposal and grant monitoring processes to strengthen their relationships with community non-profits. For instance, Minnesota streamlined processes and made improvements in their systems so that nonprofit organizations can operate with efficiency, clarity, and agility. Please review the below information on how Minnesota will further assist non-profit organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cash Advances

Reimbursement is the preferred method for grant payments but, in certain circumstances, DEED can approve cash advance payments for nonprofits. Please contact your DEED Program Coordinator to learn about the cash advance process.

Partnership and Technical Assistance

The state is experiencing a rapidly changing economic situation. When Minnesotans are ready to return to work, the state will be ready with a system to support them. The state encourages their partners whose needs have changed to reach out to them. DEED is ready and willing to work with partners facing challenges with performing proposed work on a case-by-case basis. Please reach out to your DEED Program Coordinator for technical assistance.

Also, if you think you might need an advance payment or grant extension, please contact your DEED Program Coordinator.

Our office will be monitoring COVID-19 updates closely and will be sending out additional announcements on our website as we become aware of new development: https://thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

 

COVID-19 & Minnesota Updates

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development is actively working with state and federal partners to assist businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Employers can enroll in the Shared Work program as an alternative to layoffs. This program was developed to help Minnesota employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business, such as the slowdown caused by COVID- 19. Shared Work allows employers to supplement their employees’ lost wages because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits. With this program, employers can reduce normal weekly working hours for employees in an affected unit. Approved employees of employers that participate in the Shared Work program receive the percentage of their weekly UI benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced, not to exceed 60 percent. Visit https://www.uimn.org/employers/alternative-layoff/index.jsp to learn more about this program’s benefits and how to apply.

Employers affected by COVID-19 can find helpful information on the state’s news website: https://www.uimn.org/employers/employer-account/news-updates/covid-19.jsp. Also, the state will post updates on COVID-19 related items here: https://mn.gov/deed/newscenter/covid/employers/. The state will update information on both websites as more information becomes available. Please contact your representative with any questions or concerns.