Tag

Missouri

The CARES Act & the Missouri Department of Labor

The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ (DOLIR’s) Division of Employment Security (DES) started to issue the $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) payments this week. The state notes that they dispersed a total of $66 million in benefits paid out to over 115,000 individuals. Eligible individuals should receive their benefits within the next couple of days, but this will depend on how long the individuals’ banks hold funds.

As a reminder, the FPUC program provides those eligible for at least one dollar of benefits will receive an additional $600 payment per week. All individuals who are eligible for benefits will also be eligible for the additional $600 payment effective with the week beginning March 29, 2020. These payments will be made retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29, 2020. The last payable week for the $600 payment will be the week of July 25, 2020. Additionally, the state advised that child support payments, existing non-fraud over payments, and taxes, for those that have elected to have taxes withheld, will reduce the additional $600 payment and regular benefits too. Any individuals with an existing fraud penalty will not eligible for additional benefits.

Additionally, the state provided an update about the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. This program provides benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment, including those who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, self-employed, as well as individuals lacking sufficient work history. Self-employed individuals filing unemployment claims should indicate “none” when asked for states in which they have worked unless they have worked for another employer in the last 18 months. The state will contact individuals who have been determined to be ineligible for regular unemployment benefits because of insufficient wages after the PUA program is fully operational. These individuals will be required to provide proof of earnings and proof of employment to file a claim for benefits. The state advised that acceptable forms of proof of earnings include copies of income tax returns with related Schedules C, E, F and SE, Form K-1 and/or Form 1099-Misc. Also, acceptable forms of proof of employment include business cards, advertisements, telephone listings, business licenses, etc. The PUA program will be retroactive to when an individual was negatively affected by COVID-19. The state expects to begin completing PUA claims as early as the week of April 19, 2020.

Finally, the state believes that it will also begin rolling out the provisions of the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program starting the week of April 26, 2020. This program will provide up to an additional 13 weeks of benefits to those that have exhausted their regular benefits.  The state will notify all potentially eligible individuals once the program is operational. The DES encourages claimants who have exhausted their unemployment benefits, and still have an active benefit year, to continue to file weekly requests for payments.

The state urges individuals to file for benefits via UInteract: https://www.uinteract.labor.mo.gov. UInteract is available 24/7 and is mobile-friendly. Individuals should log into their UInteract account to check on the status of their claims. Please be aware that those who file should provide as accurate information as possible and avoid typos, wrong dates, or other errors that will cause a delay in processing their claims for benefits. The state also recommends that individuals review unemployment information on their website at https://www.labor.mo.gov/coronavirus. This website includes how-to videos and answers to commonly asked questions.

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 & the Missouri Department of Labor

The state of Missouri’s Division of Employment Security (DES) received its first guidance from the Department of Labor, including more information on how to proceed with the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program of the CARES Act. FPUC offers an additional $600 per week to those eligible for at least one dollar of unemployment compensation benefits. The DES advises that FPUC payments will begin after technology and procedure updates, which could be as early as the week of April 12, 2020. The additional $600 payments, as well as any implementation costs, are fully funded by the federal government.

The additional $600 federal supplement will be available the week beginning on March 29, 2020 for those filing for benefits that week. Please be aware that payments will be made retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29, 2020. The last week for the additional $600 payment will be the week ending July 25, 2020. During this time period, claimants who are eligible to receive weekly unemployment benefits will receive the additional $600 payment.

Also, Missouri’s regular unemployment insurance program continues to be in effect for all claims filed. Any claimants who are currently employed and then quit will not be eligible for benefits. If an employer offers sick leave and/or other leave to their associates to address COVID-19, then any associate who quits on their own volition will not qualify for benefits. Federal legislation will not impact this part of the state’s eligibility for benefits.

Furthermore, the DES advised that they received an extraordinary amount of calls at their offices. The DES stated that a high number of these calls are unrelated to filing a claim for benefits. Therefore, the DES requests that individuals who have questions read the state’s online FAQs, log into their UInteract account for claim updates, and fully read any claim notice sent to them. These actions will ensure that the DES can fully dedicate their and efforts to those who need to file a new claim and do not have access to internet. Individuals with internet access are strongly encouraged to file claims online at https://www.uinteract.labor.mo.gov at the time they are separated from their employer. UInteract is available 24/7 and is mobile-friendly too. DES updates can be found on the DES’s website, https://labor.mo.gov/coronavirus.

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 & Missouri Unemployment Tax Payment Extension

Missouri’s deadline for submitting first-quarter unemployment tax payment will be extended, the Missouri Department of Labor & Industrial Relations announced today.

Unemployment tax and wage reports will remain due on April 30, 2020 as normal, but the Department is allowing for an extension to submit the tax payment until June 1, 2020.

The Department stated that the deadline for unemployment tax payments was moved to June 1st  to assist employers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our office will be monitoring these situations closely and will send out additional announcements or make postings on our website (https://thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/) as we become aware of new developments.

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.