This comes just one day after reports revealed that a record 3.3 million people applied for unemployment last week alone, as more and more companies have been forced to furlough or lay off workers to both prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep their business from bottoming out. The CARES Act also comes at a time when the number of those being diagnosed with the virus is exponentially escalating. Fortunately, the CARES Act includes provisions designed to put more money in the hands of the millions of people whose hours have been cut drastically, who have been furloughed or terminated by their employer, or who cannot work because of COVID-19.
The CARES Act makes unemployment benefits available to more types of workers than ever before. For the covered period between January 20, 2020 and December 31, 2020, the Act makes benefits available not only to independent contractors and the self-employed, but to any other individual who self-certifies that she/he is unable to work or can only partially work because:
Individuals who are able to work from home and those who are receiving paid leave under the Families First Coronavirus Emergency Response Act are not eligible. Also, the CARES Act pays out-of-work individuals an extra $600 a week for four months in addition to the state benefits they otherwise would receive, extends the time period during which individuals may receive benefits by 13 weeks (provided the total time does not exceed 39 weeks), and does away with the one week waiting period for benefits.
With the foregoing measures, perhaps the CARES Act will curb some of the emotional and financial strain individuals are feeling as a result of COVID-19.
Read our additional guidance since this was first published.
The Coronavirus Task Force at Klehr Harrison stands ready to assist you in your business and legal needs. We will continue to provide additional information and guidance as the COVID-19 situation develops.
Author Lee D. Moylan is a partner in the Labor & Employment practice group at Klehr Harrison.