AFL-CIO Information Alert

AFL-CIO Information Alert

INDIANA STATE  AFL-CIO  COVID-19 GUIDE FOR WORKERS

Unemployment Benefits

The Governor and Department of Workforce Development have adopted policies to assist workers whose employment has been adversely affected by the COVID public health emergency.

Unemployed individuals need to be participating in the unemployment insurance (UI) system to qualify for additional payments and extended benefits under the CARES Act.

  • Department of Workforce Development (DWD) will seek to interpret Indiana unemployment law to provide benefits for claimants displaced by COVID
  • DWD has now waived the first week waiting period for UI benefit retroactive to March 8, 2020
  • Members should indicate that they are not working due to a COVID issue, when applicable
  • Employers shall not be penalized for unemployment claims arising from the COVID
  • DWD has waived work search requirements—building trades members already are exempt from work search through hiring halls
  • Sick pay and FMLA leave payments would be deducted from UI benefit
  • If an employee decides to remain at home on his own, without a directive from a medical professional or his employer, the employee will likely not be eligible for UI benefits.

CARES Act

  • The CARES Act, as it has passed the Senate, provides for further benefits to taxpayers and displaced workers.
  • Payment of $600 a week in addition to UI benefits through July 31, 2020
  • Extension of UI benefits to 39 weeks, from 26 weeks, through December 31, 2020
  • Payment of a $1,200 per person, plus $500 per dependent (2 maximum) subject to income limits

Paid Leave Benefits – Families First Coronavirus Response Act – Effective April 1

Sick Pay

Creates Right to Ten Paid Sick Days for full-time employees (part-time employees are paid for usual work hours) starting on April 1.

    Sick Pay at 100% pay—maximum of $511 a day when absence is due to:

  • Quarantine
  • COVID Symptom and seeking COVID diagnosis

   Sick Pay at 2/3 of employee’s wages – maximum of $200 a day when absence is due to:

  • Caring for another person in quarantine or who is ill with COVID
  • Child’s school is closed or child care provider is unavailable
  • Other similar circumstances as defined by Health and Human Services or U.S. DOL

New Family Medical Leave Act Category for Child Care Leave

Creates new FMLA category of 12 weeks of leave for child care due to school closure or because child care provider is unavailable:

  • Employees only have to have been working for an employer for 30 days (as opposed to normal FMLA requirement of 1250 hours) to be eligible for this Child Care Leave
  • Employees will not be paid for first ten days of leave (can use paid sick days or other leave for the first two weeks)
  • Employees will then receive pay for remaining 10 weeks of leave at 2/3 of wages – maximum of $200 a day

Other Highlights of New Sick Leave and FMLA Laws

  • Employers will be reimbursed for sick and FMLA leave expense by federal tax credits, so the employee leave will not cost them any money
  • New Sick leave and FMLA provisions does not apply to employers with more than 500  employees

Employer Screening of Workers

  • Employers may ask employees if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19
  • Employers can take temperature of employees at the place of employment
  • Employers can send an employee home if they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19
  • Employers must keep all employee health information, including any screening forms, confidential
  • Employers cannot ask employees if they have underlying health issues which would make contracting COVID-19 more serious
  • Employers cannot require employees to bring a doctor’s release in order to return to work
  • Employers can require employees to undergo a clearance screening by a doctor selected by the Employer upon the employee’s return to work.

Useful Resources:

Indiana Department of Workforce Development – https://www.in.gov/dwd/files/Indiana_Unemployment_FAQ.pdf

Center for Disease Control – https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/workplace-school-and-home-guidance.pdf

Families First Coronavirus Response Act – https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201/text

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