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Department of Labor publishes guidance on pandemic emergency unemployment compensation

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA) today announced the publication of the Unemployment Insurance Program Letter, which provides further guidance to states as they implement the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), including the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program.

Under the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, states can provide up to 13 weeks of federally funded benefits to qualified individuals who:

• have exhausted all rights to regular compensation under state law or Federal law with respect to a benefit year that ended on or after July 1, 2019;

• have no rights to regular compensation with respect to a week under any other state UC law or Federal UC law, or to compensation under any other Federal law;

• are not receiving compensation with respect to a week under the UC law of Canada; and

•  are able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work, although states must offer flexibility on “actively seeking work” where there are COVID-19 impacts and constraints.

The cost of PEUC benefits is 100 percent federally funded. States may not charge employers for any PEUC benefits paid. Implementation costs and ongoing administrative costs are also 100 percent federally funded.

In addition to the PEUC program, ETA has provided guidance to the states regarding two additional CARES Act unemployment programs. Under Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, states will administer an additional $600 weekly payment to certain eligible individuals who are receiving other benefits.

The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program assists individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are unable to continue working as a result of the coronavirus, including self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers.

For more information on UIPLs or previous guidance, please visit https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/.