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CARES Act Unemployment Benefit Guidance for Employers

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| Legal Advisory

Earlier this week, the Department of Labor issued additional guidance on the unemployment benefits modifications contained in the CARES Act. This guidance includes Questions and Answers that directly address employers’ concerns about employees returning to work. The DOL affirms that an individual who refuses to return to work because the individual would prefer to receive unemployment benefits will be ineligible for benefits. Further, an individual with generalized concerns about exposure to COVID-19 who does not meet any of the other COVID-19 related criteria for eligibility is ineligible for benefits. 

As a reminder, the CARES Act significantly expanded traditional unemployment benefits. The key expansion of benefits included the following:

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation extends traditional unemployment benefits for up to 39 weeks until December 31, 2020.
  • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation provides any individual eligible for state unemployment benefits an additional $600 weekly payment through July 2020. Both fully and partially unemployed individuals are eligible for the $600 weekly payment.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provides benefits to individuals who generally would not qualify for state unemployment benefits, including gig workers, self-employed individuals, and individuals who already exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits.

If you have questions about unemployment or other matters arising under the CARES Act, please do not hesitate to contact a member of Nutter’s Labor, Employment and Benefits team.

This advisory was prepared by Chris LindstromLaura MartinLiam O’Connell, and David Rubin in Nutter’s Labor, Employment and Benefits practice group. For more information, please contact Chris, Laura, Liam, David, or your Nutter attorney at 617.439.2000.

This update is for information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific facts or circumstances. Under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered as advertising. 

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