When Congress created the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program as part of the CARES Act, it made unemployment benefits available to the self-employed as well as certain workers who may not be able to work for a variety of coronavirus-related reasons. Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) added an additional $600 weekly payment through July 31, 2020, to certain eligible individuals who are receiving other benefits, and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extends certain benefits.
All of these programs provide some welcome relief to those who qualify. But they’ve also created lots of questions from small business owners and their employees. Here, legal experts tackle questions you may be hearing from your employees or wondering about for your own business.
Please note: The opinions in this article are for informational purposes only, are general in nature, and should not be relied upon or construed as a legal opinion or legal advice. Employers and employees should consult their own attorney for advice about their specific situation.
1. What happens if my employer brings me back to work and pays me back pay for time when I was collecting unemployment?
My employer laid us off on March 19 and directed us to apply for unemployment. I got a call [from my employer] on April 17 saying they were getting the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loan and they may pay us on April 24. I had been on unemployment before this. We did end up getting the payment from my employer on the 24th but we have not been asked to come in and work. How do I report this on my weekly claim to unemployment? Would it be considered a severance payment? Can I still receive unemployment?
On my weekly unemployment claim there is no option for reporting this. It only asks if we worked. And on the pay stub I was sent it says the pay period was for 4/6 to 4/19 but I already filed claims for those weeks before I even knew about this. Will I have to pay my UI benefits back?
Answer from Ian Meklinsky, Partner, Fox Rothschild:
In the event your employer returns you to work and pays you “back pay” for some or all of the time you were laid off/furloughed, in most states, you are technically required to repay your unemployment compensation benefit at least with respect to the time period your employer is paying you retroactively for. With that said, states may not have the bandwidth to pursue repayment of the unemployment compensation benefits, but you should be prepared to repay.
2. What happens to workers who are brought back at reduced pay?
I’m currently on unemployment and my employer got approved for the PPP loan. He stated when the funds come in I can no longer collect unemployment (which I understand) and told me that I will be working 20 hours a week instead of 40 hours a week. I’m a server. I will not be making enough to get by. Will I still be eligible for unemployment?
Published at Fri, 15 May 2020 15:17:51 +0000