COVID-19 Labor & Employment

Unemployment Insurance FAQ-Kentucky and Ohio Employers

 

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Kentucky Employers


If a company is laying off multiple employees, can it file a mass unemployment claim for them?

Yes, under certain circumstances. In order to file a mass electronic claim (“E-claim”), the company must have a workforce of at least 50 employees and at least 15 employees must be included in the layoff.

  

Can an individual receive unemployment benefits if he or she is laid off as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak?

Yes, assuming that individual is otherwise eligible for benefits. All individuals laid off as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak should be encouraged to file for unemployment benefits.

  

Have there been any changes as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak?

Yes. For individuals who are unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the waiting week period has been waived during the state of emergency. Certain work search requirements have been waived as well. Also, to deal with an overflow of claims, individuals must file on a certain day of the week based on the first letter of their last names. Additionally, on March 28, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear signed an agreement with the Department of Labor that, for qualifying individuals, will extend the number of benefit weeks by 13 weeks and increase weekly benefit payments by $600.

  

Are benefits available for individuals who are self-employed or work as independent contractors?

Yes. On March 25, 2020, Governor Beshear announced an expansion of eligibility for unemployment benefits. The expansion includes, but is not limited to, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, freelance workers, substitute teachers, and childcare workers employed by religiously affiliated organizations and nonprofits. Individuals leaving employment to self-quarantine or care for a family member affected by COVID-19 also may be eligible for benefits. Special forms will be created to address the new expanded categories of eligible individuals.

  

If employees continue working but have a reduction in scheduled work hours as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, can they receive any unemployment benefits?

Possibly. Employees whose hours have been reduced by more than 10 percent but less than 60 percent with no reduction in hourly rate may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

  

Will continuing to provide health insurance for laid-off/furloughed employees impact their ability to receive unemployment?

Possibly. In the past, applicants who were receiving employee benefits during an idle work period could be disqualified from receiving benefits. However, some unemployment laws and regulations have been relaxed in order to assist as many Kentuckians impacted by the outbreak as possible, although this specific situation has yet to be directly addressed by an executive order or statutory amendment. Kentucky employers wishing to continue health insurance for employees who are not performing regularly scheduled work should first speak with a Dinsmore attorney and their health insurance providers.

  

Where should former employees be directed for more information about applying for unemployment benefits?

Individuals can file claims and obtain additional information about unemployment insurance at https://kcc.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx. Individuals can also file by calling 502-875-0442. For general information, individuals can call 502-564-2900 or their local Kentucky Career Center office.


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Ohio Employers

If a company is laying off multiple employees, can it file a mass unemployment claim for them?

Employers planning layoffs or shutdowns as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak are being asked to provide employees with the mass layoff number of 2000180 in order to increase the speed of processing benefits.

  

Can an individual receive unemployment benefits if he or she is laid off as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak?

Yes. Assuming they are otherwise eligible, employees laid off as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak are eligible for unemployment benefits.

  

Have there been any changes as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak?

Yes. An executive order issued by Governor Mike DeWine expands flexibility for Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits during the emergency declaration period. Notably, unemployment benefits will be available for eligible individuals who are advised by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if they are not actually diagnosed with the virus. Further, the waiting period for unemployment benefits for eligible individuals has been waived.

  

Are benefits available for individuals who are self-employed or work as independent contractors?

Not yet. Currently, self-employed individuals and independent contractors are not eligible for unemployment benefits. However, a new federal program will provide up to 39 weeks of benefits and an additional $600 to eligible self-employed workers and 1099 tax-filers. This program’s effective dates are Jan. 27 through Dec. 31, 2020. The benefits are not currently being paid in Ohio, but the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services has advised that it is working to begin these payments soon. Once Ohio is able to begin payments, they will be applied retroactively for past benefit weeks.

  

If employees’ hours are reduced as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, can they receive any unemployment benefits?

Possibly. Individuals with reduced hours may be eligible for benefits. An individual’s weekly earnings that are equal to or less than 20 percent of his or her weekly unemployment benefit amount will not reduce the amount of unemployment benefits paid. However, weekly earnings over 20 percent of his or her weekly unemployment benefit amount will reduce the weekly benefit payment for the individual dollar for dollar. An employee earning equal to or more than the weekly benefit amount will not receive unemployment benefits for that week.

  

Will continuing to provide health insurance impact my former employees’ ability to receive unemployment?

No. Employer-provided health insurance should not impact unemployment eligibility. However, employers should still speak with their Dinsmore attorney and insurance providers about providing coverage to individuals who are no longer employed with the company.

  

Where can former employees be directed for more information about applying for unemployment benefits?

Individuals can file claims at www.unemployment.ohio.gov or by calling 877-644-6562 or 614-387-8408. Additional information about COVID-19 and unemployment insurance is available at http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm.


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