Expansion of unemployment comp will help
Posted March 16, 2020 in Press Releases
But further action needed to allow many restaurant workers to get benefits
Governor Mike DeWine said yesterday he would issue an executive order making unemployment compensation system available to workers who have been quarantined by a medical professional and eliminating the week that laid-off workers usually need to wait to receive UC benefits. Policy Matters Ohio Research Director Zach Schiller issued the following statement on DeWine’s move:
“The governor’s order is welcome news to Ohioans who find themselves out of work because of COVID-19. We applaud him for taking this step, which takes advantage of guidance last week from the U.S. Department of Labor.
“That said, many of the restaurant workers who are jobless won’t be able to take advantage of this assistance because they don’t meet Ohio’s stringent earnings test for unemployment compensation. An employee who had been paid the minimum wage and working 30 hours a week won’t qualify for benefits because they didn’t average the requisite $269 a week. Nor would an employee who was paid $10 an hour working 25 hours a week.
“Governor DeWine should ask the General Assembly to reduce that minimum amount so more workers qualify for UC. The General Assembly should take steps to arrange to pass emergency legislation on COVID-19, just as Congress is considering. If Congress does not approve paid sick time for the large majority ofworkers, Ohio legislators should do so.
“The governor’s executive order on UC isn’t yet available so details are not yet known beyond the information made available by the Department of Job & Family Services.
“The U.S. Senate also needs to pass the COVID-19 legislation approved by the House over the weekend, which includes a total of $1 billion in funding for state agencies that administer the UC system. ODJFS will need this money, and quite possibly more, to handle the flood of claims that is already arriving. Further federal action is also needed so that contract workers who are not employees can receive UC coverage.”