The current crisis caused by COVID-19 will leave its mark on history in many ways, not the least of which will be an economy turned on its head. Since the pandemic established its foothold in the U.S., there have been more than 22 million claims for unemployment, including approximately 2,700,000 in California alone. These figures are staggering in their own right, but it is not clear whether they even account for the countless employees experiencing “partial layoffs.”
A partial layoff can take several forms, including furloughs and a reduction in hours. Often, employers take these measures when business is slow, but they do not want to lose valuable employees and deplete their talent pool despite the lean times. And not unexpectedly, California requires an additional administrative hurdle for employees to collect unemployment benefits: form DE 2063. This form must be used in limited circumstances where full-time employees experience a reduction in earnings due to a lack of work. However, these unprecedented times have forced the EDD to take action and expedite these claims.
The EDD’s website has announced that due to the “sudden and immense impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on businesses and workers and the unprecedented demand for UI benefits,” employers should not use DE 2063 for the time being. This begs the question: what should you tell your employees who are experiencing a reduction in hours? The EDD recommends the following: (1) inform your working or laid off employees to apply for UI benefits online for the fastest way to file; and (2) inform your employees that after they apply for UI benefits online and their claim is processed, to certify for continued benefits for every two-week period by logging into their UI Online account for the fastest way to certify and receive their benefit payments. It is unclear how long this reprieve will last, so it is important to stay alert, and understand that this is likely a limited exception, and it will not last forever. Nevertheless, it is a welcome, even if temporary, relief to both employers and employees who are already reeling from the impact of social distancing and mandatory shelter in place orders.
For additional information, make sure to visit our Coronavirus Resource page.
We hope that all of our readers are staying safe. Be well.