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Volume XI, Number 108


April 16, 2021

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April 15, 2021

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New DOL Guidance Expanding Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance to Three Categories of Workers

The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued guidance to state unemployment insurance agencies that expands eligibility for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

PUA is a federally funded unemployment expansion that was adopted under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to provide unemployment benefits for certain individuals not otherwise entitled to state benefits and unemployed for COVID-19-related reasons. (For more information on COVID-19 unemployment relief, see our article, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021: Unemployment Relief.)

The new DOL guidance was issued in response to a directive from President Joe Biden and reflects the Biden administration’s pledge to “ensure that unemployed Americans no longer have to choose between paying their bills and keeping themselves and their families safe from COVID-19.”

The DOL guidance expands unemployment benefits to three categories of workers:

  1. Workers receiving unemployment benefits who had their continued regular unemployment benefits’ claims denied after they refused to work or accept an offer of work at a worksite not in compliance with COVID-19 health and safety standards.

  2. Workers laid off or who have had their work hours reduced as a direct result of the pandemic.

  3. School employees working without a contract or reasonable assurance of continued employment who face reduced paychecks and no assurance of continued pay when schools are closed due to COVID-19.

The revised PUA eligibility guidelines apply retroactively, meaning that individuals can receive retroactive payments dating back to the beginning of the PUA program in March 2020.   

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 62



About this Author

John J. Porta Class Actions and Complex Litigation Attorney Jackson Lewis New York, NY

John J. Porta is a Principal in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. 

Mr. Porta is a strategic advisor who manages national, regional and local client relationships.  He advises management teams on their most sensitive and important matters.  In managing these relationships, he represents employers in all aspects of employment law, including transactional matters, litigation, arbitration, compliance advice and audits, executive and management training, and other employment related legal matters.  John’s approach is to emphasize the primacy...

Carolyn Trotta Employment Lawyer Jackson Lewis Law Firm Hartford Connecticut

Carolyn A. Trotta is an Associate in the Hartford, Connecticut, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She focuses her practice on employment litigation.

After graduating from law school, Ms. Trotta was a law clerk for the Honorable Michael R. Sheldon at the Connecticut Appellate Court.  Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Ms. Trotta worked at a full-service law firm in Bridgeport.

While in law school, Ms. Trotta served as the Executive Managing Editor for the Quinnipiac Law Review.  Ms. Trotta also served as a law student intern for the Honorable Stefan R...