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Ohio Unemployment Expansions Amidst COVID-19 Crisis (US)

Ohio, like all other states, is facing an unprecedented rise in unemployment claims as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  In Ohio, 111,055 unemployment claims were filed between March 15-18, 2020.  At the same point just one week ago, there were under 4,000 claims.  These numbers are expected to increase in the coming days and weeks as the State has shut down bars, restaurants, gyms, and hair salons.

To simplify the unemployment process, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has developed an instruction sheet for layoffs and shutdowns related to COVID-19; available here.  ODJFS has instructed Ohio employers to provide this form to affected employees to assist them with the process of applying for unemployment benefits, as well as the following mass layoff number to expedite the processing of unemployment benefits:  2000180.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine also issued an Executive Order that includes the following changes to Ohio’s unemployment system during the state’s emergency declaration period:

  1. Unemployed workers will include individuals requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19 even if not actually diagnosed with COVID-19; and
  2. Individuals totally or partially unemployed, or who are participating in the SharedWork Ohio Program will not be required to serve a waiting period before receiving unemployment insurance or SharedWork benefits; and
  3. Any benefit paid on these unemployment claims shall not be charged to the account of the employer who otherwise would have been charged but instead shall be charged to the mutualized account, except reimbursing employers; and
  4. Waiver of work search requirements shall include those individuals requested by a medical professional, local health authority or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19 even if not actually diagnosed with COV-19; and
  5. Penalties for late reporting and payments will be waived for employers affected by COVID-19.

Ohio employers must consider the timing and effect of layoffs resulting in unemployment claims in conjunction with new sick leave requirements included in the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (discussed here and going into effect April 2, 2020), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and your own workplace policies.

© Copyright 2020 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLPNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 80

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About this Author

Traci L. Martinez Labor & Employment Attorney Squire Patton Boggs Columbus, OH
Partner

Traci Martinez is a member of the firm’s Global Board and is the deputy office managing partner of the Columbus, Ohio, office. She is an experienced civil litigation and labor and employment lawyer. Traci has a unique and broad practice that focuses on the business objectives of her clients, whether through counseling, litigation or transactional matters. Traci is also a demonstrated leader in the Central Ohio community.

As a member of the firm’s Global Board, Traci assists in the strategic planning of the firm’s initiatives, including expansion into new markets, such as Asia and...

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Anne Marie Schloemer, Employment Attorney, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm
Associate

Anne Marie Schloemer (Prack) researches and analyzes legal sources for drafting memorandum, pleadings and position statements related to employment law. She also drafts discovery requests and responses, and prepares for depositions and litigation.

In addition, Anne Marie participates in all aspects of workers’ compensation administrative hearings including the preparation of client defenses to employees’ claims and medical histories and summaries.

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