The Business and Labor Committee collected information on the Department of Labor’s response to the current Covid-19 situation. I want to thank Senator Matt Hansen and his office for sharing this information.
Office of Senator Matt Hansen
Chair, Business and Labor Committee
There are a lot of questions about those unable to work during the current crisis. First I want to thank the Nebraska Department of Labor and the Governor for their quick response to the pandemic. Below are resources available for those unable to work or working reduced hours during:
● Employers can apply for this program.
● For those still working but limited hours during the pandemic period.
● The Short-Time Compensation program allows employers to uniformly reduce affected employees’ hours by 10 to 60 percent while permitting the employees to receive a prorated unemployment benefit.
● For those who are not able to work and not receiving a paycheck during the pandemic period. (If you are working from home or using sick or vacation leave then this does not apply to you)
● Under the executive order signed by Governor Ricketts starting March 22 through May 2 the following will be in place for unemployment insurance:
○ The waiting week for benefits has been waived
■ Benefits will begin immediately and not with the usual first week unpaid.
○ The work search requirements will be waived
■ Individuals will not have to apply to jobs in order to receive benefits. It will be assumed that they will be able to return to their jobs after the crisis is over.
○ Benefits will not be charged against individual employers accounts.
■ Money will be paid out of the general trust fund as the job losses are not the fault of individual employers.
■ Nebraska’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is well funded and is expected to handle the increased number of applications.
Other Important Considerations
● Please remind your constituents that there are expected to be long wait times when calling the Department of Labor. This is due both to the increased demand and the Department is also dealing with the same issues as all employers. If they cannot get through it is best to leave a call back number and they will be called back.
● Currently these programs do not apply to contractors or self employed individuals as they do not participate in the unemployment system. There may be coming Federal action to help these individuals. Please contact your Federal representatives.
● As we are aware the situation is changing rapidly. The Department and the Governor with his emergency powers can respond quickly as needed. We have been in close contact with the Department of Labor and will keep you updated.