During the coronavirus pandemic, states have been encouraged to revisit and waive some unemployment eligibility requirements to make benefits more accessible to individuals impacted by COVID-19. The North Carolina Department of Commerce recently issued an emergency rule altering some of the its regulatory requirements in light of the pandemic and allowing individuals to further take advantage of the expanded unemployment benefits provided via the CARES Act.
In addition to temporarily waiving the one-week waiting period and work search requirements, the emergency rule now requires employers to provide notice of the availability of unemployment compensation to employees at the time of separation from employment. Although the notices are only required for employees “separated” from employment, the Commerce Department recommends that employers also provide notice to employees furloughed, working intermittently, or subject to reduced hours as a result of COVID-19, as these individuals may also be eligible.
The notice must inform employees of the following:
1. Unemployment insurance benefits are available to workers who are unemployed and who meet the state’s eligibility requirements.
2. Employees may file a claim in the first week that employment stops or work hours are reduced.
3. Employees may file claims online at des.nc.gov or by telephone at (888) 737-0259.
4. Employees must provide the Division of Employment Security (DES) with the following information to process the claim:
a. Full legal name.
b. Social security number.
c. Authorization to work (if the employee is not a U.S. citizen or resident).
5. Employees may contact DES at (888) 737-0259 and select the appropriate menu option for assistance.
The emergency rule also temporarily waives benefit charges to employer accounts where an employee is paid benefits as a result of COVID-19 employment changes. This temporary waiver applies to claims filed during the state of emergency as declared by Governor Roy Cooper. The rule will be effective retroactively to April 14, 2020. The text of the proposed emergency rule can be found here.