Under an emergency proclamation signed by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on April 7, additional changes have been made to loosen eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The highlights of the governor’s proclamation are as follows:
On a federal level, individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and can’t continue working as a result of COVID-19, such as self-employed workers, independent contractors and gig workers, are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits.
PUA provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to qualifying individuals who are otherwise able to work and available for work within the meaning of applicable state law, except that they are unemployed, partially unemployed or unable or unavailable to work due to COVID-19 related reasons, as defined in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act.
Benefit payments under PUA are retroactive, for weeks of unemployment, partial employment or inability to work due to COVID-19 reasons starting on or after Jan. 27. The CARES Act specifies that PUA benefits cannot be paid for weeks of unemployment ending after Dec. 31, 2020.
Please contact Mark Fijman or Phelps’ Labor and Employment team if you have any questions or need compliance advice and guidance. For more information related to COVID-19, please also see Phelps’s COVID-19: Client Resource Portal.