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Employment Department

​​​​​​​​*PAGE UPDATED MARCH 24​, 2020*​


​​​*Employment Department Temporary Rules for
Unemployment Insurance Ben​efits Flexibility*

The health and safety of workplaces is of utmost importance to the Oregon Employment Department. This summary provides general guidance to employers, workers, and job seekers who may be impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus. This document will be updated as more information becomes available. The Oregon Employment Department is working with partner agencies nationwide and the U.S. Department of Labor to ask for additional unemployment benefits options related to COVID-19. 

What can I do to keep my workplace safe and reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus?

Steps each of us can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus are the same as those to prevent common colds and the flu. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also gives a thorough overview of best practices for businesses, including encouraging sick employees to stay home, routine cleaning of commonly used surfaces, and work travel-specific considerations.

In addition, the CDC encourages reducing workplace exposure by considering flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting), flexible work hours such as staggered shifts, and alternatives to large group meetings where possible to increase the physical distance between people in the workplace. ​

​Workers

The Oregon Employment Department provides Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to most workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. To get benefits, workers must meet some requirements. In general, to receive UI benefits for a week, you must be able to work, be available for work, and look for work you can do.  

UI benefits may be available to those who are on a temporary layoff. These benefits occur for claimants whose employer stops operation for a short period of time, such as cleaning following a coronavirus exposure or by government requirement. Workers can get UI benefits, and do not need to seek work with other employers. You must be able to work, stay in contact with your employer, and be available to work when called back.​

If your employer expects to re-open in the future, you do not actively have to look for another job to receive benefits. To get benefits, you must:

  • be able to work;
  • stay in contact with your employer; and
  • ​be available to work when your employer calls you back to work.

​If you are not still in contact with your employer, you are currently considered to be actively seeking work if you are doing what you can to be prepared to return to new work or find new employment
  • Note that when filing an online claim, our systems require you to enter your work search. You can bypass this by marking the temporary layoff option.
  • During your temporary layoff period, please keep a written work search log in case it is requested in the future. 

If you are home sick because you are sick with COVID-19 or other flu like symptoms that prevent you from going into work, you are considered able to work.

If you are quarantined, but not sick, you are considered able to work.

If you are hospitalized because you are sick with COVID-19, your claim will need to be reviewed determine the possibility of receiving benefits.​

You may be eligible for benefits. You can file a claim, and the Employment Department will gather information from you and your employer to see if benefits would apply.​

Generally yes, you would be considered available for work.
​You can file an initial claim to determine the possibility of receiving benefits. ​

If you are getting vacation or other leave pay while your employer is closed, you generally are not able to also receive unemployment insurance benefits.​

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries issues guidance related to Oregon's sick time and other leave time laws.​

Contact the Workers' Compensation Division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services for information on filing a workers' compensation claim related to coronavirus. They can also be contacted at 800-452-0288 or workcomp.questions@oregon.gov.​

​You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if you quit your job. You can file still an initial claim to find out if you can receive benefits. ​

Generally, you will be eligible for unemployment benefits. To find out if you are eligible, file an initial claim. We will gather information from you and your employer about your circumstances to determine your eligibility.​

​Self-employed individuals generally do not pay Unemployment Insurance taxes and are not eligible for benefits. You can still file an application for a benefits claim. ​

Unemployment benefits may be available to school staff who are out of work due to the closure and are not actively seeking work with other employers. You must be able to work, stay in contact with your employer during the temporary layoff, and be available to work when called back. If your spring break is during the closure other provisions may apply.​

Generally, you will not be eligible for benefits during the normal spring break period if you are expected to return to your job after the break. You may be eligible and can file a claim for other weeks during the closure that are not part of your normal spring break.​

Whether you are paid by the Department of Human Services, another agency, or an independent contractor, you can file a claim for unemployment benefits. The Employment Department will review each case and determine if you can receive benefits based on current law and the circumstances of the COVID-19 coronavirus.​

Job Seekers

The Oregon Employment Department provides Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to most workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. To get benefits, workers must meet some requirements. In general, to receive UI benefits for a week, you must be able to work, be available for work, and look for work you can do.  

If you are home sick because you are sick with COVID-19 or other flu like symptoms that prevent you from going into work, you are considered able to work.

If you are quarantined, but not sick, you are considered able to work.

If you are hospitalized because you are sick with COVID-19, your claim will need to be reviewed determine the possibility of receiving benefits.​

Generally yes, you would be considered available for work. If you have turned down work with a new employer, that could affect your benefit eligibility.

At this time, unemployment benefit extensions are not available. ​

If at all possible we encourage you to go online to file a new claim or restart your existing claim. With the current climate our phone lines are busier than usual, we will check your situation and go back to the prior week when appropriate. ​

Yes; if you are home because you are caring for a family member due to the effects of COVID-19, you are considered available for work and will want to report that on your weekly claim. If you are home solely because you lack childcare for your child or children due to school or daycare closure, you are considered available for work and will want to indicate that on your weekly claim.​

​​Employers

​​

UI benefits may be available to those who are on a temporary layoff. These benefits occur for claimants whose employer stops operation for a short period of time, such as cleaning following a coronavirus exposure or by government requirement. Workers can get UI benefits, and do not need to seek work with other employers. They must be able to work, stay in contact with you as their employer, and be available to work when you call them back.​

One option to consider is whether you may be able to use Oregon's Work Share program. It helps employers prevent layoffs by reducing the schedules of workers, instead of laying them off, while benefits help to offset employees' lost wages. ​

The Higher Education Coordinating Commission has rapid response services to plan for job transitions needed when a business closure or mass layoff occurs, including cases of natural and other disasters. Local Rapid Response teams coordinate with employer, worker representative, Trade Act and Labor.  ​

Yes, anyone can file for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Currently excluded LLC members may elect coverage. Additional information is available from our Unemployment Insurance Tax division.​

Yes, anyone can file for unemployment benefits. In this case, LLC members could receive benefits if they meet all eligibility requirements.​

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Created with Highcharts 8.0.4Chart context menuOregon Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance,WeeklyShaded areas indicate recession as defined by National Bureau of EconomicResearchSource: U.S. Department of Labor, Oregon Employment Department2006200820102012201420162018202005k10k15k20k25k
Note: Data for the week of March 14, 2020 is advance state claims data. Advance claims are not directly comparable to claims reported in prior weeks. Advance claims are reported by the state liable for paying the unemployment compensation, whereas previous weeks reported claims reflect claimants by state of residence. In addition, claims reported as "workshare equivalent" in the previous week are added to the advance claims as a proxy for the current week's "workshare equivalent" activity.




Press Release:
March 18,2020
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Read the full PDF:

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NEW!

WorkSource Oregon COVID-19 Practices

I still have questions. Who can I ask?

The Employment Department has created the OED_COVID19_Info@oregon.gov mailbox for coronavirus questions related to employer and job seeker programs and services.

Scenarios and Benefits Available

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