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New Online Resource for Unemployment Benefits

State updates procedures because of Coronavirus epidemic

Michael Leighton | 3/19/2020, 1:14 p.m.
The Oregon Employment Department has issued a new online resource for employers, workers and job seekers impacted by the coronavirus ...

The Oregon Employment Department has a new online resource for employers, workers and job seekers impacted by the coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19), including procedures to file for unemployment insurance benefits because of the loss of employment.

In addition, Oregon Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle Thursday issued guidance to ensure families can take time off while schools are closed without risking their jobs

The Oregon Employment Department provides Unemployment Insurance 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 claim and receive unemployment benefits for a week, workers must be available for work, able to work, and actively looking for work they can do. But to give more flexibility in providing unemployment benefits in COVID-19 situations, Oregon has enacted temporary rules to give more flexibility to applicants.

Unemployment Insurance benefits are available during temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 situations. These benefits occur for employees whose employer stops operation for a short period of time, such as cleaning following a coronavirus exposure, or by government requirement. Workers can get unemployment benefits, and do not need to seek work with other employers if their place of employment will resume operations. To receive benefits, affected workers must still be able to work, stay in contact with their employer, and be available to work when called back. A full resource guide with questions and answers about specific COVID-19 coronavirus-related situations and unemployment benefits is available at Oregon.gov/employ. This site also has information for filing an online claim.

The number of initial Unemployment Insurance claims filed in Oregon rose from approximately 800 on Sunday, March 16 to a total of 18,500 on Tuesday, March 18.

Labor Commissioner Hoyle and the Bureau of Labor and Industries acted Thursday to update provisions of the Oregon Family Leave Act (OFLA) through emergency rulemaking. Only Oregonians who work for an employer that has at least 25 employees are eligible for OFLA.

Hoyle said the new rule “provides clarity to workers and employers during this uncertain period.”

The OFLA would normally provide for time off to care for a sick child for an illness, injury, or condition that is not serious, but with the new rules would also include caring for a child because of the school closures ordered by the governor because of the COVID-19 epidemic, even if the individual child is not sick.

The leave is protected but unpaid and workers can use any accrued paid time they have.

For help finding jobs and training resources, contact your local WorkSource Oregon center or go to WorkSourceOregon.org.

To file an online claim for unemployment benefits, go to Oregon.gov/employ or call 1-877-FILE-4-UI.