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COVID-19 Update – Gov. Abbott Waives Waiting Period, Work Search Requirements for UI

COVID-19 Update from Gov. Abbott

Governor Abbott has waived the one-week waiting period for benefits and work search requirements for Unemployment Insurance. 

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By WEBSITE ADMIN

AUSTIN – In light of the rising number of unemployed due to the coronavirus outbreak Texas Governor Greg Abbott has made changes to the current Unemployment Insurance system to remove barriers to eligibility and receive benefits sooner.

Gov. Abbott and the Texas Workforce Commission have waived the one-week waiting period to qualify for benefits and the work-search requirement. 

For more information on how the State of Texas is handling the pandemic, see Governor Greg Abbott’s website at: https://gov.texas.gov/

 

For more information on the status of COVID-19 in Texas, see the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) website at: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/

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COVID-19 Update from Texas Workforce Commission

COVID-19 Update from the Texas Workforce Commission

Recommendations Will Ease Backlog of Texans Unable to Access Unemployment System

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By WEBSITE ADMIN

AUSTIN- Over half a million Texans have filed unemployment claims in the last 18 days as a result of COVID-19. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will soon outpace the total number of claims received in all of 2019. This unprecedented increase has led to long wait times, overwhelmed call centers and technical issues with the Unemployment Benefit Services portal.

TWC staff is working around the clock to expand the capacity to take claims but needs your support. Effective immediately, TWC recommends that Texans stagger their calls and access to the online portal based on the applicant’s area codes.

 

“The outbreak of COVID-19 has reminded each of us the importance of acting with others in mind,” said TWC Executive Director Ed Serna. “Just as with the virus, we can treat this problem far more effectively if we work together and space out the demand rather than having everyone call at the same time. I know there are Texans worried about being out of work and missing their paychecks. We keep working until every Texan that needs help gets help. We are asking for you to join the effort.”

 

The link to the entire article is: https://bit.ly/3aXoXWd We also want to post all press releases on social media.

  • Parents are receiving or transitioning off of public assistance
  • Are receiving or needing protective services
  • Families are low-income

In some cases the workforce development board may have a waiting list for child care services.

For more information, visit our child care page for parents or contact your local office.

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TWC Cautions Claimants Regarding Fraudulent Calls

TWC Cautions Claimants Regarding Fraudulent Calls

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By WEBSITE ADMIN

AUSTIN – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) advises those applying for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits that individuals misrepresenting TWC may capitalize on the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and attempt to secure sensitive, personal information through deceit.  

WC is reminding all UI claimants and unemployed workers to practice caution when providing people with personally identifiable information. Unfortunately, in situations such as the one we are experiencing because of COVID-19, there can be unemployment insurance scams and fraudulent phone calls.

Below are some indications that you may be a victim of an attempted scam by someone pretending to be a TWC Specialist:

  • The individual asks for a credit card number.
  • The individual says there is a fee for processing the claim.
  • The individual asks for more than the last four digits of your bank account and routing number.

When you are contacted by a legitimate TWC Specialist they will need to confirm your identity and will ask for your Social Security Number and date of birth. However, a TWC Specialist will never ask for a credit card number or state that there is any kind of fee associated with your claim. There is no fee for filing for UI and a TWC Specialist cannot change banking information, so the full number is unnecessary.  

If you sent TWC an email, left a message, or reached out using social media, you should expect a phone call from a TWC Specialist. You may receive calls from TWC on other issues concerning your claim, but always be vigilant when providing personal information. When in doubt, hang up.

If you encounter anyone who’s identity you are not sure of, do not give out your:

  • Phone Number
  • Address
  • Social Security Number
  • Personal Identification Number (PIN)

Impersonating a public servant and identity theft are crimes punishable by law. If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/.

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COVID-19 Update – How does the CARES Act Affect Your Benefits?

How does the CARES Act Affect Your Benefits?

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By WEBSITE ADMIN

This flow chart represents the options for individuals in search of assistance. If you’ve already been approved for benefits you do not need to do anything. If you are eligible or newly eligible, apply online. If you are a non-traditional applicant, apply online and then wait for a notification about pandemic unemployment assistance. If you have exhausted your benefits, wait for a notification via mail or email, you may then be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of benefits. The additional $600 in benefits allies to all who qualify, no additional action is needed.

Already Approved for Benefits?
Sit tight. You may be eligible for potential Unemployment Insurance (UI) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits for up to 39 weeks AND you are possibly eligible for an additional $600/wk until July 31, 2020.

 

Are you Self-Employed, a Contract Worker or Someone Without Significant Wages?
CARES provides assistance for Non-Traditional Applicants. Apply for benefits at ui.texasworkforce.org.

 

Already Applied for Benefits or Exhausted Your Unemployment Insurance? We will contact you. You do not need to follow up with us. And once you apply you will not need to take any additional steps to apply for PUA or other additional benefits. Once you submit your application we will automatically review if for any additional benefits you may be eligible for.

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COVID-19 Information Update – TWC Goes Live to Answer Unemployment Questions

TWC Goes Live to Answer Unemployment Questions

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By WEBSITE ADMIN

SAN ANTONIO – As unemployment claims soar throughout Texas amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Texas Workforce Commission will held a Facebook livestream to answer frequently asked questions.

Officials discussed how to sign up for unemployment benefits and other frequently asked questions.

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COVID-19 Employee Rights

COVID-19 Update – FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

PAID SICK LEAVE AND EXPANDED FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE UNDER THE FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

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By WEBSITE ADMIN

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their
employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
These provisions will apply from April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the employee’s regular rate of pay where the employee is unable to work because the employee is quarantined (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Parents are receiving or transitioning off of public assistance
  • Are receiving or needing protective services
  • Families are low-income

In some cases the workforce development board may have a waiting list for child care services.

For more information, visit our child care page for parents or contact your local office.

Generally, the Act provides that employees of covered employers are eligible for:

  • Covered Employers: The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA apply to certain public employers, and private employers with fewer than 500 employees.[1] Most employees of the federal government are covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which was not amended by this Act, and are therefore not covered by the expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA. However, federal employees covered by Title II of the Family and Medical Leave Act are covered by the paid sick leave provision. 

    Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.

    Eligible Employees: All employees of covered employers are eligible for two weeks of paid sick time for specified reasons related to COVID-19. Employees employed for at least 30 days are eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family leave to care for a child under certain circumstances related to COVID-19.[2]

    Notice: Where leave is foreseeable, an employee should provide notice of leave to the employer as is practicable. After the first workday of paid sick time, an employer may require employees to follow reasonable notice procedures in order to continue receiving paid sick time.

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay because the employee is unable to work because of a bona fide need to care for an individual subject to quarantine (pursuant to Federal, State, or local government order or advice of a health care provider), or to care for a child (under 18 years of age) whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, and/or the employee is experiencing a substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of the Treasury and Labor; and
  • Up to an additional 10 weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the employee’s regular rate of pay where an employee, who has been employed for at least 30 calendar days, is unable to work due to a bona fide need for leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed or unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19.
  • Parents are receiving or transitioning off of public assistance
  • Are receiving or needing protective services
  • Families are low-income

In some cases the workforce development board may have a waiting list for child care services.

For more information, visit our child care page for parents or contact your local office.

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TWC Encourages Employers to Enroll in Shared Work Program

TWC Encourages Employers to Enroll in Shared Work Program

Enrolling in Shared Work Program provides an Alternative to Layoffs During COVID-19

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By WEBSITE ADMIN

AUSTIN ⎯ The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) encourages employers to enroll in Shared Work program as an alternative to layoffs. The voluntary Shared Work program was developed to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business such as the impact of COVID-19.

Shared Work allows employers to supplement their employees’ wages lost because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits. Under the program employers can reduce normal weekly work hours for employees in an affected unit by at least 10 percent but not more than 40 percent. Shared Work unemployment benefits are payable to employees who qualify for and participate in an approved Shared Work Plan. Workers may choose not to participate. Employees who qualify will receive both wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits.

The employer can use the Shared Work Plan only for employees whose hours have been reduced. Shared Work benefits can be paid only for wages lost because of a reduction in the employee’s regular hours. Regular hours may not exceed 40 hours. An employee who normally works overtime may not receive shared work benefits for a reduction in their overtime hours.

Shared work employees must:

  • Submit their unemployment claims on Unemployment Benefits Services
  • Be eligible for regular unemployment benefits
  • Accept all work offered by the participating employer
  • Be able and available for work with the employer

For more information on the Shared Work Program or to apply for the program visit https://twc.texas.gov/businesses/shared-work

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