Millions of Americans have lost their jobs since the coronavirus hit the USA earlier this year. If you are one of these millions, and if you haven't already done so, you should file for unemployment immediately. How much you'll earn varies by state, along with eligibility requirements. For your information, unemployment means you've lost a job through no fault of your own. This is a perfect scenario where this applies. Here are some things you should know related to your employment.
The administration announced a stimulus package for everyone affected by the virus. You can find out about how much you may be getting on this stimulus check calculator by The Washington Post. The package is more inclusive than regular unemployment benefits. For instance, self-employed and part-time workers are also eligible, as well as those who receive Social Security and disability.
Most Connecticut residents can expect a payment from the coronavirus stimulus package as unemployment is beefed up and extended. The federal stimulus package includes an additional $600 on top of what you would normally receive from the state for unemployment benefits.
The Connecticut Mirror reported the maximum weekly unemployment benefit in the state is $649 and the federal benefit would mean that a worker in Connecticut could receive a maximum benefit of $1,249 per week. This extra benefit is capped at four months.
Furloughed Connecticut workers who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic will also receive financial assistance from the federal government. Additionally, the bill is designed to help self-employed workers, too. Self-employed, part-time and new-hire workers who are no longer drawing an income should call the state unemployment office for guidance to see if they're eligible for benefits.
Unemployed workers would be able to collect benefits for up to ten months, though the additional $600 federal benefit expires after four months, CNBC reports.
In addition, if your company lays you off using Covid-19 as the reason, you could sue for wrongful termination. A major concern for employees is whether they can be fired for taking time off because of COVID-19. In short, employers can't fire workers for taking family or medical leave under state or federal law. Any employer who does so risks a wrongful termination lawsuit. Some states have adopted common law (judicially-created) actions for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. It can certainly be argued that official stay-at-home and social distancing measures designed to prevent the spread of a global pandemic represent the type of strong public policy that would qualify for protection in many jurisdictions. If an employee is fired because of the employer’s unwillingness to comply with such orders, he or she may well have a valid legal claim.
In addition, employees who need to take leave from work because of the Coronavirus may be protected by laws such as the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), state and local leave laws, and the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act which took effect on April 2.
The new act provides for two weeks of paid sick leave for certain employees unable to work because of COVID-19 issues and an additional 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave for certain employees unable to work because of Coronavirus-related childcare obligations.
Ultimately, employees who are terminated or feel that their jobs are at risk because of the Coronavirus crisis should consult with a legal professional.