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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

COVID-19 FAQ For Businesses and Workers

4/6/2020 - Check back often for updated information as conditions change.

With Congress and the President responding to COVID-19 in multiple ways, it is challenging to keep up with how these recent changes to federal law may impact an individual’s situation at work. The Department is closely tracking recent legislative changes and how they may apply to state government operations and programs. The Missouri Department of Labor will provide updates on this FAQs page as changes are received, and as the U.S. Department of Labor provides additional federal guidance.

NOTE: The regular unemployment insurance (UI) program continues to be in effect. In Missouri, most people who are currently employed and quit are not eligible for unemployment benefits. If an employer offers sick leave and/or other leave options to address COVID-19 in lieu of layoffs, then a person who quits on his/her own volition would not qualify for UI benefits. At this point, no federal legislation changes this part of Missouri’s program eligibility for unemployment benefits.

To date, the following changes to federal law have been passed by Congress and signed by the President:

Phase I:  Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
Signed by President Trump and became law on March 6, 2020.  The Missouri Department of Labor does not administer this Act.

Phase II:  Families First Coronavirus Response Act
On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) into law. The Missouri Department of Labor does not administer this act. 

On March 28, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published additional implementation guidance pursuant to the FFCRA. The new guidance includes application of new paid leave requirements, fact sheets, and other materials, including  two posters – one for federal workers and one for all other employees – that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under the new law. In addition, the WHD released a question and answer document about paid leave and posting requirements. 

As a reminder, the WHD website is the best place for guidance on how the FFCRA applies to an individual’s particular circumstances:
Fact Sheet for Employees
Fact Sheet for Employers
Questions and Answers

Phase III:  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)

Since Missouri signed an agreement with the US Department of Labor on Saturday March 28, 2020, regarding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, the $600 federal supplement provided under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provision to those that are unemployed will be effective the week beginning March 29, 2020 for those eligible to receive a regular unemployment weekly payment. The Missouri Department of Labor expects the payment to begin going out to eligible recipients as early as the week of April 12, 2020.  Payments will be made retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29, 2020. The last payable week under the FPUC will be the week ending July 25, 2020. For additional information, please refer to the FAQs under the unemployment information tab on this page.

The FPUC does not include any provisions or benefits for eligible self-employed workers.  Late on Sunday, April 5 DOLIR received federal guidance on that provision, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.  Because of the complexity of the PUA, DOLIR will need to analyze the information to effectively set up programming to implement the federal guidance.  DOLIR will proceed as expeditiously as possible. The Missouri Department of Labor is still awaiting USDOL guidance so that it can fully implement other changes made by the new law, including the following measures:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is separate from the regular unemployment insurance program, which will continue to operate. PUA may cover individuals who are not eligible for regular and extended benefits, or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).  This could include independent contractors, self-employed, agricultural workers, etc. Additional guidance from USDOL is required before implementation.

Pandemic Federal Additional Compensation (PFAC) – Under Pandemic Federal Unemployment Compensation (PFUC), an additional amount of $600 may be paid on top of weekly unemployment benefits for up to four (4) months, not to exceed July 31, 2020. In order to receive the $600 PFAC, workers must be eligible for regular unemployment insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Additional guidance from USDOL is required before implementation.

4/6/2020 - Check back often for updated information as conditions change.

Due to unanticipated high volume of Unemployment Insurance claims, if you do not currently have a Missouri Access Debit Card, we strongly encourage any claimant with a bank account to select Direct Deposit as your benefit payment method.  At this time, it is the most time-efficient method to receive payment.

For Employers: If you are an employer and need more information on the services available through the Missouri Division of Employment Security (DES), please click:

Or to contact a tax representative by email: esemptax@labor.mo.gov

For Employees: 

  • If this is your first time filing for unemployment please watch this video on unemployment basics. 
  • Visit UInteract to file for unemployment and access our video gallery at uinteract.labor.mo.gov, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Regional Claims Center representatives are available by phone Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM by calling:

Jefferson City                          573-751-9040
Kansas City                             816-889-3101
Springfield                              417-895-6851
St. Louis                                  314-340-4950
Outside Local Calling Area        800-320-2519

Or to contact Regional Claims Center representative by email:  esuiclaims@labor.mo.gov

UInteract (uinteract.labor.mo.gov) is an easy to use mobile-friendly online Unemployment Insurance application that is available to workers and employers 24/7.

If you need more information on Unemployment Insurance:

  • Visit the Missouri Division of Employment Security website at labor.mo.gov/DES.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Unemployment Insurance Benefits
Questions and Answers

Question 1: What guidance has Missouri received from the US Department of Labor regarding the $600 federal supplement?
Answer
: On April 4, 2020, Missouri received guidance for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program that provides an eligible individual with $600 per week in addition to the weekly benefit amount he or she receives from other unemployment compensation programs.

Question 2: What does the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program provide and how do I get the benefits?
Answer
: The FPUC provides an additional $600 payment per week to those eligible for at least one dollar ($1 US) in regular unemployment benefits.  The $600 federal supplement provided under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provision to those that are unemployed will be effective the week beginning March 29, 2020 for those eligible to receive a regular unemployment weekly payment.  The Missouri Department of Labor expects the payments to begin going out to eligible recipients as early as the week of April 12, 2020.  Payments will be made retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29, 2020. The last payable week under the FPUC will be the week ending July 25, 2020. During the FPUC program period, claimants who are eligible to receive regular unemployment weekly payments will receive the additional $600 FPUC payment.

Question 3: When will I receive my payment under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Program?
Answer: The additional $600 FPUC payments are expected to begin going to eligible individuals the week of April 12, 2020 after technology updates and procedures are implemented and tested.

Question 4: If I’m self-employed, can I receive unemployment benefits?
Answer: The federal guidance received on April 4, 2020, did not provide information for the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC) program. We expect to receive guidance for this program the week of April 6, 2020.

Question 5: What is the best method to reset my userid for the UInteract system so I can file a claim?
Answer: If you do not remember answers to your security questions and are unable to reset your userid, the best method to have your userid reset is by emailing esuiclaims@labor.mo.gov. Be sure to include your name, phone number and last four digits of your social security with your request. Due to the volume of inquiries, it may take a few days to respond to your request.

Question 6: Who pays for the additional $600 provided under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program?
Answer: The FPUC is 100% federally funded.

Question 7: Can I quit my job to collect unemployment and the $600 weekly PFUC payment?
Answer: 
Missouri’s regular unemployment insurance program continues to be in effect. Under Missouri unemployment law, most people who are currently employed and quit are not eligible for unemployment benefits. If an employer offers sick leave and/or other leave or remote work options to address COVID-19 in lieu of layoffs, then a person who quits on his/her own volition would not qualify for unemployment benefits. At this point, no federal legislation changes this part of Missouri’s program eligibility for unemployment. Quitting without good cause to obtain additional funds under the regular unemployment program or the CARES Act qualifies as fraud. If an individual obtains benefits through fraud, the individual is ineligible for any additional benefit payments, must pay back the benefits received and is subject to criminal prosecution.

Question 8: If I am off of work due to the coronavirus and am eligible to receive UI benefits, does a waiting week have to be served prior to receiving my first payment? 
Answer: Under the authority of Missouri EO20-4, the Missouri Department of Labor is in the process of waiving any waiting week requirement served for all claims filed as a result of the coronavirus.

Question 9 : If the coronavirus (COVID-19) causes an employer to shut down operations temporarily, will workers qualify for unemployment benefits?
Answer: In most situations, yes. Missouri unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employer must shut down operations temporarily and no work is available, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the eligibility criteria. Weekly work search requirements are not required when there is a recall date within eight weeks of the temporary lay-off. If the recall date changes but is within the initial eight weeks from the last day worked, the employee must contact a Regional Claims Center representative to update the recall date. An employer may apply for approval of an extended recall and work search waiver for employees of up to sixteen weeks. For more information about recall and extended work search waiver please visit labor.mo.gov/DES/Employers/extended_waiver.

Question 10: Will an employer’s unemployment taxes increase if an employee receives unemployment benefits because of a coronavirus-related business shutdown? 
Answer: Under the authority of Missouri EO20-4, the Missouri Department of Labor is in the process of temporarily waiving any charges to contributory employers for benefits paid out to claimants as a result of a loss of work due to the coronavirus.

Question 11: If I am off of work due to the coronavirus and am receiving pay such as paid sick leave, vacation pay or family medical leave, am I eligible to receive unemployment benefits?
Answer:  No.  Generally speaking, an individual still receiving pay while off of work is not “unemployed” and is ineligible for unemployment benefits.

Question 12: Will employees be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits if an employer lays off employees due to the loss of production caused by the coronavirus?  
Answer: In most situations, yes. Missouri unemployment benefits are available to any individual who is unemployed through no fault of his or her own. If an employer must lay off employees due to the loss of production caused by the coronavirus, individuals may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they meet the eligibility criteria. Employers may be able to avoid a lay-off with a partial shut down by applying for the Missouri Shared Work program. See question 14 below.

Question 13 : Are employer unemployment taxes and reports for the first quarter still due on April 30, 2020?
Answer: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the first quarter employer Contribution and Wage payment due date has been extended until June 1, 2020.  Contribution and Wage reports are still due by April 30, 2020.

Question 14: Can an employer participate in Missouri’s shared work program whose business has temporarily declined due to the coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Answer: An employer can participate in a shared work plan if they meet the eligibility requirements for Missouri’s shared work program.  The Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program is an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a reduction in available work. It allows an employer to divide the available work among a specified group of affected employees instead of a layoff. These employees receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours.For more information about the eligibility requirements for Missouri’s shared work program, please visit www.sharedwork.mo.gov , email shared.work@labor.mo.gov. or call 573-751-WORK (9675).

Question 15:  Can an employer participate in a mass claim filing?
Answer: Yes.  The Electronic Mass Claims Filing System is available to employers during a temporary mass lay-off. Employee information provided by the employer, allows the DES to file an initial or renewed unemployment claim on behalf of employees quickly and efficiently.  An employer can participate in a mass claim filing if they meet the eligibility requirements below:

  • The lay-off must be due to a lack of work;
  • The lay-off must be less than eight weeks in duration;
  • An employee is not on a leave of absence;
  • The employee is not receiving pay; for example, sick pay, vacation pay, family medical leave pay, etc.
  • For more information about the Mass Claims Filing System, please visit labor.mo.gov/mass-claims.
     

Question 16: Will an employee be eligible for unemployment benefits if they are in mandatory quarantine because of suspicion of having the coronavirus?
Answer: In most situations, yes. Weekly work search eligibility requirements are not required when there is a recall date within eight weeks of the temporary lay-off.

Question 17: If an asymptomatic individual imposes a self-quarantine because of the coronavirus, will they be eligible for unemployment benefits?
Answer: The individual may be eligible for benefits. Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are totally or partially unemployed due to no fault of their own. In this example, the individual—not the employer—is choosing not to work. However, the facts of each circumstance are essential. If the employer allowed this individual to telework and the individual chose not to accept that work, they would not qualify for benefits because they would not be unemployed. If the employer required the individual to stay home but did not offer telework, the individual might be eligible for benefits. 
     
Question 18: If an individual leaves work to care for children due to school/daycare closures as a result of COVID-19, are they eligible to receive unemployment benefits?
Answer: In most cases, no. Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are totally or partially unemployed due to no fault of their own. In this example, the individual is not available for work due to caring for children and would be ineligible. However, the facts of each circumstance are essential in determining eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Question 19:  If an individual is ill because of the coronavirus, will they be eligible for unemployment benefits?
Answer: Maybe. The facts of each circumstance are essential in determining eligibility for unemployment benefits and each situation must be handled on a case by case basis.

Question 20: Can an individual receive Disaster Unemployment Assistance due to the coronavirus?
Answer: If the President of the United States declares the coronavirus a national disaster with individual assistance available, and if the individual experiences a loss of work in Missouri as a result, they may be eligible for unemployment benefits and/or Disaster Unemployment Assistance.

NOTE: The March 13, 2020, national disaster emergency declaration did NOT include individual assistance.

Question 21: When should an individual file for unemployment benefits?
Answer: Once the individual is separated from work, they should immediately file a claim for unemployment benefits.

Question 22: If an individual has exhausted unemployment benefits for the benefit year, are they eligible for additional unemployment benefits due to the Coronavirus?
Answer: Not at this time.  

Question 23: What if a claimant is required to participate in the Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program?
Answer: If an individual is required to participate in the RESEA program the RESEA interview will be completed over the phone at this time. Claimants should contact the MO Job Center at the phone number listed on the appointment letter.  If the individual is unable to participate, they may reschedule their interview appointment by contacting the job center at the phone number listed on their appointment letter.

For additional questions about COVID-19, please visit:  
www.health.mo.gov/coronavirus

Updated 3-19-2020 

Notice of operations – Covid-19
In the interest of your health and safety, and that of employees at the Division of Workers’ Compensation, please note:

ALL IN-PERSON docket settings/trials are canceled through April 17, 2020.

You MAY NOT meet clients and attorneys at DWC offices to handle routine matters, instead please contact clients, other parties, and the Division electronically. See the options below.

Upon request of all parties to a case, a tele-conference with an Administrative Law Judge may be scheduled to discuss your case. Attorneys will decide who will initiate the conference call to include all parties and the Judge. Please submit in advance any documents to review – electronically – to all parties and the Division.

Routine matters can be handled by email and tele-conference:
See the local office docketing email chart on the DWC website and below to submit requests for tele-conferences, mediations, hardship hearings, final hearings, settlements, subpoenas, continuance, entries of appearance and withdrawal, dismissals, and other matters.

Settlements:In most cases, a settlement agreement or Stipulation for Compromise Settlement form can be submitted for an Administrative Law Judge to consider, using the local office docketing email below. The Division may schedule a tele-conference at the request of the parties to the case or upon its own determination. A signed copy of the settlement will be emailed to all parties.
A tele-conference will satisfy the Division’s requirement that an unrepresented employee appear before the Division; notarized signatures of employees are no longer required by the Division.

Urgent matters:
Requests for Hardship Hearings will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Filings submitted to the Division:
Attorneys - Claims for Compensation and Answers to Claims for Compensation should be submitted electronically through Box.com or by Fax to 573-522-5043. Currently over 58% of all Claims and Answers are submitted using Box.com and a date-stamped copy is generally available within 24 hours.Instructions are available

Local office docketing email chart:

Local Office

Phone

Docketing Email Address

Cape Girardeau

573-290-5757

 CGDocketing@labor.mo.gov

Jefferson City

573-751-4231

 JCDocketing@labor.mo.gov

Joplin

417-629-3032

 JoplinDocketing@labor.mo.gov

Kansas City

816-889-2481

 KCDocketing@labor.mo.gov

Springfield

417-888-4100

 SGFDocketing@labor.mo.gov

St. Charles

636-949-1999

 STCDocketing@labor.mo.gov

St. Joseph

816-387-2275

 STJoeDocketing@labor.mo.gov

St. Louis

314-340-6865

 STLDocketing@labor.mo.gov

The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community (“community spread”) in some affected geographic areas.  Community spread means people have been infected with the virus in the area, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected.

Diseases can make anyone sick regardless of their race or ethnicity.  Fear and anxiety about COVID-19 can cause people to avoid or reject others even though they are not at risk for spreading the virus.

Remember that the Missouri Human Rights Act makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race and national origin in employment, housing, and public accommodation. 

If you have questions about COVID-19, please visit the following resources:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, www.health.mo.gov

The Missouri Commission on Human Rights is the agency mandated to enforce Missouri’s anti-discrimination law.