The COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis on many levels for employers struggling to support employees, keep a business afloat, and rapidly return to work. Employers are physically and fiscally faced with new challenges and many of these challenges center around talent and workforce concerns.
In Delaware, unemployment benefits have been limited to those “ready, willing, and able to work” which included the ability to seek employment. As you know, with the limitations imposed on individuals and businesses in the first state, the ability for the unemployed to actively seek employment is simply not possible; therefore, this is not held as a disqualifier.
What is the difference between a furloughed and laid off person? An employer may furlough a person for a variety of reasons if they intend to recall the worker after a period of time usually 45-60 days. Many employers will provide some compensation or maintain benefits during the furlough. Others may not and the furloughed employee may seek unemployment benefits. The employer may “recall” the furloughed employee and they are supposed to return to work within 3 days of the notice. Failure to return would make the person ineligible for unemployment benefits. It is a little more complex for laid-off workers who are detached from their former employer.
Currently, Delaware can deny benefits to furloughed workers who did not return when recalled and this should be explained to employees who do not return from furlough. You should ensure you report this significant change to the division of unemployment.
As you can imagine, the Delaware Department of Labor has been inundated with a variety of questions in addition to the high number of filings for benefits. Delaware’s unemployment regulations as well as the federal requirements are requiring coordination and clarification. For more information visit de.gov/coronavirus for FAQ from Delaware Division of Unemployment Insurance.