YOUR UNEMPLOYMENT QUESTIONS ANSWERED
We've been receiving multiple calls from employees and employers asking about layoffs, unemployment, and the different options available to them. We're here to help you navigate through this challenging time for your business.

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CALL THE CHAMBER AT 860-423-6389

What to do About Unemployment During Your Business Slow Down/Shut Down
 
If your company is experiencing a slow down or a shut down because of COVID-19 and there is not enough work for your employees, here are some options:
 
#1 MOST IMPORTANT
All employers recognize that their employees are their most valuable asset. Finding a good employee and keeping the is the hardest part of running any business. So make sure you take time to talk to them and assure them of their value. Explain that this is a crisis due to the coronavirus and that you are not “firing” them but you have to make adjustments so that your company can weather this storm.
 
#2 YOU HAVE 2 OPTIONS
OPTION 1:
If your company has shut down, you may need to lay off all of or many of your employees. This process is simple. You will need to go to  http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/HP/UC-61Fillable.pdf

Fill in or download the “pink slip” form. You are not required to do this but it helps your employees apply for benefits and you want to make this as easy for them as possible.  
 
Hints to make the process easier for your employees: You should put on the form a “return to work date”. This is an estimate. Use 04/15/2020 to be safe. You can call them back before them or after that, whenever you need them. Using this date will expedite the process for them. You will need your unemployment insurance registration number that should be on your quarterly reports that you file (Form UC-5A). if you can’t find it you can fax a request to 860-263-6567 including the following information:  https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/uitax/reg-no.htm  . If all else fails and you can’t find your number, enter 99-999-95 in the employer registration number box.
 
Your employee will then need to go the CT Department of Labor and file for unemployment benefits. They can do this here:   http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/UI-OnLine/index.htm  . They have to “file or reopen their unemployment claim”. There is info below you can give them if you choose. They do NOT file their weekly claim until a week has gone by where they have not been paid by you. (See info below)
 
OPTION 2:
If your company is experiencing a slow down because of the “stay safe stay home” and you no longer have enough work for all of your employees, you can choose to participate in a CT program called “Shared Work Program”. This allows you to keep your employees but reduce their hours, AND they are able to apply for unemployment insurance for the hours they are no longer working for you. Information on this program is here:   https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/progsupt/bussrvce/shared_work/
 
The Shared Work Program requires that you complete an application and are approved. With the Governor’s executive orders there should be no issue with any of you being eligible. The application for the program, fact sheets and examples are here:
Employer Fact Sheet  (PDF, 173KB)
Shared Work Brochure  (PDF, 628KB)
Shared Work Application  (PDF, 583KB)
Shared Work Regulations  (PDF 598KB)
 
#3 YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE STRESSED AND/OR PANICKING 
The Chamber has received a lot of calls from employers who have told their employees they are laid off and the employees are “freaking out”. Here are some common issues:

a. The employee has filed before and can’t remember their username or password. They can try to click on the yellow square “forgot User Id or Password”. If their contact information from their last filing no longer exists (phone or email) they will need to call the Department of Labor and ask for customer “technical assistance” –do not call saying you are filing a claim—they will hang up on you. Here is the number: 860-263-6000

b. When they are answering the “eligibility questions” they must answer YES to the first question, “Are you able and available and actively seeking full time work?” Because of the coronavirus the state has waived the requirement that they HAVE TO ACTIVELY SEEK WORK so don’t worry that they will be out looking for another job. But they must answer YES or their benefits will stop.

c. They will receive emails after creating their accounts and submitting their claim. If they don’t tell them to check their spam box.

d. They must create an account with CT Direct Benefits first. This account tells the state how to send them money. Instructions are easy and on the website.

e. They cannot file a claim until a week of no work has finished. They must file starting on the Sunday after the week they did not work for you has passed.

f. They may get an email saying their employment has to be verified by their employer. You will get a letter in the mail probably next week where you will “verify their employment.” The letter will state that Employees A, B, C have filed a claim against your company. IF this is NOT true, if Employee B has never worked for you, you have to send back the letter stating they are not your employee. If employees A and C ARE your employees, you do not need to do anything. They will automatically get their benefit.

g. They get immediately denied. Probably because they answered “NO” to the actively searching for work question #1.
 
Here is an example……..
Your employees worked last week and were laid off on Friday (March 20).
You are paying them for the work they did last week up until Friday (March 16-20).
They then should file unemployment ASAP.
An entire week needs to go by where they are not paid by you (March 23-28).
They will then be able to go back into the system starting on March 29 and apply for money for the week of wages they lost during March 23-28.
Since you paid your employees for last week’s work, they are not eligible to receive any money until the week of March 30.
They will get their money usually within a week.
They will NOT be able to file online for a week’s wages that they already got paid for by you, AND they will not get paid for a week’s wages until a week without wages has actually occurred.

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