A recording of the webinar is available online. Webinar viewers are encouraged to follow up directly with attorneys to ask questions not addressed during the program.
Kristin provided a general overview of unemployment insurance (UI), and looked at the enhanced benefits and other changes made through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). Since UI is now available to independent contractors, she stressed that employers who utilize contracted workers may find themselves scrutinized by the Oregon employment department if it is found that the contractor is actually an employee, or if a contractor misstates the company as their employer.
Since the pandemic’s impact on an individual’s circumstances can vary widely. returning employees to work safely is not always straightforward process. Kristin reviewed the specific COVID-related situations noted in the FFCRA that allow an individual to refuse work and still remain eligible for unemployment benefits, and ran through several scenarios to illustrate how these situations could present in the real world. She also reviewed the risks and penalties for employees who refuse to return to work without an eligible reason, noting that disqualification or fraud must be determined by the unemployment department, not the business.
Kristin wrapped up her session by sharing best practices for employers to navigate UI during the pandemic and return their employees and contractors to work.
To assist your company during the coronavirus pandemic, consult Tonkon Torp's COVID-19 Business Resource page, which is continually refreshed with news, alerts, events, and videos that address a broad range of corporate topics.