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The federal stimulus bill known as the CARES Act created a temporary unemployment assistance program to help those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits. Attorney Marianne Tolomeo of the law firm Connell Foley, NJBIA’s Employment Law Resources provider, breaks down what employers need to know about it in this blog post.

As Tolomeo explains, the program is set up to help the self-employed, independent contractors and those with limited work history. The individual’s full or partial unemployment, or inability to work, must be as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency because:

  • the individual or a household member has a COVID-19;
  • the individual is providing care to a family or household member with COVID-19;
  • a child that the individual has to care for at home is unable to attend school or another facility as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • the individual cannot reach the place of employment due to a quarantine or the order by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine;
  • the individual was scheduled to start employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job due to COVID-19;
  • the individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of household died due to COVID-19; or
  • the individual’s place of business is closed.

Nonprofits, who generally cover unemployment claims for their employees, will be reimbursed 50% of the amounts they pay into their state unemployment funds between March 13 and Dec. 31, 2020.

The benefits are retroactive to Jan. 29 and extend through the end of the year.

For employers who have reduced employees’ hours to avoid laying them off, their employees could be eligible for pro-rated payments to make up the difference.

Read more.