By Kathryn L. Simpson, Esquire
Mette, Evans & Woodside
Those employed in Pennsylvania who are unable to work because of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) released a statement yesterday which explained who may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation benefits. The release stated that a person may be eligible if:
- The employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
- The employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
- You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
- You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts
If you are an employee who falls into any of these categories, you should apply for UC online immediately.
L&I has not made any changes to the eligibility requirements that would include business owners and independent contractors. The law remains that you may be ineligible for UC benefits if you are self-employed, setting up a business, or have ownership interest in a business. The following two factors must exist for a claimant to be considered self-employed: 1) The individual has been and will continue to be free from control or direction over the performance of his/her services, both under his/her contract of hire and in fact; and 2) As to such services, the individual is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business. If a claimant believes they are in an employer/employee relationship, but the employer states that the claimant is self-employed, the employer must prove that the claimant is free from control over the performance of the service and customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, profession or business.
Claimants whose application for UC benefits is caused by COVID-19 and is approved will not be subject to the initial one-week waiting period so benefits will start the first week of unemployment. Also, the work search and work registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants.
If you have any specific questions or concerns, please call Mette, Evans & Woodside at 717-232-5000 or email attorneys Kathryn Lease Simpson at firstname.lastname@example.org, Aaron D. Martin at email@example.com or Veronica Boyer Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.