Industry Workers Suddenly Unemployed By COVID-19 Outbreak Are Eligible For Expedited California Unemployment Benefits

March 15, 2020

By David Robb


Entertainment industry workers in California who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak are eligible to receive expedited unemployment benefits of up to $450 a week from the state’s Employment Development Department.

Anyone who lost their job because they contracted the virus, or are caregiving for someone who has, could receive as much as $1,300 a week. Thousands of industry workers have been thrown out of work in recent days as film and TV productions have shut down all across the state. The job losses are real, but the EDD notes that “There is no evidence of widespread transmission of COVID-19 in California at this time.”

https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

“If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you can file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim,” the EDD says on its website. “UI provides partial wage replacement benefit payments to workers who lose their job or have their hours reduced, through no fault of their own. Workers who are temporarily unemployed due to COVID-19 and expected to return to work with their employer within a few weeks are not required to actively seek work each week. However, they must remain able and available and ready to work during their unemployment for each week of benefits claimed and meet all other eligibility criteria. Eligible individuals can receive benefits that range from $40-$450 per week.”

Governor Gavin Newsom’s executive order, the EDD says, “waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, so you can collect UI benefits for the first week you are out of work. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.”

If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19, as certified by a medical professional, you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. DI provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. The governor’s executive order also waives the one-week unpaid waiting period, allowing benefits to be collected for the first week you are out of work. If you’r eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

If you’re unable to work because you’re caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, as certified by a medical professional, you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. PFL provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70% of wages, depending on income, and range from $50-$1,300 a week. If you are eligible, the EDD processes and issues payments within a few weeks of receiving a claim.

The EDD notes that money is also available for parents who miss work to take care of their children because of school closures – and schools have been shutting down across the city and the state to prevent the spread of the virus. “If your child’s school is closed, and you have to miss work to be there for them, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Eligibility considerations include if you have no other care options and if you are unable to continue working your normal hours remotely. File an Unemployment Insurance claim and our EDD representatives will decide if you are eligible.”

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