WASHINGTON – The Biden administration on Thursday extended its eligibility for unemployment insurance to include workers who turned down job offers in precarious areas, vowing to ease the pressure on people who say they had to choose between staying healthy or getting paid.
The Department of Labor shifted on Thursday in response to President Biden’s January executive order extending the power of the Epidemic Unemployment Assistance (EID) to include those whose unemployment benefits were denied because they refused to return to inappropriate jobs. coronavirus և health or safety standards or rejected positions because of those concerns.
The change of jurisdiction takes effect immediately, but officials warn that approval of workers’ claims could take at least a month, if not longer, given the significant delays plaguing state unemployment agencies.
Under the new guidelines, eligible workers will receive deferred unemployment claims, which began at the start of the epidemic when the PUA program was created to help group workers, self-employed workers and those who have stopped caring for a sick relative or school. an old child. They will also be eligible for an additional $ 600 weekly bonus approved by the federal government by the end of July.
The new guidelines do not seem to help people who have lost their jobs in the past year because they feel insecure. Another category of unemployed workers who have been denied benefits despite some limited eligibility for limited OHL.
“Workers find themselves in a situation where they have had to make a choice by accepting a job that puts them at risk of being exposed to COVID-19 or refusing to do so and then being denied unemployment benefits,” said Susan Levine, Assistant Secretary-General for Employment and Training. : , who headed the Washington State Loyalty Security Unit until the end of last month. “The action we are taking today is helping to alleviate that decision, to alleviate that tension.”
Department of Labor (DOL) officials said they had no estimate of how many people would be eligible under the new unemployment insurance guidelines. The guidelines will also extend the eligibility of some workers who have lost their working hours, such as in restaurants, but have not been able to take out unemployment insurance due to technical characteristics, such as inadequate pay, qualifications.
Workers in insecure workplaces who are threatened with fraud are required to have their employer not comply with local, state, or national coronavirus standards, such as social exclusion, disinfection, and masking rules, DOL said.
The provision appears to have targeted around 37,000 people who were rejected after unemployment insurance when they were laid off and refused to return to work last year, which is about four times the 2019 level.
But it will have little effect on the 1.23 million people who have been denied unemployment insurance after voluntarily quitting their jobs.
LeVine said the Department of Labor will be able to track how many people are using the new authority to measure measurement success.