CALIFORNIA EXTENDS UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS
On June 29, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 103, allowing workers up to seven additional weeks of unemployment insurance (“UI”) benefits, and bringing the total amount of additional UI benefits to up to 20 weeks for California workers. These additional 20 weeks are fully federally funded through the Federal-State Extended Duration benefits program (FED-ED in California), giving welcome tax relief to California employers and an anticipated savings to the California UI system of more than $7 billion.
Effective July 1, 2020, the extension is being made available at a time when many UI claimants would otherwise be facing the end of their current Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) extension benefits, which provided an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits. California workers are now eligible for the FED-ED extension if they remain out of work or are working reduced hours. Specifically, to be eligible for the additional benefit, claimants must have earned more than 40 times the weekly benefit amount or 1.5 times their highest quarter earnings during the base period. Additional eligibility criteria under the federal law require claimants to remain able and available for work and require claimants to potentially accept different work options, including potentially lower wages than earned previously.
Those who qualify for the FED-ED extension will receive the extra $600 UI payment provided through the federal CARES Act through July 25, 2020, when the federal weekly expanded benefit payment ends.
DDWK continues to monitor state, federal, and local laws affecting businesses and workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Do not hesitate to contact us for compliance assistance.