Unemployment Insurance Relief and Waivers Available to Flood-Damaged Businesses
March 18, 2010
Rhode Island employers forced to lay off workers temporarily as a direct result of last weekend’s flooding may be able to help their employees connect to unemployment insurance benefits sooner if the employers apply for a waiver with the Department of Labor and Training.
Rhode Island Law § 28-44-14 waives the usual one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance if a worker’s unemployment is caused by a natural disaster or state of emergency.
Also, employers whose storm-related property damage resulted in worker layoffs may be granted relief from related unemployment benefit charges if their businesses are deemed eligible under another weather related law, § 28-43-3. Under ordinary circumstances, employers are charged against their unemployment insurance account every time one of their employees draws on unemployment insurance.
The Department of Labor and Training, in collaboration with the RI Economic Development Corporation, the RI Emergency Management Agency, local chambers of commerce and local municipalities, is outreaching to employers in locations hardest hit by last weekend’s storms, and Department Director Sandra M. Powell has outreached to local impacted communities. “The department is taking a proactive approach, so that our staff can help minimize the financial impact this kind of event can have on local businesses and their employees,” says Powell.
To be deemed eligible for the benefit relief and the waiting period waiver, employers must first submit an application to the Department of Labor and Training. Applications are available for downloading at www.dlt.ri.gov. To assist employers with this process, the Department of Labor and Training has set up a dedicated employer information line at (401) 462-8999 and an email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that this contact information is for employers only and is not intended for individual claimants.
Assistant Director of Income Support Raymond Filippone adds that employees of companies adversely affected by the recent flooding should follow standard procedures for filing for unemployment insurance benefits and will be credited for all benefits available to them once their employer is deemed eligible for the waiting period waiver.
Any person wishing to file a Rhode Island unemployment insurance claim may do so online at www.dlt.ri.gov, or by contacting the Unemployment Insurance Call Center at (401) 243-9100 during business hours.
Updates on the flood emergency response for Rhode Island are available through the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency at www.riema.ri.gov.