RI Department of Labor and Training

Waiting Period Waiver and Employer Benefit Relief

August 29, 2011

Rhode Island employers forced to lay off workers temporarily as a direct result of Hurricane Irene 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. RI 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 has 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.

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 email address at uiemployerhelp@dlt.ri.gov. Please note that this information is for employers only and is not intended for individual claimants. 

Employees of companies adversely affected by the recent hurricane 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 RI 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.


ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information on the programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov