Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training



Jeff Neal
Govenor's Office
(401) 222-8290

Oct. 17, 2005

Governor Donald L. Carcieri today authorized the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) to expedite unemployment insurance benefits for employees who were dislocated from their jobs by last weekend’s storm. Serious flooding has forced some Rhode Island businesses to temporarily lay off employees.

Specifically, the Governor authorized DLT Director Adelita Orefice to waive the standard one-week waiting period for individuals to qualify for unemployment insurance benefits. Consequently, employees who are dislocated as a result of the flooding will be eligible for unemployment benefits immediately. This waiver applies only to individuals who were dislocated from their jobs because of flooding caused by the storm.

“Over the past three days, I have worked with the Emergency Management Agency to coordinate Rhode Island’s response to the storm,” Governor Carcieri said. “I have toured the affected areas, and talked to a number of businesses that were impacted by the flooding. It has become clear that some businesses will have to temporarily cease operations while they recover from the storm. In those cases, we must ensure that their employees are immediately eligible for unemployment insurance. In that light, I have authorized the Department of Labor and Training to waive the usual one-week waiting period so we can immediately provide help to the people who need it.”

Director Adelita S. Orefice explained, “Rhode Island’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) laws allow individuals who are out of work due to a natural disaster to file for UI benefits. And when an individual’s unemployment is due to a natural disaster or state of emergency, such as the severe flooding we experienced over the weekend, the customary one-week waiting period for benefits is waived.”

Orefice continued, “Direct charges to the employer for UI benefits paid under these circumstances can be waived. I encourage any Rhode Island business that is closed as a result of the storm to contact us. A company official should call Ray Filippone, Assistant Director of the Income Support Division, at (401) 462-8400. The Governor has authorized us to declare natural disaster areas on a company by company basis.”

Employees displaced from their jobs should call the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Call Center at (401) 243-9100. To handle the added volume of calls, the Call Center has extended their hours: Tuesday, October 18th through Thursday, October 20th to 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Thereafter, the Call Center returns to regular hours of operation, closing at 3:00 PM. UI claims may also be filed anytime, day or night, on-line at www.dlt.ri.gov/ui.

One company that has been designated to receive this waiver by the Department of Labor and Training is Hope Global Textiles, at 20 Martin Street, Cumberland, where flooding displaced some 300 employees. The Department sent Spanish and Portuguese speaking representatives to Hope Global to assist employees as they file UI claims.

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The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training offers a wide array of employment and training services to both the general public and to individuals with unusual barriers to employment. DLT is ready to assist any job seeker, whether the goal is a first job, a better job, or a career change. Rhode Island's work force is protected through the enforcement of labor laws, prevailing wage rates, and work place health and safety standards. Temporary income support is available to unemployed, sick, or injured workers and a comprehensive rehabilitation program is available to those injured on the job.
DLT is dedicated to the growth and competitiveness of Rhode Island industry, administering a variety of training grants, tax credits, and apprenticeship programs to help employers. Economic indicators and labor market information are available for long-range planning. The Agency engages in active outreach, helping large and small employers retain their best workers or retrain their existing work force. At no cost to the employer, DLT will also screen job applicants, post job vacancies, and help businesses institute cost-sharing programs that can avert layoffs.For more information on the innovative programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders at the Department of Labor and Training, please call (401) 462-8000 or visit our web site at www.dlt.ri.gov

Equal Opportunity Employer/Program
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.
TDD (401) 462-8006