Employment issues

Employee rights. The Mass. Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division has produced a very helpful guide with frequently asked questions about employee rights and employer obligations as they relate to COVID19. You can view the FAQ’s by clicking here.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Claimants are now able to file for  Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). They can do so by clicking here. The PUA is a program open to the following individuals:

  • Self-employed individuals, including gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors;
  • Those seeking part-time employment:
  • Claimants that have an insufficient work history to qualify for benefits; and
  • And claimants that have been laid off from churches and religious institutions and are not eligible for benefits under state law

Unemployment Insurance. The legislature enacted  a law that grants certain workers a waiver from the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits. DUA may now pay unemployment benefits if a worker is quarantined due to an order by civil authority or medical professional; or leaves employment due to reasonable risk of exposure or infection, or to care for a family member and does not intend, or is not allowed, to return to work. The worker need not provide medical documentation and need only be available for work when and as able. Emergency regulations are being filed to allow workers to collect unemployment if a workplace is shut down and expects to reopen in four or fewer weeks; and also to waive the one (1) week waiting period for unemployment  benefits. For more information and to file a claim, click here. To further help claimants through the process of applying for benefits, DUA has made specific web page updates that include the latest guidance for employee qualifications and additional resources like contact forms and a COVID-19 specific unemployment claim handbook that can be viewed by clicking here.

Unemployment town halls. To help with the increased demand on the unemployment system and the increased volume or your constituent service staff, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and the Department of Unemployment Assistance will be hosting daily virtual town hall meetings. DUA will take all who sign up through a step by step process of achieving a successful unemployment claim and take questions from claimants across the Commonwealth. You can participate online or by phone. Information for the virtual town hall is available by clicking here.

Trade Adjustment Assistance Program: The Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA) is a federal entitlement program that aids U.S. workers who have lost or may lose their jobs after a trade related layoff. The program looks to provide adversely affected workers with opportunities to obtain the skills, credentials, resources and support necessary to become reemployed. The first step to receiving TAA benefits is to file an online petition or by mail with the Department of Labor. Petitions are available on-line or at American Job Centers. Petitions may be filed by: 1) 3 or more workers in the same firm; 2) the worker’s employer or 3) a union official or duly authorized representative of the workers; or 4) American Job Center operators. For Further Information and to see if your business may qualify please contact:

  • U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration: Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance. 1-888-365-6822/1-202-693-3560 or click here.
  • American Job Centers provide information about employment and training opportunities, skills assessments, job placement, job counseling and other supportive services. To find the nearest American Job Center call: 1877-US2-JOBS or 1-877-889-5627 (TTY) or click here.