The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (“DWD”) is urging individuals seeking unemployment benefits to apply online at the DWD website before calling due to an extreme influx of unemployment applications. The DWD, which closed all offices across the state to the public in an effort to help contain the spread of COVID-19 and follow the governor’s “Safe At Home” order, has become inundated with phone calls due to massive COVID-19 related layoffs. For these reasons, the DWD directs potential applicants to visit the DWD website and research their questions at the COVID-19 and Unemployment FAQ pages before applying for unemployment benefits.
FAQ Guidance for Claimants and Employers
The DWD has also provided guidance for both claimants and employers regarding how COVID 19 may affect unemployment claims. Individuals whose employers have closed their businesses, reduced their hours or do not have any work available due to COVID-19 are encouraged to apply for unemployment benefits. Individuals who have been sent home by their employer to self-quarantine may also qualify for unemployment benefits so long as the individual will be able and available to work after the quarantine. Individuals may also be eligible for unemployment if they are required to take off work to care for a child whose school has closed so long as that individual is available for full-time work. However, individuals who voluntarily quit work out of a general fear of COVID-19 are most likely not eligible for unemployment benefits.
Wisconsin’s general unemployment criteria still apply to individuals seeking unemployment due to COVID-19. In particular, applicants must still verify that they are ready and able to work, submit weekly claims and may be required to register on the Job Center of Wisconsin. However, individuals are no longer required to do a work search or comply with the mandatory “waiting week” before receiving unemployment benefits while the governor’s emergency order is in place.
Essential Businesses Looking to Hire
Lastly, the DWD is actively working with essential businesses looking to hire employees to fill new jobs providing essential services. For a list of the latest DWD updates and news releases, please click here.
If you have any questions or require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact:
• Robin Sheridan at (414) 721-0469 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
• Jake Kolisek (317) 977-1428 or email@example.com; or
• Your regular Hall Render attorney.