Updated September 18, 2020

The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) has made some old requirements enforceable again. One of these requirements includes the work search requirement which began on August 9, 2020.

What is a work search?

A work search is when you contact an employer about a job.

How can I contact an employer about a job for my work search requirement?

Different places of employment use different ways for people to apply for a job. You may contact an employer by;

  • Emailing an employer or place of employment;
  • By faxing an employer or place of employment;
  • By using a place of employment’s online website or form;
  • By calling an employer or place of employment, and/or
  • By attending a job fair in person or virtually.

How many work searches must I do in order to continue receiving my unemployment benefits/ pandemic unemployment assistance?

Each week you are required to complete three work searches. This means you will have to contact 3 different employers or apply for 3 different jobs each week.

How do I tell the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) about my work searches?

You will need to report your work searches when you are filing your weekly claim certification. When you are done answering questions for your weekly claim certification, it will direct you to different new pages.

The first page will be titled, “Employer Information.” It is important that you give as much information about the job you applied to as best as you can. The information you will need to provide is the following:

  • The employer’s name or name of the job you applied for;
  • The trade name (which means type of job/occupation); AND
  • The address of the place you applied to. This will include the zip code, city, and state of the employer you contacted.

Other information you can give to complete your work search if you have it:

  • The way you contacted an employer or how you applied for the job;
  • The first and last name of the person you contacted about the job;
  • The phone number you may have used to contact the employer;
  • The email address you emailed to contact the employer (if you emailed the employer);
  • The website you used to contact the employer (if you used a website to apply for a job); and/or
  • The fax number you used to reach an employer, (if you faxed a job application).

The next page will be titled, “Job Title.” You will need to provide the following:

  • The name of the job title you applied for. Example: Cashier, Secretary, Nurse, etc.
  • The kind of job occupation you applied. Example: Healthcare, Hospitality, Transportation, etc.

The next page will be titled, “Application Information.” You will need to provide the following:

  • The date you contacted the employer or place of employment.
  • The status of your application for the job.
  • The day of your first interview (if a date for an interview was set).
  • The day you went to your first interview (if you attended an interview).
  • The day you were told you did not get hired or refused the job (if this applies to you).
  • The last day that you worked at the new place of employment (if this applies to you).

Providing this information is important and it is important that you answer as accurate as you can to prevent any future problems. The Louisiana Workforce commission will keep a record of your weekly required 3 job searches, but it is important that you keep a personal record of these searches for your protection against any future problems with the agency. Keeping a personal record of these searches is even more important if you are filing your weekly claim certifications through the phone.

You can go to www.louisianaworks.net. There your will find different job openings available for your apply and complete your work search requirement.

Other information:

  • If you answered “No” to the weekly claim certification question, “Were you able and available to work?” and it is due to any of the following COVID-19 related issues:
    • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis;
    • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
    • You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has COVID-19;
    • A child or other person in the household for which you are responsible for is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work;
    • You are unable to reach your job because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of COVID-19;
    • You cannot reach your job because you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
    • You were scheduled to commence employment and do not have a job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19;
    • You have become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19, and/or
    • Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Then you may enter in each work search, “COVID-1, COVID-2, and COVID-3” as your three employer contacts. The rest of the spaces asking for additional information can be left blank.

Some claimants are exempt from the Work Search requirement. The agency will not ask them to complete the Work Search requirement. The Louisiana Workforce Commission has stated that there is no need to contact the agency if you are not asked to complete a work search.

If you have any concerns or are having problems with your unemployment benefits you can apply for our services at our webpage or click here for more information.

 

Why should you be concerned about Coronavirus if you have a court appearance?

You might have filed a court case or had one filed against you and:

  • Have been ordered by a doctor to quarantine for 14 days.
  • Be waiting for results of a Covid test you took because you had symptoms or have been near someone with Covid.
  • Be in a high risk group the Governor has ordered to stay home, like people over age 60, with heart conditions, diabetes, asthma, immuno-suppressed, kidney disease, etc. Heath officials also recommend these people stay home because the coronavirus can be so much worse for them.
  • Have someone else in your home with one of these conditions, so that you need to avoid getting the virus to keep them safe.
  • Have a fever for any number of reasons –many courts will no longer let you in if you have a high temperature.
  • Have been near someone with the virus. Some courthouses have guards who will not let you in unless you answer safety questions before you can come in.
  • Not have a car and have been avoiding public transportation because you could be exposed on a bus or when riding in someone else’s car or taxi, OR
  • be trying to keep as safe as possible from the virus.

What are courts required to do to minimize the risk from Covid-19?

What the courts need to do is different in different situations. In general, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ordered that video hearings (such as Zoom) should be used as much as possible for court hearings. Some courts are doing most of their hearings that way.

When the courts require people show up in person, the Louisiana Supreme Court has ordered the courts must take the steps needed to allow social distancing. Under the Governor’s Orders, courts must also enforce mask-wearing throughout the facility.

What should I do if I am concerned about Covid-19 and get a notice to come to a court hearing?

If you get a notice to go to court, you can call the Judge’s staff (but not the judge) and find out what can be done to keep safe.

How do I get the number to reach the Judge’s staff?

You can find the number:

  • On the notice telling you to appear in court (sometimes);
  • On a website for the court (usually)
  • In the following directory for courts if it is not a Justice of the Peace court: https://www.lasc.org/press_room/annual_reports/reports/2019_Guide_to_Louisiana_Courts.pdf
  • In the following directory if it is a Justice of the Peace court: https://www.ag.state.la.us/JusticeCourt/Directory

What questions should I ask the court staff?

  • What the Covid screening procedures will be at the courthouse (who is not allowed in)
  • What to do if you are not let into court for your hearing
  • What to do if you are in any of the situations discussed above (ordered to stay home, supposed to stay home, protecting someone in your home is at high risk, etc.)
  • (if you need it and would be able to do it) Whether you can do your court hearing by Zoom or something like that, and what the court’s instructions are for arranging and doing that.
  • (if you need it) Whether you could get your hearing delayed for a couple of weeks until you are out of a quarantine, or until you would have your test results back,
  • If you have a condition that is at high risk for the coronavirus, whether you can participate by Zoom or something similar as an “accommodation” for your disability, and if not what accommodations the court will make. (Most conditions that put people at high risk also entitle people to “accommodations” under the Americans with Disabilities Act.)
  • What to do if you need to participate by Zoom or something like that, but do not have a smartphone or computer with internet to do that, or do not know how to do that.
  • How you can get evidence to the court, under its current procedures.

What might you look out for in the courthouse?

  • Whether people have their temperature checked and answer Covid screening questions before entering, to know how safe it is being near others in the courthouse
  • People should be socially distanced (usually 6 feet), even in line for Covid screening, metal detectors, and elevators.
  • There should social distancing both inside and outside the courtroom. People should not be sitting shoulder-to-shoulder on benches, or be seated in areas where people have to be closer than 6 feet away when they walk past.
  • People in elevators and stairways should be socially distanced, so people are not close together.
  • Everyone should be wearing a mask properly, covering both their mouth and nose, except for court employees whom no one has to get within 6 feet of.
  • In hallways, there should be markings (on the floor or the walls) to show people where to stand so they are 6 feet apart while waiting.
  • Does a sign or other obvious instructions tell people who are not allowed into the courthouse how to alert the court to not take action in their case while they are kept out?
  • Check in and Covid screening should be easy to follow, even if you do not speak or read English.

What might you look out for in the courtroom?

  • Everyone should be wearing masks (unless they separated from everyone else by plexiglass or no one ever gets within 6 feet of them). This includes a client and the lawyer who is representing them and people in cases, attorneys, the public, court staff, and judges.
  • If people are asked to unmask when addressing the court, they are MORE than 6 feet from others
  • Courtroom chairs where people wait or watch are spaced or marked off so people are socially distanced
  • The court employee telling people where to go in the courtroom is making sure that clients sit 6 feet apart
  • Podiums and microphones are sanitized between use by different people

What might you look out for during a videoconference court proceeding?

  • There should be an option to use a video conference (like Skype or Zoom), not just to participate through a phone call.
  • It is best if everyone else on the case participates remotely, not just you. This puts everyone on equal footing and allows everyone the same access to exhibits, hearing the evidence, etc.
  • There should be instructions about how evidence (especially documents) can be submitted. Someone for each side should be able to see all evidence presented.
  • All remote participants should be able to see the judge and whoever is speaking at all times.
  • If you cannot hear or see part of the proceeding speak up about that so it is “on the record.”
  • The judge should not be distracted during a remote hearing (taking phone calls, checking personal devices, etc.

What if I need help scheduling a remote hearing or getting another accommodation?

If you have been told to come to court, but that would mean a higher risk of getting Covid than you have in your day to day life, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services may be able to help you. This includes if you would face a risk in getting to court. (For example, if you would have to use public transportation or get a ride from someone you are not normally close to.) Call our COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to see if we can provide free help.

What should I do if I cannot login in to my videoconference court hearing or if I miss it?

If you requested a hearing by video, you must provide the court with a good phone number and email address that you will be checking daily. The information for your videoconference hearing will likely be sent by email. If your contact information changes, you should let the court know as soon as possible.

You should check your email often (at least daily) leading up to your hearing, since the court may send information about your case and you may need to take action quickly.

Do not ignore the video hearing. If you cannot make the hearing, notify the court in advance (unless it was something like an emergency hospitalization).

If you cannot connect to the hearing using the information sent to you, contact the court immediately. If your connection drops during the hearing or if you are kicked off of the call, immediately try to get back in. If this does not work, contact the court.

If you are able to connect but cannot see or hear the other people on the call, do not just leave the meeting. Try to let the other people on the call know about the issues you are having by either speaking or using the “chat” feature on the program or calling the judge’s staff while the hearing is still happening.

If you do not connect for your hearing and do not answer if the court tries to contact you, a judgment may be entered against you. This may require you to file additional motion(s) and paperwork with the court, or else lose your case.

Other tips for your virtual hearing can be found here.

What should I do if I missed a court hearing because of Covid?

First call the judge’s staff. (Where to find the number is set out above.) Ask if a decision was made by the court on your case, and if so what can be done to undo it.

If you need help and do not have an attorney on the case, call our COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to see if we can provide free help.

What if I saw something that was not Covid- safe while I was at court?

People do not generally have a choice about whether they are involved in court proceedings. (This is different, for example from going to a store or a restaurant where you might be able to “vote with your feet” and choose another restaurant or store if you feel that things are unsafe.)

To try to get things fixed you can:

  • Report it to the judge
  • Report it to the State Fire Marshal, who enforces the Governor’s rules about social distancing and Covid safety. The State Fire Marshal will do an on-site visit.
  • Report it to the city or the parish:
    • For New Orleans: You can call 311 to report violations.
    • For Jefferson Parish: use its Covid compliance complaint form. The Parish will refer non-compliance to the Fire Marshal. https://www.jeffparish.net/departments/public-information-office/covid-19/see-it--say-it---compliance 
    • For Baton Rouge: call 225-389-8875 or use its Covid compliance form. The Baton Rouge Police Department looks at reports of non-compliance. https://www.brla.gov/2198/Covid-19-Compliance-Form

You can also call Southeast Louisiana Legal Services if you are in a court case and need help keeping safe. Call our COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to see if we can provide free help.

 

Louisiana Rules for the $300 Lost Wage Assistance for Unemployment Benefits

Updated as of September 3, 2020. Please check our Blog for any changes made.

The $600 in federal benefits added to everyone’s unemployment checks ended July 25, 2020. Louisiana started adding $300 to for some people’s unemployment on August 26, 2020. Payments have been paid for the weeks ending on August 1, August 8, and August 15 and payments are set to be made for the week of August 22. Some people’s payments are still being processed. How long this $300 will last is still unknown.

Who cannot received FEMA’s Lost Wage Assistance?

  • Claimants who are receiving less than 100 dollars for their weekly benefit amount.
  • Claimants who are receiving Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

Who can receive FEMA’s Lost Wage Assistance?

  • The Governor currently stated that most unemployment claimants receiving at least 100 dollars for their weekly benefits will be receiving the additional $300 FEMA supplement if found to be eligible.
  • Claimants who are receiving under the following unemployment funds will be found to be eligible:
    • Unemployment Insurance (UI);
    • Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees (UCFE);
    • Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Service members (UCX);
    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC);
    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA);
    • Extended Benefits (EB);
    • Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA); and
    • Self-Employment Assistance (SEA)

How much are these benefits for?

  • The FEMA “Lost Wage Assistance” benefits will be for $300 each week an unemployment claimant is found to be eligible.

How do I know if my unemployment was affected by COVID-19?

  • If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and you are seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who is sick with COVID-19.
  • A child or other person who you provide care for and are responsible for is unable to go to school or a care facility because they are closed.
    • This includes schools that are only doing virtual learning/ online teaching;
    • This includes schools that have provided for a Hybrid model. Meaning your child’s school is only open on a few days of the week;
  • You are unable to reach your place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • You are unable to reach your place of employment because you have been told to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • Your job has closed as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • Your type of work has been affected due to COVID-19.
    • Example: You are a musician and are not able to perform due to venues being closed as a result of COVID-19.

 

  • Other reasons may apply depending on your situation.

How long will this assistance be available?

  • This assistance is said to be available until December 27, 2020. Though this program may end sooner if another similar program is made to provide support for people whose employment has been affected by COVID-19.

Do I have to submit any proof of my unemployment situation related to COVID-19?

  • Proof or any other form of evidence is helpful. Though this is not required for you to be found eligible for the Lost Wage Assistance. Self –certification about your COVID-19 reason for unemployment is enough.

Do I need to fill out a special application for the help?

  • If you have already filed and are receiving benefits you do not have to do anything. The Louisiana Workforce Commission has already sent emails on September 31st to those who may be eligible

The benefits were released starting on August 26, 2020 and are still releasing payments for the following weeks ending on:

  • August 1;
  • August 8;
  • August 15; and
  • August 22.

 

There is no information as to when payments will be released for the weeks after August 22, but the agency will give more information about this soon.

 

Though if you have not received anything and you believe that you are eligible, please feel free to check out our website and apply for our services here.

El aumento federal de $600 dólares para los beneficios de desempleo termina el 25 de Julio. Este documento tiene información de lo que debe tener en mente para su futuro.

Si usted cree que su desempleo acido negado por error o si usted aplico para beneficios y tiene problemas en recibir sus pagos de desempleo, por favor llame al número de Servicios Legales del Sureste de Louisiana COVID-10 línea directa legal, 1-844-244-7871. Es posible que nuestra oficina pueda darle asistencia legal gratuita.

 ¿Cuándo voy a recibir el último pago de mi aumento de $600 dólares en mis beneficios de desempleo?

Julio 25, 2020 será la última semana que usted puede recibir el aumento de $600 dólares.

Todavía estoy esperando en recibir mis beneficios. ¿Puedo recibir los pagos que me debe la agencia por las semanas que no recibí mi aumento semanal de $600?

Si. Esto es posible. Usted puede recibir los pagos que le debe la agencia hasta comenzando con la semana terminando Abril 4, 2020.

Los que están elegibles pueden recibir pagos desde esta fecha, incluyendo los pagos de desempleo próvidos por el estado. Esto depende también de su caso.

¿Qué otros tipos de asistencia puedo recibir?

Con el aumento federal de $600 dólares terminando al final de Julio, muchas familias estarán buscando diferentes formas de ingresos para sus hogares. Usted puede ser elegible en recibir beneficios o asistencia de estos programas adicionales:

  • SNAP (Asistencia de Estampías para Comida): Para más información puede visitar la página de web aquí. (en inglés) También hay más información de los requisitos para ser elegible para este programa aquí.

 

  • Otra asistencia para comida: Usted también puede encontrar otros programas para asistencia de comida o información de cómo pagar gastos de comida aquí. (en inglés)

 

  • Asistencia adicional para sus servicios públicos: Usted puede estar elegible en recibir asistencia con sus pagos de servicios públicos y otras utilidades. Para más información de estos programas, lo puede encontrar aquí.

Para más información de otros programas en la ciudad de New Orleans, usted puede visitar la página de web de la ciudad aquí.

 

Current as of July 15, 2020.

 

The federal $600 increase in Unemployment benefits will end July 25. This document outlines some important things to keep in mind.

If you believe your Unemployment claim has been denied in error, or if you have filed a claim and are experiencing delays in receiving your benefits, please feel free to call Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Covid-19 Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871. We may be able to provide free legal assistance.

When will I get my final $600 federal unemployment increase?

July 25 will be the last day the $600 will be added to your unemployment benefits.

I'm still waiting on my benefits. Can I get back-pay for any $600 I missed after it ends?

Yes, the $600 is retroactive to the week ending April 4, 2020.

Eligible individuals may be able to receive back-payments for the $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits, in addition to their state benefits, based on their date of eligibility.

What other types of assistance are available?

With the federal $600 increase in Unemployment ending, many families will find themselves needing to look for more income. You may be eligible for some of these and other programs.

SNAP (Food Stamps): For information on SNAP, you can visit https://slls.org/snap/. To get some details about who is eligible check here.

Other Food Assistance: You can find information on programs that can help you get or pay for food here.

Utilities Assistance: You may be eligible for certain programs that will provide assistance for your utility bills. Information on some of these programs can be found here.

 

Information on other assistance programs for New Orleans residents can be found at https://ready.nola.gov/incident/coronavirus/assistance/#bills.

¿Cuáles son mis derechos en mi empleo si yo o alguien de mi familia se enferma de COVID-19?

Nota: Estas preguntas están actualizadas a partir del 9 de Junio.  La ley puede cambiar rápidamente.  Vuelva más tarde para conocer las nuevas preguntas sobre este problema.  Esto es sólo información, NO asesoramiento legal.  Si necesita asesoramiento legal, hable con un abogado. 

 

¿Puedo salir de mi empleo y regresar a mi hogar si yo o alguien de mi familia se enferma con el virus COVID-19?   

Su empleador debe permitir que usted salga de su trabajo y no volver al trabajo hasta que se recupere. Esto es importante para ayudar a evitar que el virus se propague. Dígale a su empleador qué está ausente por esta razón, para que sepan que no está renunciando su empleo.  Si es posible, provee esta información por escrito, en un texto, correo electrónico o fax. Es posible que necesite una prueba de lo que les dijo y cuándo esta información fue hecha. Si su trabajo tiene reglas de como reportar esta información, síguelas lo mejor que pueda.

¿Necesito proporcionar documentación médica que pruebe que estoy enfermo por COVID-19?  

Para la mayoría, no hay ninguna ley que lo requiera, y el Departamento de Salud de Louisiana urge a los empleadores a no requerir estos tipos de pruebas.  Pero su trabajo puede tener reglas que requiere que usted proporcione documentación médica.  Haga todo lo posible para seguir las reglas de su trabajo.  Guarde copias de lo que provee a su empleador.

¿Todavía puedo recibir mi pago de trabajo de parte de mi empleador?   

Depende. Bajo la Ley Familias Primero de Respuesta al Coronavirus (conocido como el Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA)), usted puede ser elegible a recibir el 2/3 al 100% de su salario por hasta dos semanas, dependiendo del tipo y tamaño de su lugar de empleo, si usted o un miembro de la familia está enfermo. Su empleador no puede hacer que usted use otra forma de pagos de su licencia laboral antes de recibir este alivio. El Departamento de Trabajo de los Estados Unidos tiene detalles sobre esta ley en la página de web del departamento.

¿Qué pasa si no soy elegible para recibir una licencia laboral pagada bajo el FFCRA?  

Usted puede ser elegible para otra licencia laboral no cubiertas bajo la FMLA o por las propias provisiones de su empleador, o por leyes especiales aplicables a su empleador.  Para reportar una queja contra su empleador por no darle su pago de licencia laboral, comuníquese con el Departamento de Trabajo de los Estados Unidos en la página de web del departamento o llame al 1-866-487-9243.

¿Qué pasa si estoy despedido por ausencia relacionada con COVID-19 del trabajo?  

En Louisiana, la ley general es que su empleo puede ser terminado por el empleador o el empleado, "a la voluntad de ellos".  Sin embargo, usted puede tener una reclamación legal contra (tiene derecho a demandar) su empleador por despedirlo, si su empleador violó un contrato con usted, o violó una ley federal, estatal o local que lo protege. Esto incluye las protecciones de la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades para personas asociadas con alguien que tenga una discapacidad. Usted debe consultar con un abogado para obtener asesoramiento.  Todas las reclamaciones legales tienen un límite de tiempo para ser una acción contra su empleador.  Si puede trabajar, puede solicitar beneficios de desempleo a través de la Comisión de la Fuerza Laboral de Louisiana. Puede solicitar los beneficios de desempleo en línea o por teléfono. Si le hace la pregunta "¿Está solicitando beneficios del seguro de desempleo por razones relacionadas con COVID-19 (Coronavirus)", puede responder que "sí" incluso si su empleador ha inventado una razón diferente.

Obtenga ayuda legal si se la niegan, pero tiene que actuar rápidamente para proteger su derechos.

 

FAQ: What are my job rights if I or someone in my family gets sick from COVID-19?

Please note:  This FAQ is current as of June 9, 2020.  The law can change quickly.  Check back later for new FAQs on this issue. This is information only, NOT legal advice.  If you need legal advice, talk to a lawyer.

If I get sick with COVID-19, or family does, can I leave my place of work or not go in?

Your employer should allow you to leave work or not return to work, to help keep the virus from spreading. Tell your employer why you are absent, so they know you are not quitting.  If possible, put it in writing, in a text, e-mail or fax. You may need proof of what you told them and when. If your job has policies, follow them as best you can.

Do I need to provide medical documentation proving COVID-19 infection?

For most jobs, there’s no law requiring it, and the Louisiana Department of Health urges employers to not require proof.  However, your job may have policies that require it.  Do your best to follow your job’s policies.  Keep copies of what you give your employer.

Can I still get paid by my employer?

It depends. Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), you may be eligible for 2/3 – 100% paid leave for up to two weeks, depending on the type and size of your employer, whether it’s you or a family member who is sick, and what kind of job you have. Your employer can’t make you use other leave before getting this paid leave. The U.S. Department of Labor has details about this law here.

What if I’m not eligible for paid sick leave under FFCRA?

You may be eligible for unpaid leave under the FMLA or your employer’s own policies, or special laws that apply just to your employer.  To file a complaint against your employer for not giving you leave, contact the U.S. Department of Labor here or call 1-866-487-9243.

What if I’m fired because of COVID-19-related absence from work?

In Louisiana, the general law is that a job can be ended by either the employer or the employee, “at will.”  However, you may have a legal claim against (have a right to sue) your employer for firing you, if your employer violated a contract, or violated a federal, state, or local law that protected you, including Americans with Disabilities Act protections for people associated with someone with a disability.  You should consult a lawyer for advice.  All legal claims have time limits for action.  If you are able to work you can apply for unemployment benefits through the Louisiana Workforce Commission. You can apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone.  If you are asked the question “Are you filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits for reasons related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus),” you can answer that “yes” even if your employer has made up a different reason.

Get legal help if you are denied, but act quickly to protect your rights.

¿Cuáles son mis derechos en mi empleo durante la crisis del COVID-19?

Nota: Estas preguntas están actualizadas a partir del 29 de Mayo de 2020.  La ley puede cambiar rápidamente.  Vuelva más tarde para conocer las nuevas preguntas sobre este problema.  Esto es sólo información, NO asesoramiento legal.  Si necesita asesoramiento legal, hable con un abogado.

¿Como empleado de mi trabajo, tengo derecho a que mi empleador me probé un lugar seguro en mi empleo?  

Tal vez (depende), pero para muchos empleados, probablemente no.  Es posible que usted tenga derechos para forzar que su empleador haga algo que no está haciendo para protegerlo de COVID-19, si tiene un contrato que lo cubra, o su trabajo es uno que está protegido por leyes que cubren esta situación.  La mayoría de los trabajadores sólo pueden pedir a sus empleadores que hagan lo correcto, o tomar medidas contra su empleador si se ha enfermado porque el empleador de usted no hizo algo que tenía que hacer.  Usted puede también reportar a su empleador a una agencia gubernamental que podría tomar medidas por usted.    

¿Que debería ser mi empleador para protegerme durante el virus COVID-19? 

Dos agencias federales, el Centro para el Control y la Enfermedad (CDC) y la Administración de Seguridad y Salud Ocupacional (conocido come OSHA en inglés), tienen recomendaciones para lugares de trabajo más seguros. Algunas recomendaciones cubren todos los trabajos, pero algunos tipos de trabajo tienen reglas especiales. El Departamento de Salud de Louisiana recomienda a los empleadores a seguir las reglas federales. Su estado, parroquia o gobierno local pueden tener otras recomendaciones o órdenes para el área donde usted trabaja o el tipo de trabajo que usted hace. Las recomendaciones gubernamentales pueden ser detalladas, y pueden cambiar con el tiempo, entonces es importante que consulte con todas estas fuentes para cualquier cambio a medida que pasa el tiempo. Ahora, sin embargo, la mayoría recomienda al menos estas medidas básicas para mantener un lugar de empleo seguro:  

  • Usar mascaras faciales en lugares públicos donde las medidas de distanciamiento social son difíciles de mantener. 
  • Contralando las temperatura de los empleados y asegurar que los empleados no tengan otros síntomas de COVID-19 antes de comenzar su trabajo. 
  • Aumento de la frecuencia de limpieza de superficies tocadas comúnmente.
  • Aumento de disponibilidad y frecuencia de lavado de manos y otras formas de evitar la propagación del virus. 
  • Separar sintomáticos empleados, enfermos o expuestos de los empleados que estén sanos. También informar a los empleados cuando han estado expuestos al virus COVID-19. 
  • Usar adecuadamente y asegurarse de los productos de limpieza y desinfección utilizados en un lugar de trabajo. 
  • Permitir que el empleado se vaya si comienzan a experimentar síntomas relacionados con el COVID-19. 

 ¿A quién puedo llamar para que mi empleador sea responsable de garantizar mi seguridad en mi empleo?  

Puede llamar a la Administración de Seguridad y Salud Ocupacional, (conocido como OSHA en ingles), para estar mas informado de emergencias, condiciones de trabajo inseguras, seguras y violaciones de salud, para presentar una queja, o para hacer preguntas de seguridad y salud. El número es 1-800-321-6742. Puede encontrar otras formas de comunicarse con OSHA aqui. También puede llamar a la oficina del departamento de bomberos para el estado de Louisiana si tiene una queja de condiciones inseguras en su trabajo. Otras formas de comunicarse con el departamento de bomberos se puede encontrar aquí llamando al numero 1-800-256-5452.

Usted también puede obtener información de otros departamentos de salud, o ciudad, parroquia o el Gobierno de su estado. Si no sabe dónde hacer una queja, puede ponerse en contacto con su ciudad o parroquia concejal, o representante estatal, para explicar su preocupación y averiguar dónde lo puede reportar.

Si usted piensa que pueda tener un reclamo legal contra su empleador porque usted cree que se a enfermado por culpa de los actos de su empleador, debe hablar con un abogado. Todos los reclamos legales tienen un límite de tiempo para ser una acción sobre el empleador.  

 

 

 

FAQ: What are my rights to a safe workplace with COVID-19 around?

Please note:  This FAQ is current as of May 29, 2020.  The law can change quickly.  Check back later for new FAQs on this issue.  This is information only, NOT legal advice.  If you need legal advice, talk to a lawyer.

Do I have a right to make my employer protect me from COVID-19?

Maybe (it depends), but for many employees, probably not.  You might have rights to make your employer do something it is not doing to protect you from COVID-19, if you have a contract that covers it, or your job is one that is protected by laws that cover this situation.  Most workers can only ask their employers to do the right thing, or take action against their employer if they get sick because their employer didn’t do something they should have.  You can also report your employer to a government agency that might be able to take action for you.   

What should my employer be doing to protect me from COVID-19? 

Two federal agencies, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), have recommendations for safer workplaces.  Some recommendations cover all jobs, but some types of work have specific guidelines.  The Louisiana Department of Health encourages employers to follow federal guidelines.  Your state, parish or local governments may have other recommendations or orders for your area or type of work.  Government recommendations can be detailed, and may change with time, so check with all these sources for changes as time goes by.  Now, though, most recommend at least these very basic measures at a minimum: 

  • Wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • Measuring of employees’ temperatures and check for other COVID-19 symptoms prior to starting work.
  • Increased frequency of cleaning commonly touched surfaces.
  • Increased availability and frequency of hand-washing and other ways to avoid spreading the virus.
  • Separating symptomatic, sick, or exposed employees from the healthy, and informing employees when they have been exposed.
  • Proper and safe use of cleaning and disinfecting supplies used in the workplace.
  • Allow employees to leave if starting to experience symptoms related to COVID-19.

Who can I call to hold my employer accountable for ensuring my safety?

You can call OSHA to report emergencies, unsafe working conditions, safety and health violations, to file a complaint, or to ask safety and health questions.  The number is 800-321- 6742 (OSHA).  You can find other ways to reach OSHA here. You can also call the Louisiana State Fire Marshall’s office to file a complaint for any unsafe working conditions at 800-256- 5452. Other ways of reaching the Louisiana State Fire Marshall’s office can be found here.

You can also try other local, parish or state health department, or your city, parish or state government. If you don’t know where to report, you can contact your city or parish councilperson, or state representative, to explain your concern and find out where to report.

If you think you may have a personal legal claim because your employer’s action or inaction hurt you or made you sick, talk to a lawyer. All legal claims have time limits for action.

 

 

 

 

Unemployment Benefits During COVID-19

Current as of August 6, 2020. This is a changing situation. Please check back for updated information.

What changes have been made to unemployment insurance for the Coronavirus crisis?

Added benefits are available to people on temporary leave without pay, laid off, or finding themselves without work through no fault of their own.

Some changes:

  • Until July 25, there was an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits. Congress and the President are deciding whether to bring this back or change it.
  • Self-employed workers, “independent contractors,” freelancers, workers seeking part-time work, and workers who do not have a long-enough “wages” or work history to get unemployment benefits before are now eligible.
  • Normally, people do not get unemployment benefits for the first week they are out of work. During the COVID-19 crisis, you can get paid as soon as you are out of work.
  • The work registration or work search requirements have been reinstated. You will have to report on work search when you  phone in or go online weekly to keep getting benefits.
  • If lost your job due to any of the following COVID-19 reasons, you will not be disqualified because of the way that your job stopped (even if that would normally make you ineligible):
    • If you have COVID-19 or symptoms, are awaiting test results, or are quarantined because of it;
    • Someone in your house has COVID-19 or you are caring for someone with it;
    • You are caring for a child or someone else who can’t attend school or work that closed due to COVID-19;
    • Your job ended or you cannot get to it because of the COVID-19 crisis;
    • You now have to work because your household’s breadwinner died of COVID-19;
    • They had to quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19;
    • Their place of employment is closed because of COVID-19 or you had to quit because of it.

Also, if any of those reasons keep you from getting a new job, you can qualify.

And if those reasons apply your unemployment benefits can continue up to 39 weeks if you meet all other requirements (like calling in weekly, etc.). For example, normally if an employer offers your old job back, that would end your unemployment benefits. But if you have to be home with your school-age child, you currently remain eligible for unemployment benefits.

You might also be eligible if you still have a job, but you are not being paid either because your workplace has closed temporarily or because you have been told to stay home from work.

And some people who have not had jobs are now eligible, if their home’s breadwinner died or their job ended because of COVID-19 before they started a new job.

How do I file for unemployment benefits?

You can apply for unemployment benefits online or by phone. When you apply be sure to answer “yes” to the question, “Are you filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits for reasons related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?” This will provide needed information to the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) to help process your claim

To apply online, go to: https://www.louisianaworks.net/hire/vosnet/Default.aspx. This video from the Louisiana Workforce Commission explains how to apply for unemployment benefits online. But it has not been updated with some of the new information above.

You can also try to file a claim by calling their claim center at 1-866-783-5567. The lines can be very busy. Expect to be on hold for a long time.

What if I need help applying?

  • You can call the Louisiana Workforce Commission if you have help with the website: 1-866-783-5567 or email HiRE@lwc.la.gov.  The Call Center is open 8am-7pm Monday to Saturday. Expect long delays because so many people are applying for benefits right now.
  • Contact Job1 for help: 1-504-658-4500 Monday - Friday 8:30am-6:30pm (Please do not leave a message on this line. The voicemail is not attended.)
  • If you still cannot complete or submit your application for unemployment benefits, you can apply for free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services by calling our COVID-19 Legal Helpline at 1-844-7871 or you can apply online at https://lastate.kempscaseworks.com/server/shared/a2jviewer.htm.

What do I do after applying? What happens next?

Protect your rights:

  • Keep your records straight. You'll get many notices from the agency, ESPECIALLY if your claim involves more than one employer. The papers can get confusing. Keep all your papers in one place, or in an envelope or folder. If the agency asks you for a document you do not have, you may have the right to rely on “self-attestation.” If the agency asks for documents you do not have, free legal help may be available from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services by calling our COVID-19 Legal Helpline at 1-844-7871 or you can apply online at https://lastate.kempscaseworks.com/server/shared/a2jviewer.htm.
  • Make sure to file for your weekly certification. The following video shows you how to file your weekly certification:
  • Read notices right away. Because the appeal time is so short, you can lose your rights if you don't act quickly (within the 15 days).
  • When you file, the agency looks at your claim and:
    • Sends a "Monetary Determination" Notice. Read this carefully. Mistakes are often made here. Make sure all your earnings and jobs for the time period are listed. If it's wrong, you have a year to appeal. But, it's best to appeal right away. Maybe you can show the agency your check stubs, tax returns, or W-2 forms. You may need a lawyer if you don't have written proof.
    • Sends each employer notice of your claim once it finds you eligible, and gives each employer the chance to file a "protest" on your claim.
    • Sends a “Qualifying” or “Disqualifying” notice to you and each employer covered by your claim.

Will I have to pay taxes on my unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits are taxable. Especially while benefits are increased, it is a good idea to have federal and state income taxes withheld on these payments, so you do not owe thousands of dollars when next year’s income taxes.

Will unemployment benefits stop us from getting Medicaid or SNAP or Housing Assistance?

Because the $600 per week has ended, it is expected that another 46,000 people in Louisiana will qualify for SNAP (food stamps). They can apply and are eligible now since it is not certain what Congress will do. The $600 increase in unemployment did not count against Medicaid or CHIP. Nor did the extra $600 count against “Section 8” or public housing rent. But the rest of your unemployment check does. The countable part will not usually make you ineligible for Medicaid, but for some households with other income, it will.

Both parts of the unemployment compensation do count against SNAP (food stamps) and most other programs that have to consider your income to decide if you’re eligible. But for many, unemployment compensation is low enough that they still qualify for other help.

I’m an undocumented worker. Do I qualify for unemployment benefits?

Workers must be authorized to work to receive unemployment benefits. This means that undocumented workers are not eligible.

I have an to option to work from home or work remotely. Can I get unemployment benefits instead?

If you can be paid to work from home or remotely, you are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

My employer reduced my hours, but I still have a job. Am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

Yes, if your wages are less than the amount of your stated weekly benefit amount you are eligible for (before the extra $600 is added).

I was over-paid unemployment benefits in the past. Does that affect my eligibility now?

Currently, this can vary case by case, depending on the specifics of what makes you eligible for unemployment benefits.

If you are not paid because of a past overpayment:

  • Southeast Louisiana Legal Services may be able to give free help. Call our Covid Hotline at 1-844-244-7871.
  • Keep making weekly calls or online reports. This may reduce and pay off any overpayment.

For more information about Unemployment Compensation overpayments, visit: https://louisianalawhelp.org/resource/overpaid-unemployment-compensation-benefits-1

My application was denied. Or, I was found ineligible for unemployment compensation. Or, I was found eligible for unemployment compensation but then one of my former employers appealed. What do I do?

If the notice is against you (“Disqualifying”), appeal right away and keep on with weekly reporting. If the notice is in your favor (“Qualifying”), you should get your weekly benefits right away, plus any past-due benefits, and your employer can appeal. Keep on with weekly reporting.

If any of these happen to you, you can apply for free legal help from Southeast Louisiana Legal Services by calling our COVID-19 Legal Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 or you can apply online at https://lastate.kempscaseworks.com/server/shared/a2jviewer.htm.