During this outbreak, many employers, including dental practices, are left with no choice but to temporarily close in order to lessen or prevent the transmission of coronavirus. As a result, many dental practices are facing the difficult decision of laying off staff members. Today, Governor Mike DeWine issued an executive order that extends unemployment benefits to eligible Ohioans who are laid off during Ohio’s emergency declaration period due to the effects of coronavirus.
The following are a list of questions and answers from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. The ODJFS handles requests for and the payment of unemployment benefits.
Question 1: How do I apply for unemployment insurance?
Answer: File online at unemployment.ohio.gov.
Question 2: Will workers qualify for unemployment benefits if the coronavirus (COVID-19) causes an employer to shut down operations?
Answer: Updated: An executive order issued by Governor DeWine expands flexibility for Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits during Ohio’s emergency declaration period. Unemployment benefits will be available for eligible individuals who are requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer, to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if they are not actually diagnosed with COVID-19. In addition, the waiting period for eligible Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits will be waived.
Comment: Note that the language includes employer.
Question 3: If an employer lays off employees due to the loss of production caused by the coronavirus, will the employees be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits?
Answer: Yes, if the employees are otherwise eligible. An executive order issued by Governor DeWine expands flexibility for Ohioans to receive unemployment benefits during Ohio’s emergency declaration period.
Question 4: If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a coronavirus-related business shutdown, will the employer’s unemployment taxes increase?
Answer: For contributory employers, charges during Ohio’s emergency declaration period will be mutualized. Reimbursing employers will follow existing charging requirements under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 4141.
Question 5: If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a coronavirus-related business shutdown, can the benefits be charged to the mutual account?
Answer: Updated: Yes, an executive order issued by Governor DeWine allows unemployment benefit charges to be mutualized for contributory employers. In addition, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will waive penalties for late reporting and payments during Ohio’s emergency declaration period.
Question 6: If an asymptomatic employee imposes a self-quarantine because of the coronavirus, will they be eligible for unemployment benefits?
Answer: In most cases, no. Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are totally or partially unemployed due to no fault of their own. In this example, the individual-not the employer-is choosing not to work and, therefore, would be ineligible. However, the facts of each circumstance are important. If the employer allowed this individual to telework, they would not qualify for benefits because they would not be unemployed. If the employer required the individual to stay home but did not offer telework, the individual might be eligible for benefits if they met the monetary and weekly eligibility criteria.
Question 7: If an employee is in mandatory quarantine because of suspicion of having the coronavirus, will they be eligible for unemployment benefits?
Answer: Updated: Yes, an executive order issued by Governor DeWine states that employees who are quarantined are considered to be unemployed.
Question 8: If the coronavirus creates a situation that causes an employer to submit quarterly reports and/or payments late, will the filing deadline be extended?
Answer: Updated: Yes, an executive order issued by Governor DeWine waives penalties for late reporting and payments during Ohio’s emergency declaration period.
For more guidance on employment, please view “Updated COVID-19 Guidance for Employers” and “Coronavirus and the Workplace: The Employer Response Plan”. If you have a specific question regarding unemployment benefits or would like additional guidance, please contact Vince Nardone at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kari Heinze at email@example.com.