Employees not offered paid leave through their job and who are quarantined by a medical professional, who are quarantined by their employer, or whose employer has temporarily closed may seek unemployment compensation through the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services without the normal requirement to be actively seeking work and without the normal 1-week waiting period usually associated with unemployment applications. However, asymptomatic individuals who self-quarantine will likely not be able to seek unemployment compensation, as they are choosing not to work. Working from home or teleworking will not make an individual eligible for unemployment compensation unless they meet monetary and weekly eligibility criteria. Impacted employees should go to unemployment.ohio.gov or to call 1-877-644-6562 to apply for benefits.
Workers who lose their jobs as a result of the coronavirus can enter the mass-layoff number 2000180 on their applications. However, if affected individuals have already submitted claims without this number, they do not need to add it.
Changes to Unemployment Programs under the CARES Act
Unemployment insurance benefits have been extended to those typically not eligible for such benefits, including but not limited to self-employed workers, independent contractors, freelancers, workers seeking part-time work, and workers without a long-enough work history to typically qualify.
Please note that as the state works diligently to meet the federal changes in unemployment insurance law, expanded claims options may not appear immediately available, and the claims sites will remain under heavy traffic during peak hours. Software updates are underway, and all eligible applicants will be able to file their claims.
Under the CARES Act, unemployment insurance benefits are being extended by 13 weeks, and a flat $600 per week increase is added to each recipient’s benefit amount for a four-month period. Coronavirus-affected unemployed Ohioans who don't qualify for regular unemployment benefits can begin applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) by clicking here. For a complete overview of the program and to review the expanded eligibility criteria, please click here.
Weekly Unemployment Claim Filing Process
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has implemented a weekly unemployment claim filing process for those who are approved to receive unemployment. This new process is an effort to alleviate an overburdened system by streamlining claims processing and expediting payments. Starting on April 26, people filing weekly claims should only do so on a specific day of the week based on the first letter of their last name:
- Sunday – Last names beginning with A through H
- Monday – Last names beginning with I through P
- Tuesday – Last names beginning with Q through Z
- Wednesday – All
- Thursday – All
- Friday – All
- Saturday – All
No Wi-Fi? No problem.
In an effort to provide those residents, employees and employers with WiFi connectivity throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Summit County libraries are providing free internet access from their respective parking lots. For those in need of this free service, please visit the main website here, where you will find directions, availability and other helpful instructions on how to utilize their free services.
HFLA of Northeast Ohio Emergency Loans for Individuals
HFLA of Northeast Ohio is offering $1,500 emergency loans for individuals. These loans are being expedited and do not require a guarantor. These loans can be used to replay lost wages, pay for emergency medical expenses, or pay for unexpected childcare expenses due to school or daycare closures. Find the application form here.
Beauty Changes Lives - Beauty Industry Relief Grants
Beauty Changes Lives, a nonprofit driven to make the beauty profession a first-choice career, is accepting applications for $1,000 grants to beauty professionals or students of beauty programs that are currently not earning an income. Applicants who are chosen to receive the grant will be contacted by May 22, 2020. For more information on program eligibility and to apply, click here.
United Way of Summit County Financial Empowerment Centers
Financial Empowerment Center coaches are ready to help individuals navigate financial challenges that they may be experiencing due to COVID-19. Financial coaching is free and available to any individual who lives or works in Summit County. Click here to learn more about the United Way's Financial Empowerment Centers. Click here for additional resources related to personal finances that could be helpful for individuals and employees during this time.
Extension to Filing Taxes
The deadline to file 2019 federal, state, and municipal income tax returns and pay any applicable 2019 taxes has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
Paid Sick Leave & Family Medical Leave (FMLA)
Emergency Paid Sick Leave
All current employees, including part-time employees, of public employers or private employers with less than 500 employees are eligible for emergency paid sick leave. An employee is entitled to this leave if the employee is unable to work (or telework) for any of the following reasons:
- The employee is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
- The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19.
- The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis.
- The employee is caring for an individual who is subject to a quarantine order or has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
- The employee is caring for a son or daughter whose school or daycare has been closed or if the son or daughter’s childcare provider is unavailable due to COVID-19.
- The employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services in consultation with Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of the Department of Labor.
FMLA Caregiver Paid Leave
Under the new law, if an employee is unable to work (or telework) due to the need for leave to care for a son or daughter under 18 years of age because of a school closure, a daycare closure, or because a child care provider is unavailable due to a reason related to COVID-19, then that employee is entitled to paid FMLA leave.
Changes to Paid Leave
Under the CARES Act, paid FMLA leave is capped at $200/day and $10,000 in aggregate. Paid sick leave is capped at $511/day and $5,110 in aggregate; this amount drops to $200/day and $2,000 in aggregate for sick leave taken to care for a family member or because of a school closure. Workers who are laid off after March 1, 2020, but then rehired are eligible for paid FMLA leave.
Banking & Insurance Relief Programs
The Ohio Bankers League is compiling a list of payment deferral programs, fee waivers, and other relief measures, for both consumer and business clients. Details on these relief measures, including contact information for each institution, can be found here.
Many insurance carriers have announced their assistance in modifying premium payment terms, including introducing grace periods, new cancellation terms, waived late fees, and more. Click here to find a list of such programs offered by various insurance carriers.
Assistance for Food Service Industry Workers
Several programs exist, or have recently been announced, to provide emergency assistance to food service industry workers, including waiters, waitresses, bartenders, and their dependents. Below are a few of those resources:
Employment Opportunities & Other Resources
For those seeking employment opportunities as a result of a loss of employment, please visit the OhioMeansJobs Summit County website at https://www.summitomj.org/now-hiring. While the OhioMeansJobs Summit County Center is currently closed to the public due to the epidemic, resources for job seekers are still available online. Times are difficult for most employers, but some employers are hiring workers at this time.
OhioMeansJobs Summit County is now offering virtual workshops for job seekers during the COVID-19 closure. Three video series are available – Applicant Tracking Systems, What’s In a Resume, and Answering Common Interview Questions. In the Applicant Tracking Systems series, you will learn about common tracking systems used by employers and why your application might get flagged as well as tips on how to make sure your submission gets through. What’s In a Resume discusses common resume myths, items to highlight in your resume, and what key features should always be included. Answering Common Interview Questions covers how to answer questions commonly asked during job interviews that many find difficult. The series will not only provide answers to these interview questions but also insight as to why employers ask them. Visit https://www.summitomj.org/who-we-serve/individuals/virtual-workshops to explore these virtual workshops. You may also register for a virtual, one-on-one OMJ orientation by visiting https://tinyurl.com/omjscvirtual.
RAISE: Good Jobs for Greater Akron is a resource for jobseekers and displaced workers to apply for open jobs and to access other resources including the internet, low-cost computers, workshops, and training. For more information, click here.
For additional resources for economic support for individuals and families throughout the state of Ohio, visit the Ohio Department of Public Health's COVID-19 webpage.