COVID-19 & Missouri’s Return to Work

By June 17, 2020August 7th, 2020COVID-19

As Missouri reopens, the Missouri Department of Labor’s Division of Employment Security (DES) stated that they will resume unemployment requirements.

Work Search Activities Resume:

As a result of COVID-19, the state lifted the work search requirement for COVID-related unemployment claims. However, starting with the week of July 5, 2020, individuals who continue to receive benefits (as well as the $600 supplement available through July 25, 2020) will be required to perform work searches.

The state will require work searches for programs including regular benefits, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Extended Benefits (EB), and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). Individuals with an employer-submitted recall date, in approved training, and those in the Shared Work program will be exempt from the work search requirement. All other individuals will need to perform and report three work search activities per week to remain eligible for benefits.

Finally, the state advises that qualified work search activities include, but are not limited to, filing an application (online or in-person) with an employer or through job posting sites or attending a job fair, job interview, reemployment service or skills workshop. Part-time employment performed during a week is credited on a per-day basis. Missouri Job Centers may also assist unemployed individuals with these requirements by providing customized job searches through http://www.jobs.mo.gov, job fairs, Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) appointments, and workshops to help develop and refine skills and other training programs.

Waiting Week Resumes:

For individuals filing for benefits in Missouri on or after July 5, 2020, a waiting week requirement will be imposed once again. The waiting week is the first week of a claim for which the individual is eligible for benefits but during that week, such individual is not paid benefits. Individuals who are approved for benefits may receive compensation for the waiting week as the last payment on the regular claim.

The state would like to remind individuals that they should report any earnings (including PPP payments) and any work refusal when filing their weekly requests for benefits.  Individuals who fail to report earnings will receive an overpayment. Any overpaid benefits (including the $600 federal supplement) will have to be repaid before an individual can receive future benefits. Also, individuals who fail to report earnings and work refusals could be subject to fines of up to 100 percent of overpaid amounts and criminal prosecution as a result of fraudulent information being provided to the state. Please visit the state’s virtual assistant at http://www.labor.mo.gov and visit http://www.labor.mo.gov/coronavirus for more COVID-related updates.

Employer Account Charges Resume:

Moreover, beginning July 5, 2020, employers will once again be charged for claims against their account. Employers who wish to reduce the amount of charges being made against their accounts should report individuals who either refuse to return to work or who receive pay through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Employers can report those instances through their UInteract account or by visiting http://www.labor.mo.gov (click on “Report Employee Work Refusals” or “Report PPP Wages Paid to Employees”). Additional guidance will be provided for employers who partake in a Shared Work program and any continued waiver of employer account charges.

 

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://www.thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.

Mike Parker

Author Mike Parker

Mike has 30 years of experience in unemployment cost control management, and has been with Thomas & Company for 25 years. He is the primary contact with state agencies building strong relationships, lobbying for opportunities that increase quality of service and efficiencies, and insuring compliance with state specific requirements. He works with the client service team, answering technical questions related to the unemployment insurance programs administered by the individual states and oversees the processes associated with wage audits and fraudulent claim inquiries. Mike is a member of the SIDES Operations Committee and currently sits on four Operations Committee subcommittees.

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