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Unemployment Insurance Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Unemployment claims form for filing unemployment insurance benefits

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world overnight. Statewide lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders have forced countless businesses to implement wide-spread layoffs. This has led to skyrocketing unemployment insurance claims by tens of thousands of Hawaii residents who have suddenly found themselves without a job.

But federal aid is on the way.

The CARES Act, the single largest relief bill in U.S. history, will provide nearly $260 billion in unemployment insurance (UI) and expand benefits to individuals who become unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s unclear how this influx of COVID-19 related unemployment claims will affect an employer’s unemployment tax liability.

“While the state has not issued any formal confirmation, it is possible claims related to COVID-19 will not impact business’ future State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) tax rate,” says Lori Rego, Director of Benefits Services at simplicityHR by ALTRES 

Frequently Asked Questions about Unemployment Insurance

To simplify the often confusing unemployment claims process, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions, including:  

  • Will I be charged if my employee collects UI benefits?  
  • Do I need to terminate (lay off) my employees for them to receive UI benefits? 
  • I have furloughed my employees. Will they qualify for UI benefits? 
  • Some of my employees were working part-time. Will they qualify for UI benefits?  
  • Will my employees collect more UI benefits if they are separated?  

Download: Employers’ Frequently Asked Questions about Unemployment Insurance (PDF) 

For more employer resources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, visit our COVID-19 Employer Resource page. The site is updated daily with relevant information for Hawaii businesses, so check back often.  

Related: Coronavirus Cutbacks: Furloughs, Layoffs, and Reductions-in-Force

Employee Resources for Unemployment Insurance

If any of your employees have questions about filing a UI claim, here are some great resources to help.

Have a question for one of our HR experts? To learn more about this issue or to schedule a free consultation on the advantages of human resources outsourcing, contact simplicityHR.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Readers should first consult their attorney, accountant or adviser before acting upon any information in this article.


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