Unemployment Insurance COVID-19 Update

Unemployment Insurance COVID-19 Update

March 19, 2020


Governor Evers signed Emergency Order #7 which waived work search requirements and modified availability requirements for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for workers.

  • This order waives the requirement that claimants conduct weekly work searches during the COVID-19 emergency. However, union carpenters are already exempted from work searches so long as you are registered on the Mix 2020 dispatch system known by state officials as the official “out-of-work list.”
  • The order also ensures that claimants who are otherwise “available for work” but not working due to COVID-19 symptoms are considered “available for work” and therefore eligible for benefits.
  • Gov. Evers has also called on the State Legislature to act quickly to repeal the one-week waiting period for UI benefits. Repealing the one-week waiting period requires legislative approval. NCSRCC advocated for this repeal to be included in Gov. Evers’ proposed 2019-2021 where it was included but subsequently removed by the legislature. NCSRCC continues to lobby for its repeal at this critical time.

CLICK HERE for additional information regarding COVID-19 and Wisconsin Unemployment Benefits.



Governor Walz signed executive order 20-05 related to unemployment insurance which will ease the access to benefits for workers. The order waives the waiting week requirement and waives the requirement to search for work. The impacts take effect if the worker 1) has COVID-19, 2) is in risk of getting COVID-19, 3) an employer tells them not to come to work because someone else has COVID-19, 4) workers cannot get childcare or other accommodation to take care of school aged children, or 5) a health professional says they cannot work because of COVID-19.

The executive order doesn’t extend the length of time a person can collect benefits, and it doesn’t apply if workers choose not to go to work. It’s important to know that you do not have to be unemployed to collect UI. If you have had your hours dramatically reduced because of COVID-19, you should apply for UI, and state that the reason is due to COVID-19.

Be advised that the UI system is taking calls and online applications at an incredible volume and that it may take some time for applications to be processed. This week, MN DEED has processed over 50,000 unemployment claims as of Wednesday, nearly 2,000 claims per hour. The department is asking everyone who is able to file claims online, to do that rather than call in to the system.

For more information: https://www.uimn.org/applicants/needtoknow/news-updates/covid-19.jsp



Gov. Reynolds issued a wide-ranging executive order to close public facilities including Iowa churches, bars, theaters, fitness centers, senior centers, casinos and other gathering places due to COVID-19. Gatherings over 10 people are prohibited as part of the Governor’s order. The measures are meant to implement social distancing practices recommended by health experts to slow the spread of the Coronavirus.

Gov. Reynolds is urging employers to use telework and paid leave before issuing layoffs. Employees temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19, needing to stay home due to facility closures or providing care for family members because of illness related to the virus can receive temporary unemployment benefits. In addition, Iowa Workforce Development has waived the work search requirement to receive unemployment benefits. Employers will not be charged for unemployment claims related to COVID-19.

For more information: https://www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/

Update March 30, 2020:
Iowa Workforce Development has implemented updates to its leave policy for filing unemployment insurance benefits following the enactment of the CARES Act. Effective immediately, employees who are or will be laid off, or are unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19, will no longer be required to use all paid leave prior to being eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. This change is not retroactive and claims will not be backdated prior to the week of March 29, 2020, for new or existing claims by individuals who work for employers. For updates about COVID-19-related work information, please visit www.IowaWorkforceDevelopment.gov



Gov. Ricketts issued an executive order loosening eligibility requirements for unemployment. Employees temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19, needing to stay home or care for family members because of illness related to the virus or part of a facility closure can receive temporary unemployment benefits. In addition, the Nebraska Commissioner of Labor has waived work search requirements to receive unemployment benefits. The first week of eligibility will be payable to an eligible employee removing the one-week waiting period. Employers will not be charged for unemployment claims related to COVID-19. 

In both Omaha and Lincoln, the water and electric utilities have instituted a moratorium on shutoffs.  

For more information: https://governor.nebraska.gov/press/gov-ricketts-issues-executive-order-loosen-unemployment-insurance-eligibility-requirements


North Dakota

As of now, there have been no changes to the North Dakota unemployment insurance. We are working with the North Dakota Building Trades to request coverage that would apply in the case of COVID-19 related claims. In a letter to Gov. Burgum, we have asked him to waive the one-week waiting period, waive the requirement of looking for work, and make some other emergency changes in response to the pandemic. If there is an executive order or any changes are made, we will share updates at that time.

For more information: https://www.jobsnd.com/unemployment-individuals/file-claim


South Dakota

The only moratorium on shut offs that’s been announced are Mid Continent Communications, which is a statewide internet and phone provider, and Xcel Energy which is largely based in Southeast South Dakota. Gov. Noem has been holding press conferences almost daily and using social media to give updates. If there are other unemployment benefits, utilities or government related changes due to COVID-19, we will pass them along immediately. 

For more information: https://dlr.sd.gov/ra/default.aspx