Labor department prepping guidelines for pandemic unemployment assistance program
The government of Guam, along with the Guam Department of Labor (GDOL), is currently working with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) to create the guidelines and application process for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.
Authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the program will provide weekly benefit payments to workers who traditionally would not qualify for unemployment benefits, and who are unable to work as a direct result of the Covid-19 public health emergency.
This includes those who are self-employed, independent contractors, workers with limited work experience, and those living in areas without an unemployment benefits program, such as Guam.
Information on the CARES Act, the Guam Economic Development Authority provided the CARES Act Selected Programs Presentation, which can be found on their website under Economic Relief Initiatives, http://www.investguam.com/coronavirus/.
The weekly benefits will be available for up to 39 weeks, between Jan. 27, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020. The exact amount will be calculated in the same manner as the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance program under the Stafford Act, which is the model for the PUA program.
PUA will have a minimum benefit that is equal to one-half of the state’s average weekly unemployment insurance benefit. Because Guam doesn't currently have unemployment insurance program, the amount will be determined by USDOL. It will then be issued through an Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL). The GDOL expects to receive this letter shortly.
The process for applying also is currently being created by both the USDOL and GDOL. Mandatory quarantine procedures are also taken into consideration to ensure the safety of everyone and to create the best possible option.
Currently, GDOL is collecting information that will be used to estimate how much assistance Guam will need from the federal government, and help maximize the funds Guam can request for PUA and other future funding opportunities.
Interested applicants can email their information to email@example.com. Please follow these instructions when sending information:
For individual employees:
● Name of employer that issued furlough or layoff
For business owners or managers:
● Employer name and location
● Number of employees laid off or are anticipated to be laid off
● Anticipated date and length of layoffs (e.g. 1 to 2 weeks, 3 to 4 weeks, or unknown at this time)
● Number of employees with reduced work hours or anticipated number of employees with reduced work hours
● When hours were reduced or anticipated date to implement reduced hours
● Specifics on reduced work week imposed (e.g. reduce to 32 hours per week, 20 hours per week, 10 hours per week, or unknown at this time)
● Duration of reduced hours (e.g. 1 to 2 weeks, 3 to 4 weeks, or unknown at this time)