Ohio Governor Temporarily Lifts Restrictions on Unemployment Benefits

Photo of "COVID-19" spelled in scrabble tiles with illustrated viruses floating above

By Theresa L. Nelson

On March 16, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued Executive Order 2020-03D lifting certain restrictions on unemployment compensation benefits during the COVID-19 emergency.

The Executive Order provides that unemployment benefits will be available for eligible individuals who are requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19, even if they are not actually diagnosed with COVID-19, if no leave benefits are offered by their employer. Employees affected by businesses temporarily closing, furloughs or lay-offs during this emergency will be eligible for benefits. It is important to note the restrictions are lifted if the employee is affected by a request or decision made by a medical professional, local health authority or their employer. If an employee decides on their own to stop working without justification related to this emergency, they may not be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.  The typical waiting period for eligible individuals to receive unemployment benefits is also waived so affected workers can receive unemployment benefits.

The Executive Order also provides some relief to employers by not charging the employer’s account for the emergency unemployment benefits and waiving penalties for late reporting and payments affected by COVID-19.

For more information, you can visit Ohio Department of Job and Family Services’ website for more information regarding the emergency changes or to apply for unemployment benefits: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm

The language of the Executive Order 2020-03D addressing the changes in restrictions applicable to unemployment compensation benefits during the COVID-19 emergency is set forth below:

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mike DeWine, Governor of the State of Ohio, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution of the United States, specifically the implied police powers of the Tenth Amendment,  the Constitution of the State of Ohio, Article III, Section 5, and the laws of this State, do hereby order and direct that:

1. Unemployed workers will include individuals requested by a medical professional, local health authority, or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19 even if not actually diagnosed with COV-19; and

2. Individuals totally or partially unemployed, or who are participating in the SharedWork Ohio Program will not be required to serve a waiting period before receiving unemployment insurance or SharedWork benefits; and

3. Any benefit paid on these unemployment claims shall not be charged to the account of the employer who otherwise would have been charged but instead shall be charged to the mutualized account, except reimbursing employers; and

4. Waiver of work search requirements shall include those individuals requested by a medical professional, local health authority or employer to be isolated or quarantined as a consequence of COVID-19 even if not actually diagnosed with COV-19; and

5. Penalties for late reporting and payments will be waived for employers affected by COVID-19.

The above orders apply only to those workers that do not have access to leave benefits from their employer(s).

Theresa Nelson’s practice focuses on representing and defending clients in complex labor & employment, commercial litigation, and general civil litigation. She represents clients in employment-related disputes including wage and hour, harassment, discrimination, disability accommodation (ADA), FMLA, wrongful or retaliatory discharge, breach of contract, restrictive covenants and intellectual property disputes. She is licensed in Kentucky and Ohio.

Strauss Troy is a full-service law firm that delivers solution-oriented legal services to clients through expertise, communication, and collaboration. With offices in Ohio and Kentucky, Strauss Troy serves clients in practice areas including corporate and business law, criminal and white collar defense, domestic relations and family law, labor and employment law, local government, real estate law, tax planning and compliance, and trust and estate planning.