As the novel coronavirus continues to disrupt normal life, Gov. Ralph Northam wants to make it easier for people who have lost their jobs or hours to pay their bills.
Northam announced three major changes to the state’s unemployment program at a press conference on Tuesday. First, workers filing for unemployment will not have to wait the typical seven day waiting period to receive benefits. Northam directed the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) to give workers their benefits as soon as they are available.
Second, Northam made it easier to qualify for unemployment benefits. The changes will extend benefits to workers who had their hours cut or were temporarily laid off because of the coronavirus. This also applies to workers who have been told to quarantine themselves by a health official, but are not receiving paid sick or medical leave from their employer. Northam also included workers who need to stay home and care for a sick member of the family but do not get paid sick or medical leave from their employer.
And third, Northam eased some of the rules surrounding unemployment applications. The VEC can now give affected workers special considerations on deadlines, work search requirements and mandatory reemployment appointments.