Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which the President also signed into law on March 18. In it, the law provides two weeks of paid sick leave and up to three months of family and medical leave for eligible workers and enhances Unemployment Insurance. It also supports small businesses by fully reimbursing them for providing leave.
Paid Leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Field Assistance Bulletin:
Additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19 and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act visit: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
If you lost your job because of the coronavirus pandemic, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits.
To help the average worker receive 100% of their full pay for four months under the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Congress included the following provisions:
- The CARES Act provides an additional $600 on top of the weekly maximum unemployment benefit for four months. It also adds 13 weeks to the maximum time workers can receive benefits through Texas' unemployment insurance program; and extends unemployment insurance to cover self-employed workers, gig-economy workers, independent contractors, and those who were unable to start a new job or contract due to COVID-19.
- The CARES Act establishes Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides emergency unemployment assistance to workers who are excluded from regular state unemployment insurance or who have exhausted their state UI benefits, up to 39 weeks of PUA are available.
Help for Unemployed Individuals, Freelancers, and Gig Workers
- This bill provides enhanced unemployment benefits for uninsured individuals and makes unemployment insurance available to non-traditional employees.
- Unemployed Texas residents will receive 4 months of state unemployment insurance and an additional $600 per week.
- Nontraditional employees (gig workers and freelancers) and individuals not able to work because of the coronavirus will be eligible to receive unemployment insurance for up to 39 weeks.
How to Apply of Unemployment Benefits
More information can found on the Texas Workforce Commission website.
When to Apply
Apply for benefits as soon as you are unemployed because your claim starts the week you complete the application. However, you may not apply until after your last work day. We cannot pay benefits for weeks before your claim effective date.
If your last job was for a temporary agency or staff leasing company, you have additional requirements:
- If your last job was for a temporary agency, you must immediately contact the temporary agency for a new assignment and wait three business days after your assignment ended before applying for benefits. The agency has three business days to offer you a new assignment.
- If your last job was for a staff leasing company, you must immediately contact the staff leasing company for a new assignment.
Read about how temporary work affects your benefits.
How to Apply
Apply for benefits in one of two ways:
- Apply online at Unemployment Benefit Services by selecting Apply for Benefits. Read the Applying for Unemployment Benefits Tutorial for help applying online.
- Call a Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 and speak to a customer service representative.
Information You Need to Apply
You will need:
- Your last employer’s business name, address and phone number
- First and last dates (month, day and year) you worked for your last employer. If you worked for your last employer on more than one occasion, provide the most recent employment dates.
- Number of hours worked and pay rate if you worked the week you apply for benefits (Sunday through Saturday)
- Information about the normal wage for the job you are seeking
- Alien Registration number (if not a U.S. citizen)