Unemployment Benefits for Guides and Charters

WSGA Members

We have been digging into the CARES Act the President recently signed into law.

We believe guides and charters may qualify for unemployment. Here is the section of that bill that appears to provide us some relief.

We suggest you read the information below and begin to file for unemployment through the State of Washington. If you have already started this process, please provide us and update as to how the process is working for you.

2.  Title II – Assistance for American Workers, Families, and Businesses

i.  Subtitle A: Unemployment Insurance Provisions

  • Eligibility
  • The law expands the scope of individuals who are eligible for unemployment benefits, including those who are furloughed or out of work as a direct result of COVID-19, self-employed or gig workers, and those who have exhausted existing state and federal unemployment benefit provisions.
    • The only individuals expressly excluded from coverage are those who have the ability to telework with pay and those who are receiving paid sick leave or other paid benefits (even if they otherwise satisfy the criteria for unemployment under the new law).
  • Administration of Benefit
    • The benefits are administered by each state and upon the state’s written agreement with the Secretary of Labor to provide the specific benefits.  States that enter into such an agreement with the Secretary of Labor will be reimbursed in whole or in part for the cost of the benefits plus administrative expenses
  • Types of Benefits Provide
    • The law provides an increase of $600 per week in the amounts customarily available for unemployment under state law.  This increase applies for unemployment payments made from the date of the law’s enactment through July 31, 2020 (approximately four months).

    • States can agree to provide pandemic emergency unemployment compensation to individuals who have either exhausted all of the benefits available to them under existing state and federal law or who are not otherwise eligible for benefits under existing state and federal law.  Individuals must be able and available to work and actively seeking work, unless they are unable to do so as a result of COVID-19 illness, quarantine, or movement restriction.
    • States can agree to waive the waiting period for receipt of benefits so that individuals do not experience gaps in income.
    • The federal government will temporarily fund short-time compensation under existing state plans.  States that do not yet have short-time compensation plans in place may agree to implement a plan, provided that employers who enter into short-time compensation plans must be required to pay to the state half of the short-time compensation paid under the plan
  • Time Periods for Expanded Benefits
    • The law provides unemployment benefit assistance to covered individuals who are not otherwise entitled to benefits under existing state or federal law for weeks of unemployment, partial unemployment, or inability to work caused by COVID-19 during the period January 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020.  This includes any waiting periods for benefits under applicable state law.
    • The total benefit may not extend beyond 39 weeks (including any unemployment benefits or extended benefits received under existing state or federal law), unless, after the law is enacted, the duration of extended benefits is extended, in which case the total benefit may extend beyond 39 weeks by that same additional period of extended benefits.
    • The $600 weekly benefit increase will be applicable to weekly payments made through the end of July 2020.