VT House-Senate leaders discuss C-19 unemployment today

Covid-19 Teleconference Report

Editor’s note: Rep. Anne Donahue reports on the takeaway from the Vermont House – Senate teleconference today. Reprinted from Berlin Front Porch Forum.

ANNE DONAHUE, ADONAHUE@LEG.STATE.VT.US STATE REPRESENTATIVE, WASHINGTON-1

DISCUSSION CORONAVIRUS

Today’s House-Senate leadership conference call focused on reports from the Commissioner of Labor. The department is ramping up capacity for the big increase at the unemployment call center. (web site is labor.vermont.gov/covid19) The main take-aways were that COVID-19 temporary layoffs qualify for unemployment, as do absences due to required self-quarantine. However currently, the law does not provide for unemployment coverage to stay home with children due to the COVID-19 school closures. This extension was included in the House emergency bill, but it would need to be passed by the Senate as well.

In addition, the self-employed are not eligible for unemployment coverage, since they do not pay into it. Relief for them would need to come from the federal government under emergency funding, but that is not covered under the current bill that passed the House in Congress.

Although the only mandatory closures are schools, restaurants and bars, many other businesses are closing or reducing hours.

Tomorrow’s update will be with the Agency of Human Services to identify information about child care supports and options.

I will continue to report on these daily meetings as often as possible