Oregon expands unemployment insurance eligibility

The Oregon Employment Department issued an order effective March 13, 2022, loosening unemployment insurance eligibility requirements. The order expanded the definition of the phrase available to work to include workers who are available to work at least 40 hours per week during times when, according to the state, an employer would typically offer work. Previously, workers could only claim unemployment insurance benefits if they were available to work any hours offered to them.

Workers can now claim benefits if their available hours are limited due to child care schedules, the care schedules of elderly parents, college class schedules, and public transportation schedules.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

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