Unemployment Compensation – What Are Your Worker’s Rights During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

Attorney Ashley Securda

by Attorney Ashley Securda

Were you exposed to the coronavirus at work and forced to stay home without pay? Did your place of employment close due to COVID-19, leaving you without pay?

You may have legal rights to collect due to your loss of income.

Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits are available to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own. This includes being forced not to come to work due to the threat of the coronavirus.

You may be eligible for unemployment compensation if any of the following have occurred:
• Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19
• Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19
• You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19
• You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts

In order to see if you qualify for benefits, applications can be filed here: https://www.uc.pa.gov/unemployment-benefits/file/Pages/File%20an%20Initial%20Claim.aspx.

More information can be found on the Pennsylvania Office of Unemployment Compensation’s website located here: https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/covid19.aspx.

Worker’s Compensation
If you have been exposed to the coronavirus at work and are forced to stay home or forced to incur medical bills, you may have the right to file a claim for Worker’s Compensation (WC) benefits. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 at work, there are two ways to file a claim:

• Notifying your employer to file a typical “disease-as-injury” WC claim, which requires you to provide medical evidence that you were exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace

• Notifying your employer to file an “occupational disease” WC claim, which requires you to show that COVID-19 is occurring more in your occupation/industry than in the general population.

If your claim is denied or if your employer refuses to file a claim on your behalf, you may need to file a Petition with the Pennsylvania Worker’s Compensation Office of Adjudication.

More information can be found on the website of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry located here: https://www.dli.pa.gov/Individuals/Workers-Compensation/publications/Pages/LIBC-100-WC–The-Injured-Worker-Pamphlet.aspx

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