On March 27, 2020, the President of the United States of America signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, which includes the Relief for Workers Affected by Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) set out in Title II, Subtitle A.
On March 31, 2020, the President of Palau, Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., signed Agreement Implementing the Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act, between the Republic of Palau and The Secretary of Labor, U.S. Department of Labor.
WHAT IS P.U.A.?
Section 2102 creates the new temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistant (PUA) program. The PUA program provides temporary benefit to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been interrupted or lost as a direct result of COVID-19 Pandemic. PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment assistance or benefits.
WHAT IS F.P.U.C.?
CARES ACT 2020, Section 2104. Emergency Increase in Unemployment Compensation Benefits, an additional amount of benefits, herein referred to as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, to a qualified individual receiving assistance under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
For more information on the PUA and FPUC programs, please review Unemployment Insurance Program Letter (UIPL) Nos. 16-20 and 16-20, Change 1. https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr-dc.cfm?DOCN=4628 https://wdr.doleta.gov/directives/corr_doc.cfm?DOCN=5899
QUALIFYING FOR PUA:
PUA provides benefits to individuals who are eligible for regular unemployment compensation (UC) or extended benefits (EB) under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (PEUC) under Section 2107 of CARES Act 2020, including individuals who have exhausted all rights to regular unemployment compensation (UC) or extended benefits (EB) under State or Federal law or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation (PEUC).
Covered individuals also include self-employed, those seeking part-time employment, individuals lacking sufficient work history, and those who otherwise do not qualify for regular UC, EB, or PEUC under State or Federal law. To the extent there is a conflict between Section 2102 and 20 C.F.R Part 625, the Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) regulations, 20 C.F.R Part 625 apply to PUA program, as if the term “COVID-19 public health emergency” were substituted for the term “major disaster” and the term “pandemic” were substituted for the term “disaster” each place it appears in 20 C.F.R Part 625.
PUA is generally not payable to individuals who have the ability to telework with pay or who are receiving paid sick leave or other paid-leave benefits. However, individuals receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits for less than their customary work week and individuals who have been offered the option of teleworking with pay who then work less than the work prior to COVID-19 pandemic, may still be eligible for PUA. However, income received for telework and the income reductions listed in the DUA regulations at 20 C.F.R. 625.13 received in a week, and the base wage deduction set forth under Section 383-1 of Hawaii Employment and Security (20 C.F.R. 625.2(r)), must be deducted from the PUA benefit payment for that week, including paid sick leave.
PUA provides benefits to qualifying individuals who are otherwise able to work and available for work within the meaning of the applicable state UC law, except that they are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to one of the listed COVID-19 related reasons identified in Section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(I) of the CARES Act:
FILING A PUA CLAIM (Everyone can apply! Not everyone can qualify)
Instructions on filing a claim will be provided through all social, print and television media outlets, and posted on the Palau WIOA Office website of www.palauwioa.org once documents and systems have been approved for usage by the U.S. Department of Labor.
CONTINUED BENEFIT PAYMENTS
After filing a PUA initial application, an individual must request continued PUA benefit payments according to the instructions given by the Palau WIOA Office.
REQUIRED PROOF OF EMPLOYMENT
The individual filing a claim for PUA will need to provide proof of income (e.g., pay stubs/check stubs, 2019 W2 form, certified income letter or statement, receipts, bank statements) to document employment or self-employment that was impacted by COVID-19 public health emergency or to document work that was to begin on or after the date when COVID-19 impacted the individual’s employment status. Individuals will follow the applicable Palau WIOA Office requirements for submitting the required documents.
FEDERAL PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (FPUC)
Individuals who receive at least one dollar ($1) of PUA benefits for a week will also receive an additional $600 supplemental payment under the FPUC program described in Section 2104 of CARES Act 2020. However, the time period that a claimant can receive the FPUC supplemental payment is time limited than the duration of the PUA payments. FPUC, more specifically, is payable only for weeks of unemployment beginning on or after the date on which the State (50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) enters into an FPUC agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor. For the American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Territory of Guam, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), and the Republic of Palau (Palau), FPUC is payable only for weeks of unemployment beginning on/or after the date on which the entity enters into a PUA agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor. Moreover, FPUC is not payable to any individual for any week of unemployment ending after July 31, 2020.
BENEFIT DURATION AND WEEKLY BENEFIT AMOUNT (WBA)
PUA is payable beginning February 02, 2020 and ending on or before December 31, 2020. The duration of PUA benefits payable to an individual is generally limited to 39 weeks.
Palau follow a PUA WBA calculation found in 20 C.F.R. 625.6(d). The PUA WBA (It is not increased or reduced except when the claimant earned money during the benefit week).
Any denial of PUA benefits may be appealed. Individuals will follow the Palau WIOA instructions concerning appeal rights and deadlines for timely filing of appeals.