Paid-leave requirement no longer applies to those seeking coronavirus-related unemployment benefits

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DES MOINES: Employees laid off or unable to work for coronavirus-related reasons no longer will be required to use all paid leave before being eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

The Iowa Workforce Development announced that change to its leave policy today for employees filing for unemployment insurance benefits following the enactment of the CARES Act. The change is effective immediately, according to a news release.

The change is not retroactive, and claims will not be backdated prior to the week of March 29 for new or existing claims by individuals who work for employers.

The policy requiring claimants to use all available paid leave prior to filing for unemployment benefits was necessary to help sustain the Iowa Unemployment Trust Fund, which is funded entirely by employers doing business in Iowa and is the source of all benefit payments to claimants. The enactment of the CARES Act has provided a significant source of additional funding for claimants, and this policy change reflects the evolving situation, according to the release.

The CARES Act benefit programs will expand the group of people eligible for unemployment benefits to include the self-employed, independent contractors, nonprofit employees and gig economy workers as well as workers who have exhausted their benefits. Iowa Workforce Development will continue to share more information as guidance from the Department of Labor is received.

Due to the complexity of program requirements, this process will take time.

Additional updates about COVID-19-related information are available here.

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