Asked in Employment Law for New York

Q: Work place closed due to coronavirus pandemic. I was on an unpaid leave when this happened. Am I eligible for UI?

Work place closed due to coronavirus pandemic. I was on an unpaid leave (family related situation, employer agreed that I can come back to work anytime my situation resolved) when this happened. I was going to start working again at the end of March when the statewide (NY) coronavirus lockdown started and the businesses had to close. Am I eligible for unemployment insurance? If yes, do I have to stop claiming UI benefits when my workplace reopens (even if I they don't explicitly ask me to return but assume my unpaid leave continues)?

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1 Lawyer Answer
V. Jonas Urba
V. Jonas Urba
  • Tarrytown, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Apply honestly for benefits from the date that you were actually available for work. Certify for benefits honestly. Report all earnings whether paid or medical leave or other to the DOL.

If you are denied benefits timely ask for a hearing and testify credibly at the hearing.

Many employees somehow misunderstand the DOL and unemployment. The DOL does not deny benefits to employees unless an employee gives them a reason to do so. The most common way that happens is hiding information from them.

Only the DOL can determine eligibility. It's not any employer's decision. It all depends on an employee's honestly relayed facts. Those hearings are not that complicated unless the truth has been buried.

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