Governor Ricketts Signs Executive Order Requiring Individuals to Participate in Work Search Requirements to Receive Unemployment Benefits

7/14/2020 UPDATE:

On July 6, 2020, Governor Ricketts signed Executive Order No. 20-31 which will require individuals receiving unemployment benefits from the state of Nebraska to engage in the work search requirements as provided by the Employment Security Law and the Nebraska Administrative Code.  This change is effective on July 12, 2020.  Prior to this change, the Governor had suspended work search requirements through August 1, 2020 in light of the fact that work search requirements would be oppressive during the current pandemic.  Executive Order No. 20-31 ends the relief from participating in work search requirements several weeks early.  This change may require individuals who have been furloughed to look for temporary work in order to maintain benefits.

Article Originally Published 4/12/20:

On April 2, 2020, Governor Pete Ricketts entered Executive Order No. 20-14 to extend the time period of Emergency Unemployment Insurance Benefit Relief entered by Executive Order No. 20-04 on March 17, 2020. The emergency unemployment measures were originally entered to run only through May 2, 2020. These provisions will now be active through August 1, 2020.

The original Executive Order No. 20-04 suspended certain provisions of Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-602 and directed the Commissioner of Labor to treat workers in an unpaid status for any reason as a result of COVID-19 exposure or illness as being on a temporary layoff and attached to their employment. The Executive Order 20-04 explicitly removed the leave of absence definition that can make an individual ineligible for unemployment benefits if they are considered on a leave of absence.

The original Order also suspended the waiting period, modified the provision that an individual is required to be available for work, and waived work search requirements.

Executive Order 20-04 also grants relief to employers for certain charges against their experience accounts. In addition, for contributory employers, Executive Order 20-04 grants relief for employers who provide short-time compensation programs for employees with reduced hours as a direct result of COVID-19 exposure or illness. Executive Order 20-04 also grants employers certain relief from charging and appeal rights.

The CARES Act, recently enacted by Congress and signed into law at the end of March, also grants extended unemployment benefit relief to employees, including additional eligibility opportunities and an additional flat payment of $600.00 for individuals who are deemed eligible for unemployment benefits.


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Author: Kate Dittrick

This article has been prepared for general information purposes and (1) does not create or constitute an attorney-client relationship, (2) is not intended as a solicitation, (3) is not intended to convey or constitute legal advice, and (4) is not a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified attorney. Always seek professional counsel prior to taking action.