Employer, Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19

Yes, generally your employees will be eligible for benefits, if they cannot report for work because they no longer have childcare available to them. 

Yes. Governor Burgum signed an Executive Order on Friday, March 20th to assist business owners in the receipt of Unemployment Insurance by temporarily eliminating income reduction requirements for business owners.

No. Governor Burgum signed an Executive Order on Friday, March 20th directing that individual base period employers accounts for rated employers will be relieved of charges (I.e. No Charged) on claims filed as a direct or indirect result of COVID-19.  Employers who have chosen reimbursement as their method of financing are not eligible for non-charging / pool charging of benefits at this time

Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19

After re-opening, the same unemployment insurance programs will remain available.  As is the case currently, individuals unemployed due to the pandemic will potentially remain eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.  The primary impact of reopening will be that if suitable work is available because an individual’s employer has reopened, but the individual chooses to not return to employment, they may be found ineligible for benefits. 

Eligibility for future benefit payments is done on a case-by-case basis and could vary by situation.  Reopening, or the expiration of existing Executive Orders relating specifically to business operations, will not affect the Governor’s Executive Orders relating to items such as the temporary suspension of the unemployment insurance work search requirement.  These Orders will remain in force until the Governor specifically rescinds them. There is not a sunset or expiration date on these particular orders.

You should not apply for PEUC (the 13-week extension of regular UI benefits) until your last regular UI benefit has been processed. 

Employee, Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19

Included in the CARES Act is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which is a program for those who do not qualify for regular unemployment benefits.  You can apply at this link for PUA benefits. Please know that the applications for these benefits will not be processed until the federal government provides guidance to the states on implementing this new program.

Yes, if you are quarantined and physically able to work but cannot work from the quarantine location do to other reasons, you would be eligible to receive benefits based upon recent federal guidance relating strictly to COVID-19.

Yes, if you cannot work due to contracting COVID-19 but will be returning to your employer, you would be eligible to receive benefits based upon recent federal guidance relating strictly to COVID-19.

If your employer shuts down or lays you off due to lack of work caused by the impact of COVID-19 on the business, you will generally be eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits.

No, for now. Governor Burgum signed an Executive Order on Friday, March 20th that temporarily waives the work search requirement for all claimants. Job Service has adjusted our systems so that you will not be asked to enter any work searches you have completed when you certify your weekly eligibility.

Beginning on July 26, the work search requirement will go back into effect. It is a good idea to get your resume and cover letter updated now so you will be ready to complete the requirement that week. 

The waiting week is a one-week delay between the date a claim is filed and the date of the first payment issued. It has been built into the Job Service North Dakota mainframe since before online filing became commonplace. It allows Job Service to verify statements made on claims and is a tool in the fight against insurance fraud. Governor Burgum waived the waiting week on April 1, 2020 in an executive order.

Because of the many programming changes associated with new programs introduced in the CARES Act, Job Service North Dakota recognizes the critical need to get each of these programs in place. We had to prioritize the order of programming all while weighing the risk of complete system failure, which could have resulted in the inability to provide any individual a benefit payments at all. 

There are several reasons your claim could be denied, but it is important to remember that with the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), almost all individuals will be eligible for benefits if they are unemployed due to the pandemic.  The federal government considers PUA and PEUC to be programs of last resort.  This means that they are only available to individuals who are not eligible for regular state unemployment insurance, or those who have been denied regular state unemployment insurance.

If you receive a Monetary Determination noting that you are not eligible for benefits, you should file a claim for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

If you have received all of the benefits available to you on a claim you filed within the last year, you should file a claim for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

If you are unemployed for a reason not related to the pandemic, you will need to follow normal procedures in place for state unemployment insurance benefits (click “File a Regular UI Claim”). 

With the passage of the CARES Act those who have current Benefit Year Ends and have exhausted their benefits would most likely be eligible to receive the PEUC extension of 13 additional weeks of regular UI. Other regular claims would be potentially eligible for PEUC at the point they exhaust. 

The most common reasons for these denials will be if you quit a job or were terminated by your employer.  You will be notified of your eligibility with a Non-Monetary Determination.  This determination will provide you with information and actions you should take if you do not agree with the determination. 

Employee, Employer, Unemployment Insurance and COVID-19

  • Positive result for, or other diagnosis with, COVID-19;
  • Symptoms of infection with COVID-19, e.g., fever of or over 100.4°F, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat;
  • “Close contact” (as defined by the Centers for Disease Control) with any person who has tested positive for, or has otherwise been diagnosed with, COVID-19 infection within the preceding 14 days;
  • Whether the employee has been asked to self-quarantine by a health official within the preceding 14 days;
  • Whether the employee has traveled to, or stopped over in, a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 3 travel health notice


  • Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), employees may refuse work if they “reasonably believe they are in imminent danger.” That fear typically includes the threat of death or serious physical harm. Generalized fear about the virus, that’s not based on fact, would not likely be sufficient to refuse to work. However, if the workplace currently has a number of confirmed cases of COVID-19, their fears may be justified.

  • For workers who are at higher risk for negative outcomes if they contract COVID-19, such as those with underlying medical conditions or workers who are immunocompromised, even generalized fears may be legitimate. Businesses should work with these staff members to alter the work environment as much as possible to mitigate risk, if they can.

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