Governor Mills’ COVID-19 emergency legislation (LD 2167), which was enacted by the Legislature and signed into law March 18th, included temporary measures to enhance the flexibility of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program in order to support workers and businesses economically impacted by COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. These measures will help relieve the financial burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and medically-necessary quarantine by making unemployment benefits available to individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19. This helps not only individuals, but also employers by helping them retain their workforce and stabilizing local economies.
The legislation temporarily revises eligibility requirements to include situations not typically covered, such as:
- An employer temporarily ceases operation due to COVID-19
- An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work once the quarantine is over
Please note, the legislation is not intended to provide sick leave or short-term disability payments. The legislation also waives the work search requirement for individuals still connected to their employer and waives the one-week waiting period so that benefits will be available sooner. In addition, any benefits paid under these provisions would not affect the employer’s experience rating record.
Self-employed individuals should wait to apply for unemployment until the State of Maine fixes the website to accept online applications from them.
Unemployment Insurance FAQs Regarding COVID-19 - Read a list from the Maine Department of Labor of frequently asked questions and answers for employees and employers.
Seeds of Hope is available for computer access to apply for unemployment Monday-Thursday 9:00am-12:00pm. One person at a time will be allowed access, practicing social distancing and sanitary protocols. Seeds of Hope is located at 35 South Street here in Biddeford.