Workers unemployed due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy may be able to waive their one-week waiting period for benefits, according to Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and Director of Labor and Training Charles J. Fogarty.
Non-seasonal employers forced to lay off workers temporarily as a direct result of recent storm-related damage are urged to apply for a waiver with the Department of Labor and Training. Only employees of businesses granted this waiver are eligible. This waiver comes from RI Law § 28-44-14, which waives the usual one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance if a worker's unemployment is caused by a natural disaster or state of emergency.
Also, employers whose storm-related property damage resulted in worker layoffs may be granted relief from related unemployment benefit charges if their businesses are deemed eligible under another weather related law, § 28-43-3. Under ordinary circumstances, employers are charged against their unemployment insurance account every time one of their employees draws on unemployment insurance.
To be deemed eligible for the benefit relief and the waiting period waiver, employers must first submit an application to the Department of Labor and Training. Applications are available for downloading at www.dlt.ri.gov. To assist employers with this process, the Department of Labor and Training has set up a dedicated employer information line at (401) 462-8999 and an email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that this contact information is for employers only and is not intended for individual claimants.
Employees of companies adversely affected by the recent storm-related damage should follow standard procedures for filing for unemployment insurance benefits and will be credited for all benefits available to them once their employer is deemed eligible for the waiting period waiver. Any person wishing to file a Rhode Island unemployment insurance claim may do so online at www.dlt.ri.gov, or by contacting Insurance Call Center at (401) 243-9100 during business hours.
Updates on the flood emergency response for Rhode Island are available through the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency at www.riema.ri.gov.