AFACWA International has posted the following information:
In addition, the AFL-CIO has provided a State by State resource page, which can be accessed via this link:
For those based in Seattle, the information below is specific to Washington and is current as of April 10th. Remember that, regardless of where you live, claims for unemployment compensation (Washington refers to it as UI) should be filed in the state where you are based.
The CARES Act additional payment of $600 per week is available to eligible employees from March 29 through the last full unemployment week in July, 2020. The Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) anticipates that those funds will begin to be distributed during the week of April 18th. The additional funds will be paid retroactively to the date of the original application for UC. In addition, the Act extends the period of UI from the usual Washington term of 26 weeks by an additional term of 13 weeks for a maximum duration of 39 weeks. After 08/01/2020, the usual state formula will determine the UI to which a claimant is entitled.
The ESD website is being updated to reflect the eligibility and benefit amount changes required by the CARES Act. When this necessary system update will be completed can’t be stated as of this date.
The ESD advises that any Flight Attendant whose UC claim initially was denied due to lack of hours (the pre-Covid19 “680 hours of work requirement”) should re-submit a claim as of the date of the original application or appeal the denial. The CARES Act specifically reduces the hours worked requirement. Once the ESD.WA.GOV website application process has been updated to incorporate the correct hours worked requirement, resubmitting applications and/or appeals should no longer be necessary. But, until that these online corrections are made, please continue to submit weekly claims.
Any Flight Attendant who was on a Worker’s Compensation Leave of Absence during the previous 5 quarters, must report that information. Eberle Vivian income (EV Income) can be included as wages. Once you enter EV income, the form should self-populate with the information needed.
The proper response for employment status for those on COVID-related leaves and staffing adjustment leaves should be ‘STANDBY’. However, the current programming of the ESD.WA.GOV website may not consistently approve that status in some cases. This problem should be resolved with the programming update. It is possible to attach documentation to your application or to send additional information when requested.
When Staffing Adjustment Leaves begin on 5/01, we expect these issues will to be resolved. You can attach the letter you will receive via Outlook stating that you are on a voluntary leave because of the capacity reduction caused by COVID either when you apply or if asked for additional information.
For those on Low-bid status for May and beyond, in Washington a reduction in hours/income of more than 25% may result in a partial UI payment. You may apply, citing reduction in hours due to COVID. If you receive at least $1.00 in UC from the state, you are eligible for the additional $600/week Cares Act funding, according to recent guidance issued by the Department of Labor.
If you are currently on EDLOA (school closure) or VQLOA (self-isolation) leaves, you can attach information substantiating those situations at the time of application or later, if it is requested. Please review the Eligibility Checker, especially page 2 to determine likely eligibility. https://esdorchardstorage.blob.core.windows.net/esdwa/Default/ESDWAGOV/Unemployment/UIEligibilityChecker.pdf
Please remember that UI benefits are taxable, both the state component and the federal $600/week. You may be able to elect withholding of taxes on these amounts. You do not have to pay it back, unless you have incorrectly stated your status (such as laid off, when you have not been laid off or furloughed) or misrepresented current income. Please make certain that you are truthful.
If you receive a paycheck during a period while you are on a leave, you must report the gross wages as income for the week that you receive the payment.
The more prepared you are when you file for UI, the more quickly you will receive the funds. ESD has a goal to issue payments within 5 to 7 days. In order to prepare, please follow the recommendations below:
Stay up-to-date on new unemployment policies
- Sign up for ESD covid-19 updates – get updates on the program launch for new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which will help some folks left out of the state’s Unemployment Insurance program: contractors, small business owners, people who don’t have enough hours and some gig worker
- Check out ESD’s grid on state benefits – it is updated as benefits are expanded/clarified to help workers dealing with covid-19
- ESD has a FAQ for workers and FAQ on the federal CARES Act
Webinars will be available on the EDS site soon. Please sign up for the Secure Access Washington (SAW) app. There are benefits estimate and eligibility tools available on the site.
If you have additional questions, please contact us and we will try to get the most reliable information we can. We are passing on this information from other sources, relying especially on information provided by ESD.
Please remember that neither AFA nor Alaska Airlines can guarantee that UI will be awarded to any individual. UI determinations are made solely by ESD applying state law and complying with federal law and guidance.