To Our Members:
Things continue to changing with the virus, and things are happening in the workplace. On March 16, we gave you some information on some basic questions. This will give you some updated information on unemployment benefits, and the sick leave and emergency Family Leave provisions passed by Congress last week..
What are my rights to unemployment compensation if I'm temporarily laid off because the place where I work is temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 virus?
If you are temporarily laid off in this situation you can qualify for benefits as long as you was able and available for and actively seeking work. Under the IDES’s emergency COVID-19 rules, you would be considered to be actively seeking work as long as the individual was prepared to return to his or her job as soon the Employer reopened.
If my Employer sends me home because I am sick, what are my unemployment rights?
If your Employer prevents you from working because you are sick, you should register and apply for benefits with the with the Illinois Department of Employment Security, online if you can and at your local office if that is not possible. Your eligibility for benefits, and the amount of benefits, will depend on your particular facts.
To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you first have to be unemployed through no fault of your own. If you your Employer prohibits you from working due to illness, you should meet this requirement.
In addition, to be eligible for benefits, you must be able and available for work. You should satisfy this requirement as long as you are able to do any kind of work that is available – including working remotely or at home, consistent with your medical condition.
To the extent that your medical condition prevents you from doing any work at all, then you may be unavailable for work and ineligible for benefits, either entirely or for any week or portion of a week for which this is true. However, that does not prevent you from registering and applying for benefits.
There is nothing to lose by registering and applying for benefits. To apply online for benefits, go to the following link –
For more information, see:
Paid Sick Leave and Emergency FMLA Under the “Families First” Act
On March 19, Congress passed and the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act. Among other
things, it provide for paid sick leave and emergency Family Medical Leave if you are a full time employee and your Employer employees fewer than 500 employees. If the Act applies to your Employer:
You have an additional 10 paid sick days, regardless of how long you have worked for the Employer.
Between now and December 31, 2020, you can take up 80 hours of paid sick time for any of the following purposes:
(1) if your are subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
(2) if you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID-19;
(3) if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
(4) if you are caring for an individual who is subject to an order as described in (1) or have been advised as described in (2) above;
(5) you are caring for a son or daughter if the school or place of care of the son or daughter has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to COVID-19 precautions.
If you are a full time employee, sick time under (1) through (3) is paid at your regular rate of pay, up to $511 per day, and $5100 total. Sick time under (4) and (5) is paid at your regular rate of pay, up to $200 per day and $2000 total. If you are a part time employee, there is a formula for calculating the pay for the sick leave.
This paid sick leave is in addition to whatever sick leave, vacation or other Paid Time Off (PTO) you already receive. You can choose to use other PTO first, but your Employer cannot make you do so.
This paid sick leave will not carry over after December 31, 2020.
You have the right to Emergency FMLA Leave if you have worked for the Employer for at least 30 days.
Until December 31, 2020, you may take up to 12 weeks of Emergency FMLA due to a need for leave to care for the son or daughter under 18 years of age of such employee if the school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider of such son or daughter is unavailable, due to a COVID-19-related public health emergency, as declared by a federal, state or local authority.
The first 10 days of the Emergency FMLA Leave can be unpaid (although those days may also be covered by the paid sick leave above, or other PTO if you choose). If you are a full time employee, after the first 10 days, the Emergency FMLA Leave is paid at two-thirds of your regular rate, up to $200 per day and $10,000 total.
Your Employer may not require you to use other PTO in lieu of or before taking this Emergency FMLA, although you may choose to do so.
* * * * *
As we said in our original guidance, we cannot possibly answer every question in this document. We will continue to give you updates on major developments when appropriate.
In the meantime, we repeat the most important things we said in our original guidance –
Read your CBA.
Your Union contract is your first line of defense in any situation. The Union’s collective bargaining agreements vary from Company to Company, so we can’t give you blanket answers on what your specific contract says. But in any situation, look at the CBA to see what rights it gives you. Talk to your Shop Steward and the Union.
Your Employer should not be changing your working conditions without notice to the Union.
The Employer should not be unilaterally issuing new policies or changing your terms and conditions of employment, without notice to and discussions with the Union. If your Employer does so, tell your Shop Steward and the Union.
The Union has asked your employer for a lot of information about how it is dealing with this crisis, and to meet with the Union about any action as appropriate. The Union stands ready to bargain with Employers to protect your special interests in this situation, while trying to meet the Employer’s concerns, as well.
When in doubt, talk to your Shop Steward and the Union.
If we’ve made anything clear – feel free to ask your Shop Steward or call the Union if you have any questions about these subjects or anything else.
You can get up to date information about COVID-19 from the federal and state governments, the Chicago Federation of Labor, and the Teamsters International Union.
Finally, first things first – be vigilant, stay informed, and keep you and your family safe. We are all in this together, and together we will get through this.