Alaska amends its law and regulations regarding COVID-19
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Alaska amends its law and regulations regarding COVID-19

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The State of Alaska has amended its Employment Security Act to comply with the provisions of federal law enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Benefit qualification and waiting week. To the extent consistent with federal law, an insured worker who is otherwise qualified to receive a benefit under the Alaska Employment Security Act may not be disqualified for failure to comply because of conduct by the insured worker or the employer of the insured worker related to an outbreak of COVID-19, including conduct involving:

  1. providing care, including medical care, to one or more persons;
  2. preventing or limiting the spread of COVID-19; or
  3. preventing or limiting economic loss or harm.

The protection of an insured worker under this provision applies for a period of 120 days beginning on the effective date or the date the insured worker applies for a benefit, whichever is later.

For the duration of a state or national emergency for an outbreak of COVID-19, the limitations under the Act do not apply to benefits payable to an insured worker who is otherwise entitled to receive waiting-week credit or benefits.

Dependents’ allowance during COVID-19 outbreak. Also for the duration of a state or national emergency for an outbreak of COVID-19, the allowance for dependents of an insured worker under the Act who establishes a benefit year is $75 per week for each dependent. Moreover, the Department may not limit the total allowances for dependents paid to the insured worker for each week of unemployment.

These provisions became effective on March 1, 2020, and are repealed on April 1, 2021.

Regulations amended. The State of Alaska has also issued regulations that require employers to notify individual employees of their unemployment insurance eligibility options at the time of separation and provide temporary emergency flexibility for employer experience rating. (This latter provision expires on August 3, 2020, unless made permanent.).

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