Governor extends unemployment benefits in Missisisppi

Governor Tate Reeves announced on Monday at his daily press conference that he would be making several changes to unemployment benefits in Mississippi.

Part of the change is that Reeves extended the waiver of the one week waiting period for benefits until December 26, 2020. It was set to expire later next month.

The Governor also is increasing the $40 earning allowance to $200 from May 3, 2020 until June 27, 2020, meaning you can make up to $200 per week without it affecting your benefits.

Here are some other parts of the order:

  1. That due to essential efforts in response to the COVID-19 emergency, charges to rated and reimbursable employers’ accounts, as established in Miss. Code Ann. §§ 71-5-351, 71-5-353, 71-5-355, 71-5-357, and 71-5-359, would create an undue burden on Mississippi employers during the COVID-19 emergency. Therefore, any charges to the accounts of both rated and reimbursable employers, that could be assessed for reasons related to COVID-19, for all weeks of unemployment between the period of March 8, 2020, until June 27, 2020, and all associated charges for those weeks (including the collection of Workforce Investment and Training Contributions) shall be waived. Any such charges attributable to both rated and reimbursable employers outside of that time period will be assessed according to existing MDES laws and regulations. Moreover, interest shall not accrue during this period. MDES shall separately account for these expenditures so that the State of Mississippi can seek reimbursement from the federal government. Prior to its expiration on June 27, 2020, MDES has the discretion to reassess this measure and will extend this measure as needed to maintain financial stability.
  1. That due to essential efforts in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the statutorily imposed date for employers to pay contributions established in Miss. Code Ann. §§ 71-5-351, 71-5-357, 71-5-359, and MDES Regulations 600 and 600.01 would create an undue burden on the public during the COVID-19 Emergency. Accordingly, pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. §33-15-11(c)(1), the statutorily imposed date for both rated and reimbursable employers to pay First Quarter 2020 contributions, shall be suspended. The new due date for both rated and reimbursable employers to pay First Quarter 2020 contributions shall be July 31, 2020. This will only apply to the date that First Quarter 2020 Contributions are due and will not affect the timely filing of wage reports. Prior to its expiration on July 31, 2020, MDES has the discretion to reassess this measure and will modify this measure as needed in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
  1. That due to essential efforts in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the statutorily imposed penalties for late reporting and late contribution payments established in Miss. Code Ann. §§ 71-5-135, 71-5-367, 71-5-369, and 71-5-373 would create an undue burden on Mississippi employers during the COVID-19 Emergency. Accordingly, pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. §33-15-11(c)(1), the statutorily imposed penalties for late reporting and late contribution payments shall be suspended from March 8, 2020, until July 31, 2020. Prior to its expiration on July 31, 2020, MDES has the discretion to reassess this measure and will modify this measure as needed in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
  1. That due to essential efforts in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the work registration requirements established in Miss. Code Ann. 71-5-511(a)(i) and MDES Regulation 305.01 would prevent and hinder the expeditious disbursement of vital Unemployment Insurance benefits necessary to cope with the COVID-19 emergency. Accordingly, pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. §33-15-11(c)(1), the work registration requirements shall be suspended from March 8, 2020, until June 27, 2020. Under this measure, individuals will not be required to report in-person. Prior to its expiration on June 27, 2020, MDES has the discretion to reassess this measure and will modify this measure as needed in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
  1. That as the swift return of all employees to the workplace is of vital importance, it is incumbent to remind all Mississippi employers that, pursuant to Section 71-355 (2) (b)(ii) and MDES Regulation 321, an employer must notify MDES in writing within ten (10) days from the date they receive a refusal of an offer of suitable employment. The notice must contain the date and details of the refusal.
  1. That in order for MDES to receive emergency administrative grants under Section 903(h)(2)(A) of the Social Security Act, all employers are required to provide notification of the availability of unemployment compensation to each employee individually at the time of separation of employment.
  1. That due to essential efforts in response to the COVID-19 emergency, the statutorily imposed requirement that MDES determine unemployment eligibility based on the reason for separation for all employers in the base period forward, set forth in Miss. Code Ann. § 71-5-513, would hinder the expeditious disbursement of vital Unemployment Insurance benefits needed to cope with the COVID-19 emergency. Accordingly, pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. § 33-15-11 (c)(1), MDES will determine Unemployment Insurance benefits eligibility based on separation from the employee’s most recent employer, for claims filed from March 8, 2020, until June 27, 2020. Eligibility for Unemployment Insurance benefits will not be affected by prior job separations that come to the attention of MDES based upon claims filed between March 8, 2020, and June 27, 2020. MDES has the discretion to reassess this measure and will modify this measure as needed in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
  1. That any waivers granted by the United States Congress related to the COVID-19 emergency may be adopted and implemented by the State of Mississippi. Moreover, MDES has the express authority to actively seek any waivers that it deems necessary to serve the people of Mississippi in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
  1. That MDES shall have the authority and discretion to interpret and apply its laws in order to effectuate the measures set forth herein and be empowered with the administrative flexibility to carry out this Executive Order pursuant to Miss. Code Ann. §§ 33-13-31 and 71-5-115.
  1. That all departments, commissions, agencies, institutions, and boards of the State of Mississippi, political subdivisions thereof, counties, municipalities and school districts are authorized and directed to cooperate in actions and measures taken in response to COVID-19 during the State of Emergency.

Jon Ross Myers

Jon Ross Myers is the executive editor and publisher of the Mississippi News Network, Mississippi's largest digital only media company. He can be reached at editor@tippahnews.com

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