In general, you are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program if you have lost employment and income because of one of the COVID-related reasons identified by federal law, and if you are not currently eligible for regular unemployment compensation.
If you have reduced your work hours resulting in a reduction in pay or had to leave work because of childcare needs directly related to COVID-19, you may be eligible for PUA.
This program provides unemployment compensation benefits to workers who lose income or employment because they are the primary caregiver to a child whose school or childcare provider has closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that school or childcare provider is required for them to work.
To learn more about PUA eligibility and how to apply, visit L&I's PUA webpage.
Please note that the requirement that employers provide paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) expired on Dec. 31, 2020.
Yes. If the physical location where your child received instruction or childcare is now closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school or childcare facility is “closed” for purposes of PUA eligibility.
Generally, you are NOT eligible for benefits if your child's school or childcare factility is open and you choose to keep them at home. However, if your child has an underlying condition and a medical professional has certified that he or she must isolate due to COVID-19, or if your child’s school is not following safety guidelines and they have failed to adjust their actions to meet the minimum Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requirements in response to your concerns, you may be eligible for PUA.
You may qualify for PUA if you are the "primary caregiver" of a child who is at home due to a forced school closure that directly results from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
You have "primary caregiving responsibility" for a child in your household if you are required to remain at home to care for the child and provision of care to the child requires such ongoing and constant attention that it is not possible to perform your customary work functions at home. For example, if your employer allows you to telework and you are caring for a more mature child who is able to care for him or herself for much of the day, you likely would not qualify for PUA because you are still able to work.
Additionally, PUA is available only when a child is home because of a school closure that is a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.
When your child's school is normally closed for regularly-scheduled school closures, such as summer, spring break, or holiday recess, you will not be eligible for PUA during those times and should rely on your customary summer arrangements for caring for children. If, however, you rely on a childcare or other facility to provide care for your child during regularly scheduled school closures and that facility is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, you may continue to qualify for PUA. Similarly, if there is some other reason under which you qualify for PUA, you will continue to be eligible to receive benefits.
The federal paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave programs created by the Congress and signed by the President as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) have expired and are no longer available.
If your employer permits teleworking but you are unable to perform those teleworking tasks or work the required teleworking hours because you need to care for your child whose school or childcare facility is closed or a child care provider is unavailable because of COVID-19 related reasons and the childcare is required for you to work, you may be eligible for PUA.
If you are able to telework while caring for your child, you are not eligible for PUA.