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Coronavirus: Leave and Unemployment

Help for Workers Who Take Leave or are Laid Off

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Congress has passed legislation strenghtening unemployment insurance benefits and expanding access to emergency paid sick leave and family leave to protect workers' financial security and slow the spread of the virus. Click here for a full fact sheet.


Unemployment: In addition to providing $1 billion to help state unemployment offices handle the new influx of claims and expand their unemployment insurance coverage to as many people as possible under state law, Congress has now greatly strengthened unemployment benefits under the recently-passed CARES Act. This includes:

  • An extra $600 per week through July 25
  • An additional 13 weeks of federally-funded benefits
  • Self-employed Americans are now eligible

The Maryland Department of Labor has launched the new BEACON one-stop application for Marylanders to file claims for all benefit types including the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program entirely online. The PUA program is available for those who are self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, sole proprietors, or have insufficient work history. These individuals who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance (UI) and who cannot work due to COVID-19 are now eligible to apply for a maximum of 39 weeks of benefits, effective January 27, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

After submitting an online application, eligible claimants will receive their benefits retroactive to their earliest date of eligibility. Here is how to file your unemployment claim:

  • Visit MDunemployment.com and select “Apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits” in the left hand column. This will take you to the BEACON one-stop application page.
  • The first time that you visit the application, you will need to activate your account by providing your social security number and choosing a Username and password. If you have previously applied for UI benefits in Maryland, you will need to have your UI application PIN available to validate your identity.
  • Once you have activated your account, you will be able to file your claim.

If you are determined to be eligible for unemployment benefits, you will automatically receive an additional $600 per week from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The FPUC program applies to benefit payments from March 29th to July 25th. Payment of the $600 will be retroactive to the earliest date of your eligibility within that time period. For additional information, please visit our website at MDunemployment.com.

The Maryland Department of Labor is asking Marylanders to email questions about unemployment insurance, including the status of their applications, to ui.inquiry@maryland.gov.

Paid Leave: Employees at companies with fewer than 500 employees as well as local, state and federal government employees are eligible, as are employees who work under a multiemployer collective agreement whose employees pay into a multiemployer plan.

Full-time workers will receive two weeks of full paid time off (up to $511 per day) to self-quarantine, seek a diagnosis or receive treatment for COVID-19. They will receive two weeks paid time off at two-thirds of their regular pay (up to $200 per day) to care for a family member or to care for a child whose school has closed or if their child care provider is unavailable. Part-time employees will receive pay for the typical number of hours they work in a 2-week period for both of these conditions.

Employers will initially front the cost of the leave but will be fully reimbursed by the federal government within three months in the form of a tax credit. The reimbursement will cover both the wages paid and the employer's contribution to employee health insurance premiums during the period of leave.

Family Leave: Employees at companies with fewer than 500 employees as well as local, state and federal government employees are eligible, as are employees who work under a multiemployer collective agreement whose employees pay into a multiemployer plan.

Full-time and part-time employees are entitled to 12 weeks of leave to take care of their children in the event of a school closure or their child care provider is unavailable. This includes two weeks of unpaid leave followed by 10 weeks of paid leave. Employees may elect or be required to overlap the inital two weeks of unpaid leave with two weeks of other paid leave they have available. Employees will receive a benefit from their employers that will be no less than two-thirds of the employee's usual pay.

Employers will initially front the cost of the leave but will be fully reimbursed by the federal government within three months in the form of a tax credit. The reimbursement will cover both the wages paid and the employer's contribution to employee health insurance premiums during the period of leave.