DLI Issues Guidance To Montanans Returning To Work
May 6, 2020
HELENA – The Montana Department of Labor & Industry today is issuing guidance to Montanans returning to work during Phase One of the reopening of Montana’s economy.
“We at the Department of Labor & Industry have been intently focused on getting benefits to the Montanans who have had their employment affected by COVID-19,” Acting Commissioner Brenda Nordlund said. “While we continue to focus on that mission, we also know that many workers and businesses are reopening and returning to work.”
DLI has launched a new page on its COVID-19 website focused on providing information to Montana employers and employees on the phased reopening of Montana’s economy at dli.mt.gov/return-to-work. The new page offers information for businesses and workers on the Governor’s reopening directive, health and safety, and recruitment and job search tools.
“Returning to work over the coming weeks and months will involve phases and complexities. DLI is here to help businesses and workers navigate this new environment,” Nordlund said. “We are all eager to return to a sense of normalcy, and as we begin that process, new questions are emerging related to employees being called back to work.”
Returning to work and Unemployment Insurance (UI)
DLI reminds Montanans that employees must have a specified reason for refusing an offer to return to work to remain eligible for unemployment benefits.
“If you have a reason that is related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as you need to care for a child who is unable to attend school or their daycare due to a closure, you may continue to be eligible for benefits,” Nordlund said.
If an employee refuses available work due to a non-COVID-19 circumstance, such as the amount of benefits they are receiving through unemployment is larger than their former wages, they may not continue to receive UI benefits. Continuing to file for UI when work is available may constitute fraud. For more information on UI fraud, visit uid.dli.mt.gov/report-fraud.
If an individual returns to work, but with reduced hours or wages, they may still be eligible for partial UI benefits.
“As outlined in the Governor’s directive, employers are obligated to accommodate their employees and ensure a safe working environment,” Nordlund said. “We at DLI can assist you with information on workplace safety and health.”
DLI continues to encourage anyone who believes they may be eligible for UI to file a claim online at MontanaWorks.gov, or at mtpua.mt.gov for those that fall under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance eligibility guidelines. Those with technical, eligibility or benefits questions are encouraged to view the COVID-19 resource website at dli.mt.gov/covid-19. A variety of information for both Montana workers and employers are available, in addition to resources to help claimants navigate the unemployment process.