(Dec. 28, 2020)
The City of Eugene is aware that the responses to concerns over the COVID-19 virus is affecting many aspects of life for area workers.
The City is collaborating with economic development partners, including Lane County, the Oregon Employment Department, Lane Workforce Partnership, the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Development Center at Lane Community College, and Business Oregon, to provide information and assistance to area workers.
- Programs to Assist Agricultural Workers
- Oregon Worker Quarantine Fund: Provides up to two weeks of financial relief to agricultural workers 18 and older, regardless of immigration status. Learn more about the Oregon Worker Quarantine Fund including eligibility and application process.
- Community Partners and Outreach – Protecting Oregon Farmworkers Program: Provides funding for community partners with demonstrated experience serving migrant and seasonal farmworkers to conduct field education and outreach. The program will also support community partners in engagement activities aimed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and provide agricultural workers with information on housing, transportation, the Quarantine Fund, and other wraparound services developed in response to the pandemic. Learn more about the Community Partners Outreach Program.
- Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Assistance Program for Self-employed, Contract and Gig Workers
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program is open and accepting applications. Self-employed, contract, and gig workers not eligible for regular unemployment benefits can file for unemployment insurance benefits through this program.
- New Statewide Eviction Moratorium
There is a new statewide eviction moratorium (HB 4401) that will last until June 30, 2021. This means that, with limited exceptions, landlords cannot evict renters for nonpayment or without cause until July of 2021.
The protections for renters under the new statewide moratorium are not automatic! To be protected from eviction for nonpayment after December 31, 2020, renters must fill out and sign a sworn declaration of financial hardship and give it to their landlords in order to be protected from eviction. Oregon Law Center has shared a version of this declaration and answers to frequently asked questions. After Jan. 1, 2021, the declaration will be posted on the Oregon Judicial Department’s website.
- Unemployment Insurance Benefits
The Oregon Employment Department provides unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to most workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. To get benefits, workers must meet some requirements. The Employment Department provides updated information specific to COVID-19 issues and unemployment insurance.
- Alternatives for Employers and Workers Facing a Layoff Situation
Work Share provides an alternative for employers and workers who may be facing the prospect of a layoff situation. With Work Share, instead of reducing staff, an employer reduces the hours of work for a group of workers. Partial unemployment insurance benefits are then paid to supplement workers’ reduced wages. Employees cannot apply for Work Share, employers must be the applicant. However, as an employee, you can bring the program to the attention of your employer.
- Support Offered by Lane County Legal Aid Office at the Oregon Law Center
The Lane County Legal Aid Office of the Oregon Law Center (OLC) serves the low-income community throughout Lane County. If you believe you should receive unemployment insurance, but you are denied due to a disqualification, OLC may be able to provide information or representation at a hearing to protect your rights. OLC also takes cases involving housing, obtaining protective orders for victims of domestic violence, issues with government benefits, and motions to set aside criminal convictions. At this time, OLC is only accepting phone intakes. Call 541-485-1017 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Callers should be prepared to leave a call back number.
- National Employment Law Project
The National Employment Law Project website has resources to support workers through the COVID-19 pandemic, including information about worker health, fact sheets, immigrant workers’ eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance, and unemployment provisions in the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.