The New York Department of Labor provides answers to questions about returning to work and unemployment insurance in a recently published FAQ, RETURNING TO WORK AND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE
MY FORMER EMPLOYER HAS OFFERED ME MY OLD JOB BACK. DO I HAVE TO ACCEPT IT?
Typically, yes. In most cases, the law requires unemployed New Yorkers who are offered their previous job back to accept the employment offer, regardless of if they are receiving traditional unemployment insurance (UI) or the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). If an unemployed individual turns down a job offer, they may no longer be eligible for unemployment benefits, unless they had good cause to turn down the job.
I WENT TO MY JOB AND WAS TOLD I HAD TO PROVIDE MY OWN MASK. DO I?
According to Executive Order 202.16, employers in New York State must provide face coverings to employees, at no cost to the employee, who interact with the public. So, if you interact with members of the public as part of your job, your employer has to provide a mask, but if you don’t interact with the public, they don’t need to. You must still wear a mask if you cannot maintain six feet of social distance from other individuals. If your employer is violating this order, you should file a complaint with the Department of Labor at https://labor.ny.gov/covidcomplaint.
Download RETURNING TO WORK AND UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE for all published questions and answers.
In recent weeks, the New York State Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance filing system has faced an unprecedented increase in volume – including a 16,000% increase in phone calls and a nearly 900% increase in web traffic, compared to a typical week. In order to address this surge, the Department of Labor has:
•Implemented a new, more efficient filing system based on the first letter of the applicant’s last name (alphabetical order):
◦A – F : Monday
◦G – N : Tuesday
◦O – Z : Wednesday
◦Missed your day: Thursday through Saturday
•Streamlined the claims process, automating additional processes and reducing the situations in which a filer has to call and speak with a representative;
•Dedicated 700 staff to the Department of Labor’s unemployment insurance Telephone Claim Center, with plans to bring hundreds of additional staff on board;
•Extended the Telephone Claim Center’s hours, including expanding service to Saturdays:
◦Monday through Thursday, 8:00 AM to 7:30 PM
◦Friday, 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM
◦Saturdays, 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM
•Added over 20 additional servers to support the website’s capacity; and
•Begun working with major technology companies to further improve website and call center capacity and functionality.
Yesterday, Governor Cuomo also announced the launch of a new PSA that provides information on how to apply for unemployment benefits and reassures New Yorkers if their unemployment filing is delayed, they will still receive full unemployment benefits. The PSA is also available with Spanish subtitles here .The New York State Department of Labor is dedicated to ensuring that every New Yorker who is entitled to UI benefits will receive all benefits due. New Yorkers seeking to file an unemployment insurance claim can visit labor.ny.gov or call the Telephone Claim Center at (888) 209-8124. Below are some resources that will assist New Yorkers in filing their claims:
If you are self-employed, you may now file for Unemployment Insurance benefits online. See the self-employed-ui-guide.