Christopher Harley was a gig worker when the pandemic hit. PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Department of Employment reported more than 25,000 jobs were lost throughout the state in December. In … Nov. 25, 2020 (Salem, OR)--Today the Oregon Employment Department announced a reduction in extended benefits as a result of Oregon's falling unemployment rate. Unemployment Insurance RELATED | The Oregon Employment Department's priorities going into legislative session. Especially people affected by COVID-19. The OED said the new website will help answer questions and guide people through the claim process. He drove passengers for Uber and Lyft, delivered meals for DoorDash and Grubhub, and dropped off groceries for Instacart and Amazon Flex. This new law did three main things: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Oregon's rate remained lower than the country's, which came in at 6.7% in both November and December. The Oregon Employment Department would not confirm to OPB whether it considers gig workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers to be employees rather than independent contractors. Oregon's unemployment rate increases for the first time in 7 months. Corinna Spencer-Scheurich, director of the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project, doesn’t know the answer. Because of the formula used to replenish the fund, businesses that suffered the greatest layoffs, such as restaurants and gyms, bear some of the biggest tax increases. Researchers with the U.C. The fund pays for benefits when employees get laid off. “It was me.”. But there is further evidence in the court documents themselves. Some ride-hailing drivers who started getting paid PUA were later surprised when the Employment Department switched them to regular benefits. July 10, 2020 (Salem, Ore.) —The Oregon Employment Department launched a new informational website today aimed at improving customer service for the record number of Oregonians applying for and receiving unemployment benefits. By treating many gig workers as employees, the Employment Department is in line with states around the country who have confronted Uber and Lyft with a growing number of fines, laws and lawsuits. And some drivers received regular unemployment benefits even before that memo went out last June. If you intentionally hide or report wrong information, it is fraud. Chat with an employment attorney: (412) 626-5626 or lawyer@lawkm.com . The Oregon Employment Department disagreed. For the first time in seven months Oregon’s unemployment rate increased, according to a new report from the employment department. Meanwhile, many small businesses struggling to survive the pandemic, including restaurants and gyms, have seen their unemployment taxes jump. The Oregon Employment Department has leased space for a new contact center to help process more unemployment claims, according to the department's spokesperson. At least 5,800 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUC) claims are on track to be processed by … The Oregon Employment Department is pleased that Congress has passed an extension of federal benefit programs, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). Latest News. However, more than 85% of employers who pay unemployment taxes in Oregon will see their rates increase in 2021. The frustration felt by people in Oregon who have been unable to receive unemployment benefits led to creativity. NEWS. But she doesn’t discount the possibility. ... Oregon Employment Department. Without an extension of PUA or PEUC, approximately 70,000 Oregonians would have lost a vital safety net after Dec. 26. Wyqued also exhausted her regular unemployment benefits and moved onto an extension program. Around $344 million in such payments have gone to nearly 240,000 people in the state to date, the department reported. So as the economy shut down in March, Harley was relieved to hear help was on the way. The documents included excerpts of a deposition recorded the following October with Lindsi Leahy, the head of the department’s unemployment insurance division. The Oregon Employment Department on Friday started issuing the extra payments, which are funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to a news release. In Oregon, once a person is back on unemployment, penalties and offsets automatically kick in. The Oregon Employment Department has a new site for guiding people through the unemployment … Oregon’s unemployment rose to 6.4% in December from 6.0% in November, according to the state Department of Employment. Wyqued said she spoke with a worker in the Employment Department’s tax unit. Due to the pandemic, Emilie Wyqued wasn't able to continue her regular work as a driver for Uber and Lyft. Try the employment department’s new contact form for long-delayed claims. After all, he was a gig worker when the pandemic hit Oregon in early 2020, and no company had considered him their employee for many years. Gov. Salem Area: (503) 947-1500. Harley, the gig worker who worried about bringing the pandemic home, has now joined the ranks of the long-term unemployed. — The Oregon Employment Department has unveiled a new website to help people through the unemployment process during the pandemic. A manager had an update from the agency’s tax unit. But gig companies such as Uber and Lyft don’t pay unemployment taxes for drivers and delivery people, who they consider independent contractors. Oregon’s unemployment rate climbed to 6.4% in December, up from 6.0% the prior month. The Oregon Employment Department (OED) on Tuesday said claimants may experience a gap in benefits “during the time period when CARES Act … Court documents and interviews show the Oregon Employment Department paid many gig workers traditional benefits from the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund. In the lawsuit, petitioners represented by the Oregon Law Center focused on payment delays. But its director acknowledged people … PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Employment Department is bracing for a second wave of unemployment claims as businesses shut down once again. That's thanks to the new $900 billion COVID relief bill … Because of Oregon’s high unemployment rate during the pandemic, the Department began paying up to 20 weeks of HEB on the week ending July 11, 2020. “And put them on regular unemployment.”. Without an extension of PUA or PEUC, approximately 70,000 Oregonians would have lost a vital safety net after Dec. 26. OPB's critical reporting is made possible by the power of member support. It declined to elaborate on the court filings themselves, citing pending litigation. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 6.7% in both November and December. Congress first approved a $600 weekly unemployment bonus last March. The … Employment in Oregon March 2018 News Release Loading: 4/17/2018: Employment in … The Oregon Employment Department had previously resisted curbs on the payroll taxes that fund jobless benefits. Far more people are in a ‘type of adjudication’ than was previously known, according to Friday court filing. By the end of April, the state began paying her regular unemployment benefits, even though she hadn’t worked a W-2 job in years. FRAUD IS A CRIME and can result in penalties up to and including criminal prosecution. The Oregon Employment Department is expecting a shipment on Monday: 3,000 face masks and roughly 300 face shields. Show full articles without "Continue Reading" button for {0} hours. The Oregon Employment Department relies on a definition in state law to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee. “To this day, it’s still not clear to me why that decision was made,” Harley said, “but it protected myself and my family the last nine months.”. Gerstenfeld said there are about 13,000 unprocessed claims in Oregon. According to the Oregon Employment Department, four major industries each added thousands of jobs: retail trade; transportation, warehousing, and utilities; health care and social assistance; and professional and business services. Leaders decided to streamline. Kate Brown’s statewide Two-Week Freeze. Self-employed people and others who are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits—and who are out of work due to COVID-19—can now get PUA, a new unemployment benefits program (ends March 13, 2021). It also denied a public records request from OPB, citing a law that protects employer privacy. The law outlines several tests for independent contractors. In … the most expensive ballot fight in California’s history, more than $400 million in unemployment payroll taxes, Federal data sheds light on Oregon unemployment delays, For Oregonians facing expiring unemployment benefits, little assured but disruption, Oregon employers could face higher unemployment taxes, Court documents show Oregon’s unemployment backlog bigger than publicly described. Oregon also lost a … Oregon Employment Department says it's waiting on more instructions from the federal government, but that should be coming in the next couple of days. Oregon has paid out more than $2 billion in regular benefits during the pandemic, leaving about $3.8 billion in its trust fund at the start of this year. SALEM, OR (KPTV) - If you're collecting unemployment benefits, you could soon get $300 extra each week. Eastern/Central Oregon/Bend: (541) 388-6207. A COVID-19 outbreak at the Oregon Employment Department's (OED) new Wilsonville office is expected to slow processing of unemployment claims. In Oregon, once a person is back on unemployment, penalties and offsets automatically kick in. The state has a small fraction of the ride-hailing drivers that California does. “My doctor immediately said you shouldn’t be doing this type of work,” said Harley, 53. The Oregon Employment Department said Monday that it has begun paying a $300 weekly unemployment bonus that Congress authorized last month as part of a $900 billion coronavirus relief package. The two companies spent $100 million to pass an initiative allowing them to continue treating workers as independent contractors. Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article. Oregon’s unemployment rate rose last month for the first time since a flood of pandemic layoffs pushed it to a record high in April 2020.. The question is whether the Oregon Employment Department’s decision to treat many gig workers as employees is permanent — and what that means for the future of gig companies, the unemployment insurance trust fund and the many Oregonians who rely on government aid when they lose their jobs. New guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor gives the agency more flexibility to set the definition of “gross earnings” for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims. The employment departments in Oregon and Washington are still waiting for guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on how to implement new federal legislation. For the first time in seven months Oregon’s unemployment rate increased, according to a new report from the employment department. The Oregon Employment Department’s Contact Us form was created to gather all inquiries related to unemployment benefits. “She actually called me and said they’re trying to process as many drivers as possible as employees,” Wyqued said. He was shocked when Oregon paid him regular unemployment benefits. In doing so, it paid him from a state trust fund that about 145,000 employers in Oregon contribute to through payroll taxes. The Oregon Employment Department told KOIN 6 News they’re still waiting for guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on what it will take to implement the new legislation. August 12, 2020 (Salem, Ore.) – Self-employed claimants could get a boost today from the Oregon Employment Department. The move is meant to bolster the trust fund used to pay unemployment benefits. PORTLAND, Ore - A new interim director took over the helm of Oregon's employment department this week, while thousands of Oregonians still wait for their unemployment … The reasons Oregon unemployment claims get held up vary considerably based on individual circumstances. The department now says it’s open to significant changes in light of the unique circumstances created by the pandemic. Shortly after Christopher Harley received his first payment in June, a memo went out at the Oregon Employment Department. It’s not an uncommon time of the year to see a rise in unemployment… For questions about agency news releases, media contacts, and upcoming job fairs. Unemployment Insurance Contact Centers: Portland Area: (503) 292-2057. The program began in Oregon during September and paid out just six weeks of unemployment benefits for jobless Oregonians who already received unemployment benefits this summer. As the main phone number for the Oregon Employment Department … The Oregon Employment Department is pleased that Congress has passed an extension of federal benefit programs, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). As 2020 came to a close, Congress and President Donald Trump agreed to extend federal benefit programs into March. “OED did not issue a global decision about how to treat these employers’ payments to gig workers until June 26, three and a half months after the COVID-19 emergency began,” the lawyers wrote in one motion. READ MORE | Where does the economy stand now, and what's in store for 2021? But about eight months in, Oregon is just now processing that payment. The Oregon Employment Department hopes to have the new system up and running in a week, and it can't come soon enough. PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – The Oregon Employment Department is beginning to pay out what's known as "waiting week" money. Among them: required contributions to state unemployment insurance funds. 'I'm in survival mode': Oregon Employment Department backlogged with 38,000 claims PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Tens of thousands of Oregonians are going on … Officials say the state lost a total of 25,500 jobs over the last month. In Oregon, if you apply for unemployment, you do not get paid for the first week you are eligible for benefits. The Oregon Employment Department would not confirm to OPB whether it considers gig workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers to be employees rather than independent contractors. ... New … She counts herself lucky. Oregon has fielded more than 790,000 claims for regular unemployment benefits and pandemic-specific jobless assistance since the middle of March, an unprecedented surge that resulted in … She confirmed that, prior to June, the tax unit had tried to contact Uber or Lyft every single time a driver filed for PUA. The benefits went out, but payroll taxes hadn’t gone in. But Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was designed to be temporary. Sign up to get important news and culture from around the Northwest, delivered to your inbox six days a week. He’s been looking for other work for the last nine months, with no luck. He bounced between those apps, cycling through numerous travelers, restaurants, grocery stores and apartment buildings each day. Within leisure and hospitality, full-service restaurants cut 17,600 jobs in December. TOLL FREE: (877) 345-3484 He exhausted his regular unemployment benefits and the first round of a federal extension program. Employment Department officials say Oregon is in far better shape than many other states, some of whom have had to borrow money to prop up their trust funds. SALEM — The Oregon Employment Department reported unemployment across the state rose to 6.4% in December from 6.0% the month before. PORTLAND, Ore. 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