St. Thomas 𑁋 The Virgin Islands Department of Labor has announced guidance on how local business owners and companies with employees operating in the U.S. Virgin Islands must qualify for The Families First Coronavirus Response Act passed by Congress last week.
The act was created to provide funding for free coronavirus testing, 14-day paid leave for American workers affected by the pandemic, and increased funding for food stamps. The U.S. Senate passed the legislation on March 18, 2020, and President Trump signed the bill into law later that day. Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett also held a press conference via telephone to discuss how the bill would impact the U.S. Virgin Islands’ healthcare system and local economy.
The VI Department of Labor made note of a portion of the federal legislation, section Division D: Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization Act, Public Law (Pub. L) 116-127 and the Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 13-20 which outlines the model language that employers should use when notifying workers about separation and availability of Unemployment Benefits.
The department posted an update on its website that said the following example is guidance on how the employer should transmit information to the individual(s) affected by downsizing:
Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits are available to workers who are unemployed and who meet the requirements of state UI eligibility laws. You may file a UI claim in the first week that employment stops or work hours are reduced.
For assistance or more information about filing a UI claim, call St. Croix District at (340) 713- 3424 or contact the St. Thomas District at (340) 715-5724 or visit www.vidol.gov, to reach the VI Department of Labor and file an application for Unemployment Benefits.
You will need to provide the state UI agency with the following information in order for the state to process your claim:
- Your full legal name
- Your Social Security Number
- Your authorization to work (if you are not a US Citizen or resident.)
To file a UI claim remotely:
- St. Croix District at (340) 713- 3424
- or contact the St. Thomas District at (340) 715-5724.
- To file a UI claim online, visit: www.vidol.gov.
- If you have questions about the status of your UI claim, you can call the VI Department of Labor or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unemployment Insurance Reminders:
Any employer that needs to reduce hours, furlough, layoff, or reduced staff hours, the Virgin Islands Department of Labor is requesting that employers do the following:
- Send a letter to the Unemployment Insurance Division that includes the names of the affected employees in advance of the reduction of hours to twenty (20) a week, discharge or layoff.
- You must also contact the Department of Labor directly at the following numbers to gain information on services that can be provided for affected individuals:
- ·St. Thomas 340-776-3700 at the following extensions: 2094 or 2035
- St. Croix 340-773-1994 at the following extensions: 2152 or 2154
During the COVID-19 State of Emergency, the Virgin Islands Department of Labor is urging businesses to fulfill legal requirements by giving advance notice to workers when considering a reduction in hours, layoff, or furlough. Employers should also utilize the model language that the department has shared when notifying workers about separation and availability of Unemployment Benefits.