You can apply for unemployment benefits if you have been laid off or had your hours reduced due to COVID-19. It will take diligence and patience to apply for and receive the benefits you will need to navigate the crisis. As of November 1, 2020, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will require all workers to complete the work search forms on a weekly basis to maintain eligibility for unemployment benefits.
Information and answers to commonly asked questions are available here.
Applying online is likely your best and most likely to succeed option. You can apply online here.
If the main site is down, try this specific link to register online and apply for benefits: Unemployment Benefit Services.
The telephone number to apply is 800-939-6631. TWC’s Tele-Center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Central Time, Monday through Friday.
If you apply for benefits and believe you have been wrongfully denied, it is critical to meet the deadlines and follow the instructions to file an appeal in the notice you receive from the TWC. If you need help appealing denied benefits or have other legal questions about your own individual eligibility for unemployment, you can go to Find A Lawyer and choose “Unemployment Compensation” in the practice area field to find an attorney who can assist you.
Pay Requirements for Work Performed at Home, Part-Time Work, and/or Overtime Hours
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires many, but not all, employers to pay at least the minimum wage for all hours a non-exempt employee works and overtime pay for working over 40 hours per week, regardless of whether the employee works those hours on the job or at home. This law can also provide protection for salaried employees who are either misclassified or who have their salary docked or reduced for not working “full-time” or for working at home.
The Department of Labor provides answers to some common FLSA COVID-19 related questions here. We can help answer any questions specific to your situation and determine if you have a case against an employer who refuses to follow the law.
Accommodations for Disabled and Immuno-suppressed Employees
If your employer has more than 15 employees, you can request reasonable accommodations to protect yourself from COVID-19 if you have a disability that puts you at a high risk and/or your doctor has advised that you take certain precautions due to your disability. An employer does not have to provide accommodations that would pose an undue hardship to the business. It can be difficult to know when an accommodation is legally required and reasonable versus when an accommodation can be denied because it poses an undue hardship. The employee and employer are, however, always required to work together in good faith to explore and talk about possible accommodations and the employee’s individual disability.
If your employer refuses to negotiate reasonable accommodations, our attorney can help. Our goal is to protect both your employment and your physical safety. We are familiar with what the law requires and can fight to ensure your rights are protected when discussing how to return to work during COVID-19.
Family and Medical Leave Act Discrimination & Retaliation
Employers who are covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act cannot discriminate or retaliate against workers for taking Family and Medical Leave. If you need advice about taking Family Medical Leave or retaliation you have experienced after taking Family Medical Leave, our firm will be happy to assist you.
Helping You Access the Resources You Need
While the state and federal government have relaxed many requirements surrounding government benefits in light of the pandemic, it can still be challenging to efficiently procure the support you need. At Hommel Law Firm, we are committed to helping our clients access resources for Tyler employees during the COVID-19 crisis. Whether you need assistance appealing an unemployment benefit denial, assistance in negotiating accommodations to your disability, or fighting retaliation as a result of your lawful use of the Family and Medical Leave Act, Hommel Law Firm is prepared to help you overcome any challenge and achieve a positive outcome in your case.
If you are experiencing any difficulties involving COVID-19 assistance or resources, do not hesitate to submit your case or call (903) 412-3788.
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