COVID-19 Information for Employers

Below are frequently asked questions and information related to COVID-19 and unemployment insurance for employers. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

Am I able to file unemployment benefits on behalf of my employees who may be affected by COVID-19?

Am I able to file unemployment benefits on behalf of my employees who may be affected by COVID-19?

An attached claim is a claim filed by an employer on behalf of an employee who has been temporarily laid off or who has worked less than 60% of their customary scheduled full-time hours. Employers who wish to file attached claims for employees must meet the requirements of employment security law.

Employers who wish to file for their employees must:

  • Have a positive DES Employer Account balance
  • Pre-pay for all weeks filed on behalf of employees
  • Only file an Attached Claim one time per year
  • Only file for six weeks, and then employees must file UI Claims for themselves
Will I receive relief of benefit charges for claims related to COVID-19?

Will I receive relief of benefit charges for claims related to COVID-19?

Yes. The Department of Commerce Division of Employment Security has been directed to not allocate charges to employers’ accounts for individuals who are paid benefits for reasons related to COVID-19. Employers responding to requests for separation information should indicate that the separation was due to COVID-19.

Will a business owner who is also paid a salary be eligible for unemployment insurance?

Will a business owner who is also paid a salary be eligible for unemployment insurance?

A business owner required to pay unemployment insurance taxes for him/herself may be eligible.

Are independent contractors eligible?

Are independent contractors eligible?

Independent contractors and self-employed workers are not typically eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. However, these individuals may qualify for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance available as a result of COVID-19. The Division of Employment Security is awaiting guidance from the federal government to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. This website will be updated as more information becomes available.

Can my employees file a claim due to COVID-19?

Can my employees file a claim due to COVID-19?

Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 (lay off or reduction in hours) may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. The fastest most efficient way is to visit the DES website at des.nc.gov or contact Customer Call Center (888.737.0259) to file a claim.

If I have employees working intermittently, what should they do when filing for unemployment insurance benefits?

If I have employees working intermittently, what should they do when filing for unemployment insurance benefits?

If you have employees working intermittently (for example, one week on, one week off), they must report their gross earnings for the week in which they did the work, not the week in which they were paid, when filing for unemployment benefits.

Will my employees have to look for work?

Will my employees have to look for work?

Work search requirements are waived for claimants filing as a direct result of COVID-19. Those claimants filing for reasons other than COVID-19 are still required to search for work with at least three employer contacts each week they intend to receive unemployment insurance benefits. 

What is the maximum benefit amount for individuals?

What is the maximum benefit amount for individuals?

Benefits currently remain at a maximum of $350.00/week for 12 weeks.

What effect do vacation and severance weeks have on eligibility for benefits?

What effect do vacation and severance weeks have on eligibility for benefits?

Any worker who receives severance pay is considered to be attached to that employer's payroll during that time and not eligible for UI benefits.

Paid Time Off (Vacation and/or Sick Pay) will not be considered separation pay if the payment was issued as a result of the employer's written policy established prior to your separation. Workers receiving Paid Time Off (Vacation and/or Sick Pay) under these conditions will not be disqualified from receiving benefits.