Legal Alert

Utah: Unemployment Compensation Update

by the Labor and Employment Group
April 20, 2020

The Utah Department of Workforce Services (Department) has released a FAQ regarding the impact of COVID-19 on unemployment insurance for Utahans.

In general, Utahans are eligible for unemployment if they

  • have been connected to the workforce for long enough to meet monetary eligibility rules (usually at least five quarters);
  • are able and available for suitable employment; and
  • were laid off through no fault of their own.

In light of COVID-19, the Department has added that Utahans should apply, and may be eligible, in the following circumstances:

  • When an employee has been furloughed (i.e. employer has temporarily ceased operations with the expectation its employees will return to work)
  • When an employee is quarantined but not showing symptoms and will return to work
  • When an employee is able and available (not showing any symptoms of COVID-19), but is unable to go to work because the employee’s place of employment has been quarantined
  • When an employee was full time and has had his or her hours reduced as a result of COVID-19

As to the interaction of the federal CARES Act and unemployment insurance benefits offered by the State of Utah, the Department has indicated that if Utahans have applied for, or are currently receiving unemployment benefits, they do NOT need to apply again to access the $600 increase in traditional unemployment benefits, or the 13-week extension of benefits.

The Department also has clarified that if a Utahan is ineligible for traditional unemployment, he or she should file for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefit. The Department website states that this benefits applies to those who

  • are self-employed or working in the gig economy;
  • lack sufficient work history to qualify for traditional unemployment benefits;
  • are employed by an organization exempt from unemployment taxes, such as religious institutions, or
  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have a member of their household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Otherwise, the Department has clarified that certain Utahans may not qualify for typical unemployment benefits due to COVID-19, including those individuals who are on paid leave, as they are still considered employed, and those who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and thus are not “able and available” for work.

The one-week waiting period for all claims continues to be in effect.

Utahans are encouraged to apply online at

Copyright © 2020 by Ballard Spahr LLP.
(No claim to original U.S. government material.)

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This alert is a periodic publication of Ballard Spahr LLP and is intended to notify recipients of new developments in the law. It should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own attorney concerning your situation and specific legal questions you have.

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