What to do if you lose a job during pandemic as COVID cases rise

Posted at 3:00 AM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-09 06:45:26-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — With COVID numbers on the rise, talk of looming closures or another shutdown, there are concerns now about employment.

There are things you can do right now, to not only prepare, but perhaps come out stronger post-pandemic.

Human resources experts say it's very important you take a hard look at what you do. Will you be furloughed? Will there be layoffs? Can you come up with a creative solution-- to continue working-- despite a possible shutdown of non-essential businesses?

So much of this starts with a conversation with your employer.

"Have those conversations, be transparent, understand what they're going to be doing and if they are making a decision, ask what the affect is on you," said Kristen Russo, HR Operations Manager at Alcott HR. "Are you being furloughed? are you going to be able to use accrued time off during that time that you may be temporarily without a job."

Job sharing might also be a good option for you. It allows you to work a couple days a week--while someone else does the same job--picking up the other days. This might be beneficial for you as a parent, dealing with remote learning.

If you're laid off and you're looking to get unemployment help, you need to consider your past, when it comes to filing for unemployment.

"Are you going to be eligible for unemployment," questioned Russo. "Do your research ahead of time. Have you filed an unemployment claim previously? There are limits on the number of weeks you can actually have unemployment."

You can use New York State's Unemployment Calculator to see how much you'd be eligible for.

If you're ineligible-- or simply looking to be paid for your accrued time-- you should also ask your employer about benefits packages. You need to Understand what's included in a severance if one is offered.

If you think you're going to need unemployment help, you need to prepare to file as soon as you can. That means having all your documents ready to go. You'll need proof of income, your social security number, driver's license number and employer information.

"What we're finding is that it takes at least 2-3 weeks for a claim to be processed in order to get your payment," Russo said. "If you are someone who is going to be reliant on that unemployment payment, then you want to get your information in early."

Any of that missing data could delay unemployment payments-- coming from the government.