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Help with unemployment

Does anyone have experience with unemployment? Specifically for restaurant staff that has been laid off this week? Yes, I have tried contacting the office which is impossible right now.

To receive benefits you must prove you are actively looking for work. The restaurant industry is entirely closed, how on earth can any of us look for work?

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Keep a roster of 3 companies/people you reach out to (eg, job postings and they don't necessarily have to be restaurant related but instead something for which you could reasonably be a decent fit, such as customer service, customer success, hotel jobs, airlines, call center, public facing, etc): https://www.mass.gov/guides/your-rights-and-responsibilities-as-a-claimant

It's rare but not impossible they audit this...

Good luck to all of you!!

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This^ And once you're on it, you have to prove an attempt to find a job on 3 different days per week. Which is basically just a log you fill out when you make your claim each week, and from my experience it's an honor system kind of thing. Something as simple as a phone call or searching Indeed counts, too.

There was also a requirement to attend an info session and workshop through MassHire, and meet with a caseworker. Not sure how they'll handle that now, assuming video conference and phone calls?

I went through a short stint a few years ago after a position was eliminated and it wasn't too bad in terms of process. Best of luck, I hope it comes together quickly for you.

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The "find a job" is a very loose requirement, HOWEVER.. they do spot check filers from time to time, so don't be lazy and not look. And its a 3 job related contacts a week. So if you applied at Dunkin Donuts but you're an unemployed Disc Jockey, it still counts! Just keep a log of who you contact in a sheet, just in case.

I did get selected to do "classes" at one point. They are easy and some are informative if you're kinda new to job searching. But they fill up fast, and there isn't many of them (and are still a requirement)

I think alot of this stuff is going to be waived like they did after 9/11 ...

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I believe networking, or even going into a Business and asking if they’re hiring counts as looking for work.
Realistically, you can assume that at least some people don’t put too much detail in the logs and just use unemployment as paid vacation depending on their economic situation.

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I used to have to open and reopen claims all the time years ago.
It can be tough but if you're eligible you'll eventually get your money.
Not sure how compensation works for servers/ tipped staff but hopefully OK.
In these times I wouldn't expect it soon unfortunately. Bureaucracy moves slow.
BTW, the staff and the whole process is very worker-friendly. you might find a few grumps or lazy dogs but I dealt with dozens of them over the years and if you politely interact with them they'll treat you right.
And mistakes are made sometimes so if it doesn't seem right followup with someone else.
Best of luck.

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Not sure that you need to submit the proof - given the recent astronomical unemployment among the restaurant and service industries, it seems highly unlikely that the state will reject your application for not having proof. (At the very least, you can rest assured that such a rejection, if made public, would enrage the majority of MA politicians and inspire rapid legislative action and/or result in some strings pulled.)

Alternatively, you can "look for work" in other industries as well - eg. Amazon is hiring people to work in their fulfillment warehouses. Applying to those job openings would count, even if you might not have the necessary experience, etc.

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It sounds like you're trying to help others. You might print a couple of pages from Mass. Gov and hand them out. They'll need internet access and create an account.
The site mentions there is a Covid-19 specific handbook.
They highlight start the process as soon as possible. As you can imagine, there's a lot of people trying to start the process. I googled Start Massachusetts Unemployment process to start.

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I've collected unemployment several times over my long working life. I wouldn't worry about the "actively looking for work" part. They just want to know people are making an honest effort. They give you a form to fill out with three things you did in each pay period to look for work. It could be as simple as checking websites for available positions. It could be checking labor market information or even networking with friend and business acquaintances. It doesn't have to be in your current field. I'm not even sure everybody gets the form to fill out. Just a percentage of people. Take heart. Once you get through all the red tape of signing up things proceed very smoothly.

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Noooooo. I once new I was going back to work and checked no I didn't look.
That really flags the computers and causes chaos for you.
Always say you looked.

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By filling out the weekly log n listing your online job searches, pretty simple really.

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Need to be looking for restaurant work, we dont have a caste system.

However if you make mostly cash tips and have failed to report them like most, your weekly unemployment will be very small as you haven't paid taxes on your tips. Hence you're under reporting you income.

And your unemployment amount is based on income.

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Think this is a little out of date now since we all rarely pay cash.

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This was 20 years ago — got a horse shot out from under me in the dotcom crash — things might have changed, but nobody ever asked any questions about my job seeking activities. Just keep a log of all relevant activities such as updating your resume, checking the job listings, etc.

Best of luck to you

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The log is online now and the checks are direct deposit. But maybe you can still do it with a paper log,

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Mark down every phonecall and inquiry. Doesn't have to be an application.

Note that stores are hiring people right now - my bartender cousin got laid off but was very quickly picked up to pick and pack for a grocery store that does the online order with parking lot pickup. Less money, but more than unemployment. Probably won't last for good, but will pay the bills until the bar reopens.

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News media has all the information on line, 70,000 have already applied and it's direct deposit do you get it without waiting the extra week.
This on line

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My 2 cents. What everyone else said is correct. But I also would not worry yourself a lot this week. Relax. Take a breath.

You should of course start on your resume and job search, but I don't think there is a huge need the do so in the very first minutes you were laid off. Especially while the crisis is unfolding and things are grinding to a halt.

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maybe they have bills that need paying. not everybody has a comfortable cushion.

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Sorry, but “take a breather and wait before filing for unemployment” is terrible advice. You can’t collect unemployment until you file and they don’t pay out for any time before filing. You need to submit a claim the first week you are no longer working, and then again every subsequent week. As others have said, keep a simple log and fill out the form as required.

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The mass.gov Unemployment Insurance website has updated policies to deal with COVID-19, and it says the "worksearch requirements will be interpreted to appropriately permit claimants affected by COVID-19 to collect benefits." Here is a link to the page: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-covid-19-unemployment-in...

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You'll also see on the website that they recommend filing online right now if you can. They will staff up the call center, but naturally they are over capacity because of the number of new claims this week.

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Every week, you have to affirm that you were engaged in looking for employment for at least three days, and describe what they were. The phone option is easier and faster. The website is wonky and you can easily make a mistake. Phone is easier.

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I applied for all sorts of things. The jobs do not have to relate to you current occupation at all. The unemployment people are pretty helpful with resumes as well.

Good luck to all of you who must look for a job now.

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You just write down you've applied for certain jobs online. You can even say you applied for security jobs. They dont care as long as you attempted to try.

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Is it common for restaurants to have contributed to the unemployment fund? Are staff usually eligible? As a self-proprietor, I never contributed and was never able to collect.

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Thank you all for your info! many of us have never dealt with the unemployment system before. It is nice to have advice from people who have navigated it.
FYI I have also reached out to some elected officials and I'd like to give a shout out to Lydia Edwards and her team!! They have answered some questions, had updated info for me and coworkers and they responded quickly!!!

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Sorry to hear you have been impacted. Glad your city councilor's office was helpful...you might try your State representative, if you need additional assistance.

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I work for a university and every year we have summer break, we file unemployment. It can be very overwhelming but it’s not as hard as it looks. You need your:
Start date
End date
Return to work date ( I have until June) for now.
Job position
Employer name of company
And your laid off is your reason for applying
Once unemployment sends the employers/company the wages you receive they will then continue to process the application.

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I have a prospective termination date of April 30. So I haven't applied yet, because my employer will not notify the state until the first week in May.

Meanwhile, I want to bank what I can without jeopardizing the full boat of UI benefits that I am lined up for, starting in May.

What happens to my UI benefits if I take a part time job between now and when my current full time employer reports me as terminated?

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Make sure you file every week. It will take a couple weeks for approval but when it is approved, you will get back pay. Make sure you defer or negotiate any loan payments you are liable for. The main thing that helped me is to keep a routine. My job 9 to 5 was to find a job. I also tried to get outside and socialize (which might be tough nowadays). Hospitals are hiring clinical and nonclinical positions. Good luck and please know that none of this is your fault or a judgment on your worth.

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Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update 3/19/20 Questions and Answers about Unemployment Insurance (UI)
You should contact the Department of Unemployment and apply for unemployment insurance (UI) right away if:
· Your employer has shut down because of the coronavirus.
· Your employer has reduced your hours of work (for any reason, including the coronavirus).
· Your employer has temporarily laid you off and said you can return when business picks up.
· You have been quarantined by a medical professional or by government order, and your employer has either (1) told you to return after the period of quarantine or (2) has not told you anything.
· You have been told to self-quarantine by your employer, medical professional or government order.
· You have to be home to care for a family or household member who has been quarantined or who is sick.
· You left work because you reasonably believe that you have a risk of exposure or infection and have self-quarantined.
· You have left work because your child’s school or child care center has closed.
If you’re approved for UI and it’s possible that you’ll return to your work after the coronavirus pandemic is lessening, it’s important to stay in touch with your employer so that you are meeting the UI requirement to search for work. Otherwise, if you are out of work due to a shutdown, layoff or slow-down, you need to be looking for work. You can look for work online or by other means.
Work search requirements do not apply if: you or a family or household member has been quarantined, you have self-quarantined, or you are caring for a child whose school or child care center is closed, or whose child care provider is unavailable. You do not need to provide medical documentation.
If you miss a UI deadline and the coronavirus or its effects is the reason you missed the deadline, you will be excused for missing the deadline. However, it is very important to pay attention to all communications from the Department of Unemployment Assistance to avoid any problems or delays in getting UI.
How to apply for UI?
You can file a claim with the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA)’s UI Online at www.mass.gov/lwd/unemployment-insur/claimants. UI Online is available daily from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Applying through UI Online is the fastest way to get UI benefits. UI Online is an English-only system.
If you have trouble completing the application online, you can ask for help by filling out this form: https://www.mass.gov/…/covid-19-department-of-unemployment-….
For more information and updates about UI and COVID-19, see: https://www.mass.gov/…/department-of-unemployment-assistance
You can apply by telephone by calling 617-626-6800 or 877-626-6800 outside the 617 area code. There are dedicated phone lines for individuals who speak Spanish and Portuguese.
Other Information on UI:
How much UI will you get?
You will get about one-half of your average weekly wage. The maximum amount of UI is $823 per week. You can also get $25 per week for each dependent child up to the amount that is half your UI check.
How long will you get UI?
The maximum number of weeks now is 26 weeks but that depends on your earnings in the year before you apply. The number of weeks may be increased if the economy gets worse.
If you have been unemployed for a few weeks and your employer didn’t tell you to apply for UI, you can get UI benefits for those weeks. Be sure to note in the UI Online system when you first became unemployed.
If you are still working but are earning less than you did, you may be able to collect some UI. Here’s an example of how that works: your UI benefit is $300 weekly. You can earn $100 weekly without losing any of your UI benefit. Once you earn more than that, your UI benefit decreases with each dollar of earnings.
If you are receiving paid sick leave, you cannot get UI. However, you do not need to use up all your fringe benefits before collecting UI.
If you are a non-citizen with work authorization you can apply for UI. Receiving UI does not count as a public charge. You will have to provide documentation of your immigration status and your work authorization card.
Prepared as general guidance and not as legal advice by Greater Boston Legal Services and Mass. Law Reform Institute. For additional resources and information on where to get help go to www.masslegalhelp.org.

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I read through all of those comments, even some of the nasty ones that are gone now. I just want to show my appreciation to all of you who offered support, advice and kind words. It’s a scary time for the hospitality crew. Every little thing helps

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