COVID-19 UPDATE: Resources for Employees March 17,2020

We know many restaurateurs are especially worried about how to take care of your employees in light of the Governor’s announcement that all restaurants and bars in Colorado will be closed for the next month. We've compiled resources for employees that cover a variety of situations. There are more employee relief options in the works in relief packages at the federal level, and we'll continue to update this as those are enacted. 

Available Jobs
We are hearing from recruiters who would like to hire displaced restaurant industry employees.

  • If you are an employee, click here to see available jobs.
  • If you are a vendor with jobs to fill, click here to fill out our form.

Understanding Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits may be available to workers who have lost their job through no fault of their own or who are not working for an extended period of time. The initial processing time for a claim takes four to six weeks; then upon benefit approval, individuals will be paid every two weeks from the unemployment insurance fund. 

The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment provides resources for individuals who have been laid off. These resources include:
  • Job search database: Individuals are encouraged to sign up for the State’s job search portal through CDLE. Individuals can access a full set of statewide jobs available and can connect with a career professional to improve their resume and interviewing skills.
  • Training: Career professionals within the job search division can offer additional training to individuals to increase their chances of being hired.
Due to a surge in submitted claims, individuals should expect four to eight weeks of processing time before receiving their benefits. If their benefit is denied, individuals can expect to receive a Notice of Decision explaining why they are not eligible to receive a payment. They may appeal any decision they disagree with through an appeals process. 

If an individual’s claim is approved, they must request payment of their benefit every two weeks. Payments can either be deposited to an unemployment prepaid debit card supplied by U.S. Bank or sent through direct deposit. Individuals are responsible for requesting their payment every two weeks at their scheduled time. 

How to file for Unemployment Benefits
  • In order to file a claim, individuals must go online. Go here to file a claim for regular unemployment and job attached unemployment. The process takes roughly 30 minutes. Individuals are eligible to file a claim as early as their last day of work. 
  • The following information will be requested in order to file a claim: Social Security number, current mailing address, legal name, approved form of ID, employment history for the last 18 months (pay stub information, phone numbers/addresses of former employers etc.)
  • If an individual does not have access to the Internet, they can apply over the phone. If they are within the Denver metro area, they can call 303-318-9000.  If they are outside the Denver metro area, they can call 1-800-388-5515.
Note: Unemployment Insurance benefits are intended to bridge the financial gap while individuals are out of work – it is not intended to fully replace their wages. Individuals may need additional resources during this time.

Alternative: Job Attached Unemployment
If you are considering an extended closure of your restaurant and are concerned about the impacts on your employees, encourage them to seek Job Attached Unemployment Insurance benefits from the state. “Job Attached” means that the employee is expected to return to their most recent employer after a separation of up to 16 weeks. Restaurant employees may be entitled to this benefit should their employer decide an extended closure if necessary.

Alternative: the Work-Share Program
If you are thinking of laying off employees, you can also consider the Work-Share program. The Work-Share program provides an alternative to laying off employees by allowing them to keep working, but with fewer hours. While an employee is working fewer hours, they may be eligible to collect part of their unemployment benefits. The requirements for employers are: 
  • You must have reduced the normal weekly work hours by at least 10 percent, but by no more than 40 percent.
  • The reduction must affect at least two out of all employees in the business.
  • You must have paid as much in premiums as the state paid your former employees in unemployment insurance benefits. 
Department fact sheet about the work-share program
Application for approval of the work-share program

Please reach out to us if you are considering the implementation of emergency policies and haven’t received legal advice. There are potential legal ramifications for any policy you may be considering. Give us a call at 303-830-2972 to get a legal opinion from one of the attorneys in our Legal Resource Center.

Colorado PEAK
PEAK is a portal designed to assist individuals with accessing food, medical, financial, and childcare assistance during times of need. Resources are not distributed through PEAK, but the portal is able to help individuals know which programs are available to them, and offer assistance in helping individuals access them. 

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a food assistance program in Colorado, formerly known as Food Stamps. To know if you are eligible for SNAP benefits, fill out the prescreening guide. To apply for benefits, go to the online application through Colorado PEAK. If individuals do not have access to the internet, they can go to their county human services office to fill out an in-person application. Applicants should have proof of identity, citizenship status, social security numbers, and income information on hand before they apply.

Once the claim is submitted, the county office has 30 days to process the application. Eligibility interviews must take place within 12 months, either in person or over the phone. 

SNAP benefits are issued on an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card called the Colorado Quest Card. The EBT card can be used at any SNAP authorized store across the country. Register for an EBT card here.

Food Bank of the Rockies
Food Bank of the Rockies services 30 counties over the state of Colorado. Individuals do not need to apply or show proof of income in order to use the services. Find your local food bank partner here.

Colorado Works
Colorado Works is Colorado’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Through the program, participants receive help becoming self-sufficient by strengthening their economic stability. To see if you are eligible for Colorado Works benefits, take a prescreening quiz through PEAK. Then, complete the application and return it to your county office.

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