The Virgin Islands Department of Labor is trying to avoid large crowds coming to its offices at one time. It is requesting that businesses have a representative from their establishment call the agency before notices of separation are issued so that they can be aware of how many people can be expected to file for unemployment assistance and other services. The department requests that businesses send applications to the affected employees so they can fill them out before coming to the office. The forms can be found at www.vidol.gov.
The COVID-19 State of Emergency has created a need for employees and employers to prepare for economic challenges. The Virgin Islands Department of Labor Commissioner Gary Molloy shares information to help eligible individuals receive the assistance they qualify for.
The current period does not qualify individuals for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA). During the COVID-19 State of Emergency, many have asked about DUA benefits to prepare as self-employed or as individuals affected by downsizing. However, the DUA program provides unemployment benefits to individuals who have become unemployed as a direct result of a presidentially declared major disaster. Current benefits are being processed under regular unemployment insurance.
Unemployment Insurance (UI) Employer Best Practices
If an employer needs to reduce hours, give furloughs, make layoffs or reduce work hours, the Department of Labor is requesting that employers do the following:
Send a letter to the Office of the Commissioner that includes the names of the affected employees in advance of the reduction of hours to 20 a week, discharge or layoff.
Contact the Department of Labor directly at the following numbers:
St Thomas: 776-3700 ext. 2013 or 2035
St Croix: 773-1994 ext. 2152 or 2154
File quarterly reports on time. The filing of quarterly reports is necessary to assure persons receive the correct unemployment compensation.
Send a notice to the employee with the reason for the separation before before reducing hours, discharging workers or laying off workers.
The following criteria can help individuals affected by job loss due to the current COVID-19 State of Emergency.
- Laid-off individuals
- Those who have seen a reduction that results in weekly employment of 20 hours or less
To help expedite the application process refer to the checklist online at www.vidol.gov/forms. For more information, contact the Department of Labor directly at the following numbers:
- St. Thomas: 776-3700 ext. 2094 or 2013
- St. Croix: 773-1994 at ext. 2152 or 2154
For information on COVID-19, visit the Virgin Islands Department of Health’s website at www.doh.vi.gov/coronavirus or text COVID19USVI to 88877 or contact the Department of Health at 712- 6299 on St. Croix or 776-1519 on St. Thomas.