COVID-19: Unemployment Benefits and Resources for Employers and Employees

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) supports Texas employers and job seekers by distributing unemployment benefits and providing workforce development and job-related services.

The TWC has temporarily waived certain requirements to help unemployed workers access claims faster:

  1. Waiting week for unemployment benefits. Under normal circumstances, TWC cannot pay for the first week of a claim until an individual receives twice their weekly benefit amount and returns to full-time work or has exhausted their benefits.  
  2. Work search requirement. Previously to be eligible for unemployment benefits, applicants were required to register for work search and meet a minimum number of work search activities per week.

You can find information for employers and employees on the TWC website:

  • Coronavirus Information & Resources for Texas Employers – In response to COVID-19, the TWC developed this FAQ to address common workplace concerns that businesses have from this pandemic: https://twc.texas.gov/files/agency/faq-texas-employers-twc.docx.
  • Workplace Illness Issues – The TWC provides a Texas Guide for Employers with useful information on a range of issues, including FMLA, medical leave laws and unpaid leave. Refer to the following links:
  • Shared Work Program – This program allows partial unemployment benefits for similarly situated employees whose hours are reduced by a standard amount between 10-40 percent. You can find more information on the TWC website.
  • Layoffs – If you are contemplating layoffs, TWC’s Rapid Response Unit helps employers and affected employees access services and programs such as unemployment claims and job search assistance. More details on TWC’s Rapid Response are found here.
    • For assistance with mass unemployment claims, you can refer to this link.
    • If the number of affected employees is small, you and your employees can access the directory of Workforce Solutions offices to receive Rapid Response services near you.

In addition to the TWC, check with your Chamber of Commerce and/or local Council of Governments for resources for you and your employees.

The federal agency websites offer helpful information about COVID-19 and small business advocacy:

  • U.S. Small Business Administration – The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration uses economic research, policy analysis and small business outreach to identify issues affecting small businesses. This resource page includes links to small business information outside the Office of Advocacy.
  • U.S. Department of Labor Rapid Response Solutions For Businesses – If you’re looking for guidance on what your local Rapid Response team can do for businesses and how you and your employees can benefit from Rapid Response solutions, this could be a good resource for you.
  • U.S. Department of Labor Coronavirus Resources – Here are links to help businesses prepare for COVID-19, including workplace safety, wages, hours and leave, unemployment insurance flexibilities, support for dislocated workers and states, job corps students, injured federal workers, federal contractors, foreign labor certification and workforce needs in the agricultural sector.
  • U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division – The articles on this site discuss how businesses are handling COVID-19 or other public health emergencies, including information on job-protected leave, wages and hours.

As you look for ways to adapt and manage your business in these unprecedented times, Weaver is here to be a resource. Contact us with your questions about issues related to the impact of COVID-19.

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