Emergency Unemployment Rules Adopted As COVID-19 Response


The Illinois Department of Employment Security recently adopted emergency rules in an attempt to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive as possible to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Under the emergency rules:

  • An individual temporarily laid off may qualify for benefits as long as the individual was prepared to return to his or her job as soon as the employer reopened; 
  • An individual who voluntarily leaves work is generally disqualified from receiving unemployment;
  • However, an individual who quits due to COVID-19 concerns may be eligible depending on the facts, including if the individual had a good reason for quitting, attributable to the employer; 
  • An individual confined to their home because of (a) COVID-19 medical diagnosis, (b) caring for an immediate family member diagnosed with COVID-19, or (c) because of government imposed restrictions would be considered to be unemployed through no fault of their own, and would be qualified for unemployment if that employee was able and available to work; 
  • An individual leaving work to stay home with a child whose school has temporarily closed is likely to not qualify.   

At this point, no additional unemployment benefits have been made available to those who have already received the full 26 weeks worth of benefits for their current benefit years.   Employers, particularly those in the service industry, have difficult decisions to make in the coming week(s) as to laying off staff in these difficult times.  Factors to consider include expected loss of revenues, maintaining any benefits, as well as the potential significant impact on unemployment taxes the employer must pay in the future.  The attorneys at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, P.C. are available to provide your business guidance in these challenging times. 


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