Coronavirus Questions or Feedback


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Please submit your feedback and questions regarding Coronavirus. While we may not have the answer to all of your questions right now, we will take them down and try to get them answered for you as quickly as possible. All submissions are anonymous. 

If you believe you, or someone you know, has been exposed to COVID-19, please call the Missouri 24-hour hotline at 1-877-435-8411.

Please review the questions and answers posted prior to submitting your question. Due to volume, we will be unable to answer duplicate questions.

Submit your questions or feedback

FEEDBACK OR QUESTION  DATE SUBMITTED STATUS/INFORMATION Date Updated

If someone is offered furlough from their employer, will they be able to receive unemployment?

04-03-2020

Whether or not a furloughed employee can receive unemployment compensation depends on the employer.  Employees furloughed without pay would generally be eligible.  Some employers furlough with partial pay, which would impact whether or not an individual would qualify. 

 

I am noticing 1099 claimants are reflecting a Benefit Year Ending Date of 4/4/2020, does this mean we should encourage these 1099 claimants to file a new claim(not weekly claim) after 4/4/2020

04-03-2020

Self-employed individuals are not insured workers under regular UI requirements. There are special UI rules for self-employed individuals and self- employed individuals need to file UI claims quarterly.

 

Will the Independence Job Center be professionally cleaned due to the possible exposure? The current cleaning is extremely inadequate and needs to be reevaluated anyways.

04-03-2020

The Office Of Administration, Facilities Management, is currently cleaning/disinfecting locations where a positive COVID-19 case has been confirmed.  If a positive confirmation is received for the Independence Center, OA will schedule the cleaning/disinfection asap.  If the results come back negative, additional sanitizing procedures will be completed by the janitorial crew. 

 

If a customer is on FMLA due to her children's daycare being closed because of COVID-19 can UI pay the difference from her regular pay to what she is receiving now.

04-03-2020

UI benefits are for individuals who lost employment through no fault of their own (for example, an involuntary dismissal).  In order to be eligible for benefits, the individual must be able and available to work.  In this case, it seems the individual has employment and would not be eligible for UI.

 
IM CURRENTLY EMPLOYED AT CHILDCARE AS A CASUAL DUE TO THE IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS MOST CASUALS HAVE NO HOURS AND NO INCOME WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO 04-03-2020 This forum is for internal questions, but in order to explore options please call 877-435-8411.  
We would feel safer if all staff members in the Job Center (partner and OWD) would use internal phones for communication instead of face to face communication. 04-01-2020 Anyone that feels uncomfortable with face to face communication in the center should speak to their Supervisor about communicating by phone.  As a reminder, staff that do not feel that continuing to work in the center is in their best interest, have the option to stay home and take leave.  
The governor announced a reduction to DHEWD’s budget. How will this affect the department? In particular do you anticipate layoffs? 04-01-2020 On April 1, 2020 the Governor announced $180 million in total state restrictions for the current fiscal year. None of those cuts are from the funds used to pay salaries. The cuts relevant to DHEWD are to the budgets of higher education institutions and to financial aid programs that DHEWD administers. There was no cut to the DHEWD fund used to pay salaries.  
Is it possible we can reduce the number of conference calls? I do appreciate how you want to keep in touch with everyone and keep us informed but those of us in the field are so busy taking calls. Its difficult to get away to participate in the call. And if we do get away to participate, we come back to several voicemails. Can we reduce them to not every day or maybe have them only when there is new information? 04-01-2020 We do understand how busy the Job Centers are right now and deeply appreciate the hard work everyone is doing.  We certainly do not want to create any additional burden on staff or delay customers getting served, however, we want to make sure everyone is well informed.  We are looking at efficiencies and will consider if changes can be made to the call schedule.   
Parson says that funding is being cut to state govt. Who will be losing their jobs? Who is most at risk? 04-01-2020 None of the cuts announced by Governor Parson are from the funds used to pay salaries. The cuts relevant to DHEWD are to the budgets of higher education institutions and to financial aid programs that DHEWD administers. There was no cut to the DHEWD fund used to pay salaries.  
How can we access the INTRANET at home? I am unable to review policies and cannot click on any links in DHEWD News Emails. Also, due to limited cell phone minutes by some staff, not everyone is able to call in of a morning. Can our morning calls be noted on what was discussed and emailed to DHEWD Staff? 04-01-2020 If working from home on a state issued laptop, VPN can be used to access the Intranet.  If you are unsure if you have VPN, please contact Lisa Elrod for assistance.  If your state issued cell phone plan is not adequate please contact Lisa Elrod for assistance to get an expanded plan.  
Does a cut to DHEWD's budget mean we should be expecting a lay off in the future? 04-01-2020 None of the cuts announced by Governor Parson are from the funds used to pay salaries. The cuts relevant to DHEWD are to the budgets of higher education institutions and to financial aid programs that DHEWD administers. No layoffs are expected, as there was no cut to the DHEWD fund used to pay salaries.  
We are encountering customers trying to create an account on UInteract with their new married name however UInteract reflects previous married name or maiden name. Will UInteract allow customer to enter new married name with an issue or should the customer be entering the previous married name/maiden name and show proof of name change at a later date? 04-01-2020 Claimants can update their name through Update Address tab. Please be aware that if a maiden name or prior married name is part of the User ID, that cannot be changed. The customer would need to be referred to the RCC.  

We are encountering customers with 11/11/1111 date of birth on Uinteract. These customers are not able to create an account because of this birthdate does not match theirs. "Information Does Not Match"

04-01-2020 This will have to be changed by staff. Benefit Maintenance  -- Update Claimant Profile  --  Contact Details.  
If an employee is laid off due to COVID-19 from their company and the company is paying a fraction of their wages during layoff, would that small payment be considered “earned wages” when they file for UI benefits? 04-01-2020

Yes. DES is in the process of updating the questions on their weekly requests to cover this.

 
Can Trade Navigators be added to the Supervisor mail distribution list. Many times some of the processes and/or forms are discussed or provided via the supervisor distribution list and Navigators do not receive the information until they "hear" about it and then have to ask RM's for it. 03-31-2020 Thanks for sharing your concern.  During this time, all staff are challenged to over communicate with their colleagues. Every Supervisor and Regional Manager should be sharing relevant information with their staff.  
Is the governor going to re-open the Truman Building? If so, I find that concerning. 03-31-2020 At this time it is unknown if the order to close state offices to non-essential staff will be extended beyond April 6th.  The situation is being monitored and actions reevaluated on a daily basis.  Staff will be kept informed as the situation changes.    
If an employer believes that an employee is lying about exposure or has been in contact with someone who has been exposed are they eligible for UI benefits? If they are under observation quarantine and have no leave time, are they eligible for UI benefits? If they test positive, does the employer become responsible for paid sick leave for them? 03-31-2020

An employer may protest a claim for UI benefits if they believe the individual should be ineligible or disqualified from receiving benefits.  If an individual is in mandatory quarantine due to suspicion of having the coronavirus, in most situations the person would be eligible for UI benefits.  If an asymptomatic individual is in self quarantine, they may be eligible for UI benefits depending upon the circumstance.  Please visit https://labor.mo.gov/coronavirus#mini-panel-coronavirus-tabs2 for additional information.  Under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, employees are eligible for up to 10 days of paid sick leave if they are unable to work due to being subject to quarantine related to the coronavirus.  The Act only applies to private employers with less than 500 employees.

 
At one time I received documentation for Missouri Statute 288.040 RSMO that listed activities that counted and could be listed as a weekly work search. Could DOLIR please send something out for us to use at this time? 03-30-2020 Please see attached Work Search Activities FAQ’s.   

Do we have access to a training site for Uinteract,that we can try different scenarios of questions we have been asked by customers?  We are not just receiving questions about how to reset a password or gain their username, some customers are addressing screens that are not included in the screen shots already provided. Most of these type questions are just asking us to explain the question so they can move forward.
Although we have received some very helpful screen shots, some scenarios we are unable to determine if it is something we can talk them through or forward customer to UI phone.
Example a customer called today, stating that he tried to create his account, he was unable to enter his employment. I was not able to see the screen with an error message he was describing that would not allow him to enter his employment. This was a call I had to send to UI phone. A call like this I would like to avoid sending to UI phone if it is something I could have helped with to explain why customer was receiving error and why he should do different.

03-30-2020

Unfortunately, there is no UIteract training site available. If you are not finding the information necessary through the provided screen shots, you would have to refer the customer to the RCC. With many OWD staff getting increased UInteract privileges, it will be easier to troubleshoot questions and assist the customer without sending them to the UI phone in the very near future. 

 

UI assistance question: We have received conflicting information. Can a claimant change their name once they access their ui account? and if so what tab would they use?

03-30-2020

Update Address tab would be used to change a name.

 

Online (Uinteract) claim filing question:
Is the call back date/recall date entered at the time a customer files an Unemployment Claim or during Weekly Request for Payment ?, request a call back work date(recall date)?
After customer has revealed the call back/recall date, how does it take to reflect 0 job contacts on Weekly Request for Payment claim?

03-30-2020

Zero (0) job contacts will reflect the following workday in UInteract.

 
In the beginning I was on board to keeping us working at the job center. Its easier to work together to solve issues we may run into with UI questions and issues. Now though, I think we should be moving toward working from home. I am hearing stories at centers where customers are trying to get in, trying to pass along paperwork through the door, etc. Customers are upset. Not only do I feel concerned about the virus but I feel concerned about safety. I also see that people are not social distancing. Stores that are open are packed in my area. I drive down the street and see their parking lots full. Were my co-workers there? Were they exposed? I hope you will consider moving us toward working from home. I know it will be much more difficult but its necessary. 03-30-2020 Thank you for your comments and your concern is understandable. The COVID-19 situation requires us to adapt to the changing situation and take whatever precautions are necessary to protect staff and our customers. The Job Centers were closed to the public for that reason. The current situation does not warrant a complete closure of the job centers, however, we are preparing in case that becomes necessary. Anyone that feels uncomfortable continuing to work in the Job Center has the option to stay at home and utilize leave.    

If we have someone calling in that states they are on quarantine by their employer, but they are going to look for other work, are we mandated reporters for this? Does that breech confidentiality? This particular person was a nurse with the potential to infect a lot of people.

03-30-2020

There is no mandatory reporting requirements related to COVID 19 and staff should not be reporting customers, however, staff should always follow all local, State and Federal guidelines. 

 

I use cafeteria plan for dependent care. If my daycare closes due to COVID-19, or they allow me to opt-out of payment for services I won't use, is there now flexibility to recoup the money in my cafeteria plan?

03-30-2020

Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts guidelines are established by IRS regulations. We are unaware of any regulation changes at this time, however, recently passed legislation may include changes that impact Flexible Spending Account rules. The Department is currently reviewing the new laws and Human Resources will update staff if changes will be implemented.

 

When working from home, will we be allowed to use our personal printer/scanner for state business/use from the state issued laptop?

3-27-2020 Personal equipment cannot be connected to a state PC or laptop.  

Some calls we have received are from claimants who have answered Weekly Request for Payment questions incorrectly and benefits are being withheld. What can claimants do to revise, besides calling DES, because they are frustrated by continually trying to do that. Yes, we received the Call Back letter today and will use if needed. Just curious if there is a better solution to this problem. Thank you

3-27-2020

The UI Call Back letter is the best way to assist the Claimant in this situation.  Due to extend wait times, referring the customer to the RCC in this circumstance is not recommended.

 

Is there a plan in place to help college students who are now required to do their classes online but don't have internet access? Spectrum has offered free internet access, but you have to enter a credit card number. With the usual free wi-fi spots such as public libraries, Job Centers and McDonalds and Panera dining rooms closed, is there another idea to offer them? Thanks!

03-27-2020 Current guidance is for students to reach out to their institutions and local internet providers for assistance.  Some institutions have set up WiFi in parking lots for students to access.  Institutions may be setting up other access points as well.  
What is status of headsets? Several of us are experiencing issues with neck pain, etc. 03-27-2020 We are working to provide headphones or earbuds for staff who are currently remote and using a softphone from the computer to take calls. The headphones or earbuds with microphone are required for the softphone feature to work. If you are not a user identified to have a softphone installed for remote work and  
Is there any way RESEA can be suspended during this time? RESEA appointment are taking longer and we really need those staff to help field the UI calls. Thank you. 03-27-2020 RESEA program cannot be suspended at this time.  RESEA is a mandated program from the Department of Labor designed to assist individuals who may exhaust their benefits before obtaining reemployment.  OWD has an obligation to provide RESEA services.  If a center is having difficulty with the number of RESEA appointments due to high call volumes, please contact your Regional Manager to request an adjustment in the number of appointments being scheduled.     

I would rather conference in over my computer/over the internet to the Zoom meetings at 8:30 with Zora instead of calling in every day but there is no link. Could you fix this please?

3-26-2020

We are unable to provide a link for participation via computer to avoid overloading the bandwidth and causing the call to crash. We have 200 employees participating in these call. If someone would like the link, they can reach out to Alyssa McLeod directly to request it. Alyssa can be contacted at alyssa.mcleod@dhewd.mo.gov.

 

Will the funding cutbacks include education reimbursements?

3-26-2020

DHEWD is not authorized to offer additional compensation beyond an individual’s salary.

 

It would be helpful if One Stop Operators were included on email that are sent to supervisors. In some centers, One Stops are a big part of our process and workflow.

3-26-2020 Thank you for the suggestion.  We absolutely want to include our Job Center partners on any information relevant to them.  There is a Job Center Leaders e-mail distribution list available that does include OWD and Agency Supervisors.  The list may not fully include all One Stop Operators.  Please send names and e-mail addresses for any partner staff that should be included to Lisa.Elrod@dhewd.mo.gov  
Should we work from home, is there any type of chat/messaging system that state staff and partner staff can utilize so that we can continue to communicate easily with each other? We are heavily partnering during this time so some type of system would be helpful 3-26-2020

Unfortunately, we have no chat/messaging solution that would work for both OWD and Partner staff due to differing networks.  OWD staff can chat with each other using Jabber.   Staff using should remember that Jabber message, like e-mail, should only be work related.  Jabber messages are subject to the Sunshine Law.

 

Should staff work from home, some staff have asked if they could partner up at someone's house to work. Are there any restrictions regarding this? If not perhaps this method may work for some who have issues with their environment when working from home, such as children, pets, etc.

3-26-2020

We understand some living situations may not ideal for working remotely, however, we do not recommend staff working together out of a co-workers home.  We will work with staff in challenging home situations to provide appropriate work assignments.  Please contact your Human Resources with your specific questions or concerns.

 

Can you clarify - Are ERCC calls supposed to be returned in 30 minutes?

3-26-2020

The ERCC should return calls as quickly as possible.  If an ERCC member is receiving too many calls to respond to them within 30 minutes, please contact Julie Carter for guidance.  E-mail Julie at Julie.carter@dhewd.mo.gov.

 

Staff would like to know about the ability to take annual leave during this situation.

03-26-2020 Each Supervisor/Manager is required to ensure adequate staffing for their unit.  As outlined in the Employee Leave Policy, “The employee will provide their supervisor/manager with as much advance notice for annual leave requests as possible. Limited notification may impact a supervisor or manager’s ability to approve a request. Emergency requests will be given consideration based upon justification provided and sufficient staff coverage.  
LinkedIn Learnings:
“Working Remotely” - 1 hour
“Time Management: Working From Home” - 1 hr 25 min
“Productivity Tips: Finding Your Productive Mindset” - 59 min
03-26-2020

Thank you for the suggestion!  These trainings will be super helpful as more staff transition to remote work.

 
If I work from home and my spouse does, my spouse will likely hear all my conversations, hear me ask confidential questions, etc. What about confidentiality? I know we are supposed to follow our rules but.... 03-26-2020 Even while working remotely, confidentiality is priority. Best efforts to keep documents secure and conversations private should be made.  It is important to not use a speakerphone when other individuals are present.  Customer responses should not be overheard.  If space is a concern, please contact your HR representative.  
Will the funding cutbacks include education reimbursements? 03-26-2020

The current year obligations will be reimbursed.  Future obligations will need to be considered as a part of the FY21 budget process and can’t be answered at this time.

 
Can DOLIR assign someone to check daily questions from field staff about issues with Uinteract?
Maybe create a fluid spreadsheet for daily questions.
We are facing questions about screens with error messages and we have no idea what to tell the customer, we try to walk through the screen with the customer based on the screen shots that has been provided to staff. Staff members do not have all screen shots the customers to follow along with the customer. We are doing our best to avoid asking customers to call UI Representatives, but if these error messages continue with no guidance we have no choice but to forward these calls on to UI Representatives.
3-25-2020

We know it is frustrating to not have answers right away. DES staff are extraordinarily busy right now. They understand our need for guidance and have provided a central e-mail to send questions to. We are awaiting answers on several items and will get them posted and e-mailed to staff as soon as possible. DES does have a UI FAQ available for customers at: https://molabor.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/topics/38070-unemployed-work...

 

 

What if you can't work remotely? I'm staying over someone's house and don't have my own room and there are dogs there too.

03-25-2020

We understand living situations vary and some more ideal than others for remote work.  We will work with staff in challenging home situations to provide appropriate work assignments. Please contact Human Resources with your specific questions or concerns.

 
Some staff have limited internet access at home. It's not unlimited. If staff work from home and go over their internet usage and are charged, will they be reimbursed? 03-25-2020 We are unable to reimburse staff for their home internet service.  We understand staff internet providers and plans vary.  We will work with staff to provide work assignments that work for individual situations.  Please contact Humans Resources with your specific questions or concerns.  
Although we are currently in the beginning stages of dealing with some of the challenges this virus has presented, we also need to be thinking forward to how we need to handle assisting customers in the future. Now, more than ever, we need to utilize our technology to create Virtual Hiring Events and get employers on board to assist in filling their positions. During Empower training, Frank Alaniz talked about this process and how employers at that time preferred this over face-to-face hiring events. Is this a process that is currently being considered? 03-25-2020 This is excellent feedback- the department absolutely agrees that an upgrade/ update is in order!  Current events are a strong reminder. Two placemat initiatives, Job Centers of the Future and Developing a Job Center strategy, will be looking at current service delivery and making policy recommendations to enhance Job Center operations and ensure our relevance in the future.  

We are currently keeping track of all the phone calls that take place each day at the Job Center, but we haven't been told to keep track of all of the emails that are sent. Some days we have more emails sent than phone calls. When we are doing case management, we have better success reaching the client by sending an email than trying to have the participant give us a call during work hours.

03-24-2020

Thank you for pointing out the number of customers served by e-mail. We will update the spreadsheet so you can report those services provided or questions answered by e-mail. 

 

If we have the capacity and equipment to work from home, Zora stated this morning that we would be working from home. Our supervisors; however, have said that Mardy does not agree and wants us to continue to come to the Job Centers. I understand that it is not "fair" that some work from home and others don't, but that keeps that many more from being out and at risk. Although healthy and don't necessarily have a compromised immune system at this time, I have asthma and don't want to have to call and get a letter from my doctor, however, if I did get the virus, it would be more life-threatening to me.

3-24-2020

Job Center staff assist the public and are considered “essential."  Job Centers, as well as all other state offices, are closed to the general public, but still providing essential services.  We are making preparations for all staff to work remotely if that becomes necessary.   Any staff person with an underlying health condition that creates a personal concern should contact their HR representative directly.

 
We are currently keeping track of all the phone calls that take place each day at the Job Center, but we haven't been told to keep track of all of the emails that are sent. Some days we have more emails sent than phone calls. When we are doing case management, we have better success reaching the client by sending an email than trying to have the participant give us a call during work hours. 3-24-2020 Thank you for pointing out the number of customers served by e-mail. We will update the spreadsheet so you can report those services provided or questions answered by e-mail.   

As we continue to serve our customers by phone, do we have the link that can be sent out by email that provides the link for our customer survey?

03-24-2020  The Job Seeker survey has been updated to better reflect services provided by phone/e-mail. Regional survey link may be found here.  

Is the Fiscal Department still working? I'm sure everyone could use their reimbursements back as soon as possible.

03-24-2020 Yes, the fiscal team is working remotely and continues to go into the office daily to review mail for expense accounts, invoices, and revenues.  Expense accounts are a top priority.  If you have a question or any issues that need to be addressed, you can reach the fiscal help desk at DHEWDFinancial-HelpDesk@dhewd.mo.gov  
Is there any talk of giving "essential staff" in the field comp time for the days they are working since there are state staff who are at home receiving paid Administration leave?? 03-24-2020 Leadership across the state has to make decisions that prioritize the safety and wellbeing of state employees and citizens alike, as well as still provide services to all Missourians. The evolving situation caused by the virus demands us to be flexible. The decision to allow Administrative leave for staff who are currently unable to work remotely ensures all staff to remain in paid status and do not experience undue hardship from the state’s decision to close offices temporarily. Efforts are still being made to identify ways all staff can perform work duties remotely. There has been no consideration for compensation time for staff who are able to work remotely or in an office.  

What is being done to address "Community Spread" which has now become a major concern to our communities. Again, we are being required to come to work around each other without knowing each other's whereabouts or who they've come into contact with outside of work. There are more than 10 people in our office currently which goes against local, state and federal recommendations. I am a public servant, yes, but I am also a fellow citizen and my overall well-being is also important to my family & I.
A CO-WORKER WHO IS WITH A PARTNER AGENCY, HAS BEEN TO WORK EVERY DAY, NOW BELIEVES THEY HAVE BEEN INFECTED WITH COVID19 AND HAS BEEN TESTED AND AWAITING RESULTS. THIS MEANS THE PERSON WAS MOST LIKELY AFFECTED WHEN THEY WERE AT WORK AROUND OTHER WORKERS AND CUSTOMERS LAST WEEK AND THE WEEK BEFORE. WILL THIS OFFICE BE SHUT DOWN (OR AT LEAST, STATE STAFF SENT HOME), LIKE WHAT HAPPENED IN THE DHEWD CENTRAL OFFICE SCARE?

03-24-2020

Every report of potential exposure to staff has been investigated and action taken when necessary.  Staff’s health and well-being is a top priority and we ask staff to continue to report potential exposure situations immediately so appropriate action can be taken.  Any staff person that decides they do not want to continue to work in the Job Center may stay home and utilize their accumulated leave.

 

 

What is being done to protect the state employees who come into these huge office buildings? It is highly likely that people are still going to come to work sick, most likely because they do not know that they have the illness. I just wonder if anyone has discussed closing the office for like a 2 week period so that employees are actually safe.

03-24-2020 Effective March 23rd, Governor Parson has announced state buildings will be closed to the public, with only essential staff reporting.  

What impact does this have on Department placemat initiatives?

03-24-2020

The placemat initiatives are still important for the department and will proceed.  With the current situation being priority, many of our initiatives are delayed or moving forward at a slower pace.

 

Every county in our region, including the county I work in and the county I live in now has the 'stay at home' restriction. If possible to work from home, wouldn't it be better to keep as many at home as possible?

03-24-2020 In order to ensure staff safety job centers are now closed to the public and will be helping customers by telephone and e-mail. Director Leathers has requested and approved cell phones and laptops to be deployed to all job center staff to ensure staff are able to work remotely if it becomes necessary to close Job Centers to both staff and the public.  As has been stated previously, any staff person that is uncomfortable continuing to work may choose to stay home and take leave.  
We are in a field Job Center. We are trying to assist client's with UI filing. There are some customers that cannot do it. We are transferring them to UI but the lines are so busy that they cannot get to a person. It would be a great help to our customers if we could assist them by filing the claims on uinteract with them via phone. It's been a huge issue here Friday and already this a.m. 3-23-2020

We are currently working with the Division of Employment Security to allow OWD staff to assist with claims filing.  DES is piloting with one staff person right now.  We expect more staff to be granted access soon.

 

In the job centers I feel it would be beneficial to the DOL & our customers if we could assist customers over the phone with the filing of their claims. Prior to the COVID 19 we assisted customers on a daily basis with the filing of their claim. The phone systems are overloaded and we currently have customers that are being disconnected without being able to file their claim as well as other customers experiencing extended wait times.

3-23-2020

We are currently working with the Division of Employment Security to allow OWD staff to assist with claims filing.  DES is piloting with one staff person right now.  We expect more staff to be granted access soon.

 

Is there an app that can be downloaded and accessed on a smart phone that would allow customers to file UI claims if they don't have access to a computer in their home?
Thank you

3-23-2020 UInteract is mobile friendly.  Customer may file claims with a mobile device.  

When working from home, will we need to bring our laptops into the office and connect to the network periodically to keep them updated/functioning?

3-23-2020 Staff working remotely will not need to bring their laptops to the office for updates.  Use of VPN will meet the ITSD requirement.  

The City of Kansas City issued a stay at home order. Will these Job Centers close?

3-23-2020

The Kansas City Stay-at-Home order provides an exception to “ perform work providing essential products and services at an Essential Business or to otherwise carry out activities specifically permitted in this Order, including Minimum Basic Operations, as defined infra, at Non-Essential Businesses.” The Kansas City Order has multiple definitions of Essential Businesses.  Essential Businesses include, “businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals.” The Department will close its  doors to the public, but will remain open for staff as it provides a social service for the economically disadvantaged.

 

 
Zora stated that everyone who can/has the ability to work remotely will be allowed to but we have been told multiple times that HR says its not fair to others who can't work from home. Which is it? 03-23-2020 It’s not about “fair” it’s about safety. These measures are to protect the health and safety of our staff and the general public.  

It is my understanding that in the event that job centers are totally shut down it will be the supervisors only working their job center from home. With everything being reported that this is not going to last weeks but, months what is going to be the procedure to provide relief to supervisors especially those supervisors in larger areas such as St Louis & KC?

03-20-2020

In the unlikely event that Job Centers would close to both customers and staff, the Emergency Response Call Center (ERCC), would be fully activated and that team will be assisting.  In addition, other field staff with the ability to work from home would be called on to assist.

 

As a DHEWD field employee, how can I practice social distancing if I have to have customers at my desk????????? Or help them on the computers????? Or check them in at the front desk (while they are standing above me, breathing down on me not wearing a mask)?????? There has been no real consideration of us field employees that don't have the luxury of staying in an office creating policy. We don't even have necessary supplies to clean our areas!!!! Tiny alcohol pads aren't going to cut it.

03/19/2020

Working with the public is an essential function of Job Centers and we have an obligation to continue to provide services to the best of our ability. Effective March 20, Job Centers are closed to walk-in traffic, however, we will continue to service our customers by phone.  Any staff person that decides they do not want to continue to work in the Job Center may utilize their leave and stay home.

We understand the frustration with a lack of cleaning supplies. There are supply shortages throughout the country. We have received information that the Office of Administration is in the process of securing supplies, however, it is taking some time.  If supplies can be found locally, Supervisors have been given permission to make purchases and submit the receipt for reimbursement. 

 

In the event that Job Centers do close for walk in traffic, Would we not be able to still work at the Job Center and have phone service available for questions, unemployment appointments, filing unemployment, etc.? Clients can call in their claim and weekly request for payment to UI if they need to, why could we not do that over the phone with the clients by using the security question verification? This is what we are doing for RESEA appointments for customers who are social distancing due to COVID-19 currently.

03/19/2020

Effective March 20th, Job Centers are closed to walk-in traffic. Staff are still expected to assist customers and perform all normal job duties to best of their ability by phone. 

 

Regarding ETT Meetings: is there a recommendation regarding the number of attendees? Should the ETT Coordinators follow the recommendation from the CDC, which recommends postponing or cancelling meetings of 50 or more or should the follow the recommendations from the President to postpone or cancel meetings of 10 or more? Or, should they just off to conduct all ETT meetings by WebEx, but otherwise do what the employer prefers?

03/19/2020

We understand the frustration with a lack of cleaning supplies. There are supply shortages throughout the country. We have received information that the Office of Administration is in the process of securing supplies, however, it is taking some time. If supplies can be found locally, Supervisors have been given permission to make purchases and submit the receipt for reimbursement. 

 

What is safe to use to clean our Kiosk?

03/19/2020

Kiosks should be treated like computer monitors.  A disinfectant wipe is acceptable to use on computer monitor screens, with the exception of Clorox wipes.  Anything containing bleach could damage the screen.

 

If staff are uncomfortable serving customers one-on-one and want to practice "social distancing", should they request the option to work from home, if they have the tools and technology to do so, or request to use annual leave? Or, should they be permitted to do what they can in the Job Center, without serving customers face-to-face, i.e. entering/managing job orders, conducting telephonic RESEA appointments, and the like?

03/19/2020

Effective March 20th, all Job Centers are closed to walk-in traffic.  Customers will be served by phone. 

 

Much of what we do in DHEWD is document-heavy and involves a lot of PII. 1) If work from home becomes a possibility, and 2) someone has a family member become ill and they stay home, COVID19 or not, have we planned how we get these documents back and forth from the Main Office to the member at home?

03/19/2020

Effective March 20th, all Job Centers are closed to customers.  Staff will be providing services by phone.  In the event a particular staff person would be working from home, necessary documents can be sent through encrypted e-mail.

 

If we were to shut down the Job Center's in the field, what should we expect as far as pay and leave time? Will we still receive a paycheck? How about time off? Will this be admin leave, sick time, or annual leave? I am asking to have a plan in place if this were to happen.

03/19/2020

In the unlikely event a center must close indefinitely, those staff with the ability to work from home will be granted that approval.  Other staff will be required to utilize their leave or be on leave without pay. 

 

If the Job Center closes, will Staff be granted Admin Leave to stay at home?

03/19/2020

Effective March 20th, all Job Centers are closed to customers.  Staff will be providing services by phone.  We do not anticipate closing any Job Centers to both customers and staff.  Staff that choose to stay home must utilize their own leave or take leave without pay.

 

Job Center Supervisors have been provided laptops and cell phones to be able to work at home if needed. If the job centers close to outside traffic, will the other staff be able to still work by providing services by phone, or will they be laid off? If those staff are laid off, will we be receiving paid administrative leave? If not, then I feel we are just adding to the problem because not only will all of those staff then have to file for unemployment, but they won't be helping with any of the unemployment claimants and all the other services we provide at the Job Center.

03/19/2020

Effective March 20th, all Job Centers are closed to customers.  Staff will be providing services by phone.  It is unlikely a center would close to both customers and staff, however, if a center had to be closed temporarily due to a situation requiring the center to be cleaned, staff would be granted administrative leave until the center could re-open.  In the unlikely event a center must close indefinitely, those staff with the ability to work from home will be granted that approval.  Other staff will be required to utilize their leave or be on leave without pay.  The agency will be unable to grant administrative leave in the event of long term closure.

 
OWD Central Office - I appreciate your efforts during this difficult time. However, you must close the Job Centers to the public NOW. We are in a customer-driven environment, and we all understand that but who will help them if we all get sick. The public will continue to go places that are open, and will only stay home if there is NO WHERE to go. Please take this suggestion under advisement. Thanks again for all you are doing. 03/19/2020 Effective March 20th all Job Centers are closed to walk in traffic.  
Why is it that all the different departments within the State of Missouri employment are not treated similarly/ fairly? Central office and other departments are most often given preferential treatment in comparison to field staff. They are the only ones who participate in any extra activities offered as well as the concern shown for their work environment and well being. We all work for the same employer; the State of Missouri, but we are not all treated equally. Upper Management and department directors and Managers don't understand; nor do they attempt to find out, what field staff go through and deal with on a daily basis. Decisions are made without even truly considering the situations for those field staff. We always hear that our health and safety is a top priority, but your actions say something altogether different. This is incredibly frustrating. I've heard the saying that, "employees don't leave jobs, they leave employers or Managers because of not feeling valued". Food for thought. 03/19/2020

UPDATED RESPONSE: As stated in the March 18, 2020 email sent from Drew Erdmann, the State’s Chief Operating Officer, “Different departments work differently to serve our citizens.  So while we have statewide overall policies and guidance, there will be some variations across and within departments in how they adapt their day-to-day operations.”   

The State of Missouri employs approximately 36,000 diverse individuals. Even with all our differences, one goal we all share, as public servants, is serving the citizens of Missouri. Each Department is doing its best to serve the State’s needs--sometimes leading to different strategic choices and different leadership models. Without knowing the intricacies and needs of each Department, it is impossible to explain the actions of each Department.                       

Please contact Human Resources through their anonymous link if you would like to report unequal treatment.   Or if you would like further explanation, your questions may be directed to OA: 877-435-8411.
 

The Department treats all employees equally, but feedback like this is essential in that it provides insight into the way some colleagues may feel.  The “reporting up” structure launched in Engage 2.0 is another opportunity to voice your concern and you are encouraged to do so. Thank you for your feedback.

03/20/2020
If we have to work from home is the new ETA system internet-based or is it intranet-based like the old TMS system? 03/18/2020 You must be connected to the State network to access ETA.  Staff working from home should be able to access the State network using VPN, however, Supervisors or HR can assist and update staff time in ETA on a staff person’s behalf.  
Us Frontline staff deals with this every day, ALL DAY long...Customer comes into the center sick from various illnesses all of the time. A majority of customers are transients who don't get healthcare needed already, let alone, Coronavirus testing. They will even tell us that they are sick but were being required to visit (ie., RESEA, Proof of Identity, etc.) for various reasons. The CDC is suggesting keeping a 6-foot distance from others but this is not possible in the centers. ***What is my right and what should be my response to a customer if a customer has visited the center but is ill? I am concerned about my safety as well as taking home an illness to my family (young child). We have been banned from wearing face masks but cannot maintain the 6-foot distance if a customer is at my desk. 03/18/2020

The Centers for Disease Control have published recommendations to reduce the risk of exposure, which does include social distancing when possible. The nature of what we do requires direct contact with the public. All staff should take extra precautions while providing customers with the services they need. It is understandable that some staff may be uncomfortable with direct exposure to the public, therefore, staff have the option to stay home, utilizing their leave. Staff members that have exhausted their leave can be on leave without pay.

As for customers exhibiting blatant illness symptoms, staff may ask them to leave the center and access services by phone. Staff should politely approach the customer and say something like:  “It appears to me that you might be ill. Given the current climate, we are requesting you leave the center and call us at (provide Job Center number). We understand the inconvenience and will do everything we can to provide you services over the phone.” Staff must be cognizant that customers may have allergies or another illness and not jump to conclusions. Furthermore, customers must not be asked to leave for any discriminatory reason including but not limited to: age, race, sex, gender, disability, religion, national origin, political affiliation or belief, as that does not make someone more or less likely to be infected with COVID-19.

 
All supervisors have received laptops to enable them to work from home, should the need arise. Instructions for providing RESEA services by phone have been provided. Will supervisors also be expected to provide Trade Act services by phone? Are more specific instructions regarding the extent of those services in the works? 03/18/2020 Supervisors should assist Trade Act customers if they have the knowledge and capacity to do so. Customers seeking Trade assistance can be referred to Myra Huhmann at dwdtradeacthelp@dhewd.mo.gov or to the regional Trade Navigator.  
If the Hotline Operating hours are M-F 7:00 AM - 6:00 PM, and information is forwarded to Supervisors, with a response time of within 30 minutes, will the supervisors working hours be changed to 7:00 AM - 6:30 PM? 03/17/2020 Supervisors will not be expected to work beyond their normal work hours. Customers calling before 8 am or after 5 pm can be called back during the Supervisors' normal work hours.  
We have been instructed to hold meetings online or by phone but in the Job Centers, we are being asked to meet face-to-face with customers to provide orientations for walk-ins and to conduct RESEAs. This seems contradictory and I am concerned about the impact on customers and staff of participating in fairly long (30-90 minute) face-to-face meetings. We also have individuals using our computer area in close proximity which seems to be out of line with the social distancing guidelines I have been given information on. I know we have been given instructions on how we can conduct RESEAs by phone, I feel as though this should be mandatory at this time. I'm not saying we should close the Job Centers necessarily, I'm sure there are lots of hoops to jump through to do something like that, but it doesn't seem like a good idea to continue our services as normal at this time. We need to restrict access in some ways to mitigate potential spread of the virus. 03/17/2020

The Centers for Disease Control have published recommendations to reduce the risk of exposure, which does include social distancing when possible. The nature of what we do requires direct contact with the public. We should take extra precautions while still providing customers with the services they need.  It is understandable that some staff may be uncomfortable with direct exposure to the public, therefore, staff do have the option to stay home, utilizing their leave. Staff members that have exhausted their leave can be on leave without pay. 

Staff members’ health and safety is very important and we are continuing to evaluate options to ensure the safety of all our team members. OWD has a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) in place that includes closing Job Centers to the public but serving customers remotely by phone or e-mail. DHEWD Senior Leadership, in consultation with the local Workforce Board(s), will determine when the situation has escalated to that point.  The Coronavirus situation is rapidly evolving and we may very likely reach that point in the near future. Staff will be kept updated as the situation evolves. 

 
What are the chances that we work from the office but lock the doors to the public and handle everything by phone? I understand that we are here to serve the public, but while we are in unchartered waters wouldn't it make sense to distance staff and the public to maximize reducing the risk of the spread of infection? 03/17/2020 OWD has a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) in place that includes a tiered approach for responding to emergency situations. A level 1 response does include closing Job Centers to the public, but serving customers remotely by phone or e-mail. The COOP is activated when DHEWD Senior Leadership, in consultation with the local Workforce Board(s), determine the situation has escalated to a point requiring action. At this point, we are not in a Level 1 situation, however, the Coronavirus situation is rapidly evolving and we may very likely reach that point in the near future. Staff will be kept updated as the situation evolves.   

Staff would like to know what can safely be used to disinfect a computer screen without damaging it. The basic computer screen wipes do not state if they are also a disinfectant.

03-16-2020 Not all computer wipes disinfect, please be sure to check the label. If they do not disinfect, a disinfectant wipe is acceptable to use on computer monitor screens, with the exception of Clorox wipes.  Anything containing bleach could damage the screen.   
Is there a website that addresses local, county and or state stipulations or restrictions regarding the number allowed for public meetings and gatherings? 03-16-2020 At this time, there is not one central site to access individual City or County restrictions.   The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has posted recommendations at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.  Statewide information is made available on the state website at https://health.mo.gov/living/healthcondiseases/communicable/novel-corona... We recommend you access information specific to a City or County through their individual websites.   
If people that would normally come into the Job Center are having trouble filing their UI claim or their weekly claims using the computer and they call the Job Center office, can we assist by filing their claims using UInteract for them? 03-16-2020

At this time, Job Center staff cannot file customer claims for them.  Please transfer those customer calls to the appropriate DES Claims Center:                                                 

Jefferson City - 573-751-9040                                                   
Kansas City - 816-889-3101
Springfield -  417-895-6851                                                         
St. Louis - 314-340-4950                                                   
Outside Local Calling Area - 800-320-2519

 
If a customer comes into the Job Center coughing a lot, may we ask that person to leave (or stay home) until he/she is no longer coughing? Our Job Center workspaces are close together and our customers are in close proximity to staff when being assisted. What do you suggest if a staff person feels very uncomfortable assisting a customer when we know we are not using the 'social distancing' practice? Can staff refuse to assist a customer on a computer without losing their job? 03-16-2020

Customers exhibiting blatant illness symptoms may be approached and asked to access services by phone.  Staff should politely approach the customer and say something like:  “It appears to me that you might be ill.  Given the current climate, we are requesting you leave the center and call us at (provide the Job Center number).  We understand the inconvenience and will do everything we can to provide you services over the phone.”                                                                                                                       
Staff will not lose their job or be reprimanded for asking a customer to leave in a situation where somebody is exhibiting obvious and blatant symptoms. Staff must be cognizant that individuals may have allergies and we must not jump to conclusions that somebody has an actual illness.  A customer with a simple cough or that sneezes is not necessarily ill.  Furthermore, customers must not be asked to leave due to race or ethnicity, as that does not make someone more or less likely to be infected with COVID-19.

 
We have currently scheduled to go to several schools to provide the NCRC testing in their computer labs. Do we need to postpone, or cancel this until further notice? I also have one school that has requested me to come to provide the résumé workshop for 41 of their students in their classroom on April 1, 2020. Will this need to be postponed, or canceled. All of these schools are within my region. 03-13-2020 Due to revised CDC recommendations and to protect staff from unnecessary group exposure, all State-administered NCRC testing at local schools should be canceled for the next 30 days.  The Department will still fund independently administered NCRC testing. 3-17-2020

 

Forms for Use by Job Center Staff

FORM NAME DESCRIPTION DATE ADDED
Callback Form This form is to be used when all other means to assist a UI claimant has been exhausted.  Think of it as a paper version of the direct phone line to DES.  I have also attached a completed version of the form to illustrate how the form should be completed.   The “UI call back” form is located on the COVID-19 Q&A page, there will be a bookmark at the top of the page that will take you to the form.  Email the completed form to Jeffrey.Forrester@labor.mo.gov.  DES will have a claims center staff contact the claimant within 24 to 48 hours.    03-27-2020
     

COVID-19 Resources for the Job Center

DOCUMENT DATE ADDED
Example of claimant with Self Employment ONLY in the Base Period 04-03-2020

Federal Legislation (How will it affect me? Will I qualify? When do I get the $600 or I’m self-employed/gig worker/contractor):

Since Missouri signed an agreement with the US Department of Labor on Saturday, March 28, 2020, regarding the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act, the $600 federal supplement for those that are unemployed will be effective the week starting March 29, 2020, for those filing their unemployment payment requests this week.  These monies will get paid retroactively for claims filed on or after March 29, 2020, after the federal government issues guidance and releases those funds.  The Missouri Department of Labor is awaiting USDOL guidance so that it can fully implement the other changes made by the new law. Once guidance is received, an announcement will be made through news outlets and on the department website at http://labor.mo.gov/coronavirus. Check the website often for updates and other frequently asked questions about coronavirus-related unemployment. 

My UInteract ID or Password needs reset:

Take their name, phone number, last four digits of their social and send email to esuiclaims@labor.mo.gov – in Subject line note “username/password reset” then send.  (DES staff is currently working with ITSD to redirect these individuals through the UInteract system – offering an email option for assistance and hopefully reduce calls.) 

Need to file an unemployment claim (first time or existing):

Caller may file a claim online at www.uninteract.labor.mo.gov (shows video for first time users).  UInteract is available 24/7 and is mobile friendly. 

Needs assistance in filing a claim or has other questions/issues:

Encourage them to email esuiclaims@labor.mo.gov for assistance and include their name, phone number, last 4 digits of their social security number and their question/issue and a specialist will return their call in the order in which requests are received.

04-03-2020
Coronavirus and Unemployment 03-30-2020
Claimant Point of View Screen Shots 03-30-2020
https://labor.mo.gov/coronavirus 03-27-202

Mass Claim Instructions

Mass Claim Example

03/27/2020
Employee Claim Instructions 03/27/2020
The Shared Work Unemployment Compensation Program is an alternative to layoffs for employers faced with a reduction in available work. It allows an employer to divide the available work among a specified group of affected employees instead of a layoff. These employees receive a portion of their unemployment benefits while working reduced hours. To participate, an employer must complete an application for the affected unit within the company, and submit it to the Division of Employment Security (DES) for approval. For more information: https://labor.mo.gov/shared-work 03-26-2020
American Sign Language Coronavirus Hotline& Resource Center 03-26-2020
COVID-19 Call with Job Centers 03-13-2020
Novel Coronavirus Fact Sheet 03-13-2020
COVID-19 Symptoms 03-13-2020
Sign for Job Center Doors 03-13-2020
Stop the Spread of Germs 03-13-2020
Wash Your Hands Poster (English) 03-13-2020
Not all computer wipes disinfect, please be sure to check the label. If they do not disinfect, a disinfectant wipe is acceptable to use on computer monitor screens, with the exception of Clorox wipes.  Anything containing bleach could damage the screen. 

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