• Wandro & Associates

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and Unemployment Insurance Benefits for Employers - Your Questions Answered

Updated: Apr 3

Question 1: We may experience a shut-down or layoff in response to the coronavirus. What do we need to consider?


Answer: If your business is considering a major layoff or shut-down, Iowa Workforce Development’s Dislocated Worker Program staff can help guide you through what will be a difficult process for your company and a difficult time for your employees. Our Rapid Response Team can help ensure compliance with federal regulations that apply to mass layoffs, and can provide a variety of services for your employees.

Question 2: We may need to reduce work hours; what options do we have?

Answer: Employers experiencing a slowdown in their businesses or services as a result of the COVID-19 impact on the economy may apply for the Voluntary Shared Work Program. This program allows employers to seek an alternative to layoffs — retaining their trained employees by reducing their hours and wages that can be partially offset with unemployment insurance benefits.

Visit Iowa Workforce Development's FAQ to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.

Question 3: If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a COVID-19 related business shutdown, will the employer’s unemployment taxes increase?

Answer: All unemployment claims filed and paid as a result of COVID-19 will have the charges waived for employers. This means that an employer's Tax rate will not be affected.

Question 4: If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a COVID-19-related business shutdown, can the benefits be charged to the trust fund account?

Answer: Yes. All charges will be waived.

Question 5 : Can an employer require a worker to stay home for the COVID-19’s incubation period?

Answer : Yes. The employer can require an employee to stay at home for the 14 day isolation period if they have traveled abroad or had contact with someone who visited an affected region. The employer should attempt to provide paid leave. If that is not available, your employee will be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

Question 6: I am an employer that needs to temporarily suspend operations or reduce hours for my employees to prevent the spread of the COVID-19. Would I be responsible for benefit charges for my employees who file unemployment?

Answer : No. Iowa Workforce Development will take the appropriate actions to waive the charges for those employers who are forced to do layoffs or reduce work hours for employees due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Question 7 : If I have 25 employees and need to do a temporary shutdown, do we need to file a WARN notice?

Answer: No. An employer only needs to file a WARN notice if they intend to shut down permanently. In a temporary layoff, a WARN notice would not apply.

Free Resources Available to You


Iowa Workforce Development can be reached at 1-88-848-7442.


Iowa Unemployment Insurance Handbook


U.S. Department of Labor


Center for Disease Control


Iowa Department of Public Health


Center for Disease Control Resources for Businesses and Employers

Have questions? We have answers.

Call us at (515) 281-1475 or email us at akanne@2501grand.com.

This Wandro & Associates Update is intended to inform firm clients and friends about legal developments, including recent decisions of various courts and administrative bodies. Nothing in this Practice Update should be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, and readers should not act upon the information contained in this Update without seeking the advice of legal counsel.

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