In the past week, an enormous number of people all over the world are losing their jobs because of the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
Portland is no exception: The governor's orders to close restaurants, bars and venues have added to a wave of layoffs. On March 17, the hotel, restaurant and pub chain McMenamins laid off 3,000 people.
The news is not all bad. Because of an economic expansion that lasted for more than a decade and contributed to record low unemployment, the Oregon Employment Department is flush with cash. Here's what you need to know.
1. If you are a payroll employee, as most workers are, and you lose your job for economic reasons, you are eligible to file for benefits with the Employment Department right away. There is typically a one-week waiting period to establish your benefits and then the money starts to flow. A typical benefit is about 60 percent of your base pay, but that can vary depending on circumstances.
2. If your employer is closing permanently, you need to begin looking for work to keep your benefits. But if the layoff is temporary—i.e., your employer expects it to last less than a month—you do not need to look for another job to remain eligible.
3. Unemployed workers can collect benefits for up to 26 weeks before filing new claims. "Our trust fund is solvent and Oregon is one of the very few states that didn't run out of unemployment reserves in the Great Recession," says department spokeswoman Gail Krumenauer.