The Grant County Economic Development Council looked at unemployment rates and unemployment benefits options at their meeting on Dec. 29.

Grant County’s unemployment rate for November, 2020 was 7.2%. This was higher than October’s 5.1% and higher than the 6.5% reported rate for November, 2019.

The council went over the available and expanded unemployment benefits available to Washingtonians. Some of the expanded unemployment benefits include:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): a separate benefit program that provides a financial safety net to many people who do not qualify for regular unemployment, including: Self-employed people, independent contractors, part-time workers (with fewer than 680 hours). It is available Feb. 2, 2020 - March 13, 2021.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): an extension of regular unemployment benefits that is available March 29, 2020 - March 13, 2021. It provides additional weeks of benefits on top of your regular unemployment benefits.

Expanded Benefits (EB): provides up to 20 extra weeks after you have used up your regular unemployment and PEUC benefits. On Dec. 13, the maximum number of extra weeks for EB changed from 20 to 13.

They also discussed the SharedWork program through Washington’s Employment Security Department. SharedWork is a voluntary business sustainability program that provides flexibility to retain employees at reduced hours. Washington’s SharedWork program helps businesses and employers avoid layoffs by paying employees partial unemployment benefits when their work hours are reduced. For more information visit: https://esd.wa.gov/SharedWork/library/SharedWork-overview

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