“Gig” Workers Now Qualify for Unemployment Benefits Due to COVID-19


COVID-19 has forced nearly 20% of U.S. employees onto the unemployment rolls. Unemployment benefits will not make these employees whole, but the money remains crucial to those without an income.

Traditionally, unemployment benefits can only be obtained by employees, and not independent contractors (save for some exceptions, such as if an independent contractor pays into the EDD systems) like gig workers. Specifically, if you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or gig worker and are unable to work or have had your hours reduced due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits under a few different scenarios:

  • You chose to contribute to UI Elective Coverage and paid the required contributions to be considered potentially eligible for benefits.

  • Your past employer made contributions on your behalf over the past 5 to 18 months.

  • You may have been misclassified as an independent contractor instead of an employee.

If you don’t qualify for EDD benefits as under the above exceptions, Congress recently passed a law to aid gig workers called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

For more information about PUA benefits, visit the EDD at https://edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/UI_Online.htm. To apply for PUA benefits online, visit the EDD at https://edd.ca.gov/Unemployment/UI_Online.htm.

For more information about PUA benefits or any other employment-related issue, please contact Christopher Taylor at Taylor Labor Law, P.C. at (626) 219-6008 or visit www.taylorlaborlaw.com.


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