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On March 20, 2020, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-11, which suspends numerous requirements for unemployment benefits for Arizona residents impacted by business closures or significant reductions in wages due to COVID-19. Both the Governor’s Order and legislation passed in the Arizona Legislature states any unemployment benefits the Arizona Department of Economic Security awards during this time will not impact an employer’s future contribution rates to the unemployment compensation fund.
Executive Order 2020-11 suspends the one-week waiting period for workers to receive unemployment benefits (A.R.S. 23-771(A)(5)), the requirement those receiving unemployment benefits be able to work (A.R.S. 23-771(A)(3)), and the requirement workers receiving unemployment benefits be actively looking for work and making regular contact with potential employers (A.R.S. 23-771(A)(4)).
Additional changes to eligibility criteria are likely coming soon. On March 19, 2020 the Arizona Senate passed SB1694, which allows the Arizona Department of Economic Security to adopt further changes to eligibility criteria for unemployment benefits. This bill is now before the Arizona House of Representatives and is expected to pass. We will follow this bill and advise of any further changes the Arizona Department of Economic Security makes to unemployment benefits.
The suspension of the requirements listed above is retroactive to March 11, 2020, the date Governor Ducey declared a Public Health State of Emergency in Arizona.
The language of Executive Order 2020-11 is available at: https://azgovernor.gov/executive-orders
AWD LAW® attorneys Kate Mahady and Monica Pertea provide legal counseling in the area of employment and labor law. Please contact them if you have questions or concerns about these new changes. Kate can be reached at KMahady@awdlaw.com, and Monica can be reached at MPertea@awdlaw.com. Our number is (928) 774-1478.