Last week, the Kentucky legislature passed an emergency COVID-19 law, which Governor Andy Beshear signed on March 30th, and made it effective immediately. The new law addresses several COVID-19-related issues that are relevant to the workplace.
Business Licensing Requirements Loosened
The new law grants the governor permission to direct any administrative body to suspend or waive administrative or licensing fees for businesses who have been closed or whose business has been altered by COVID-19. This includes renewal and application fees and other administrative obligations. These suspensions may last through the duration of the state of emergency, which was issued by the governor on March 6, 2020.
Unemployment Insurance Provisions
On March 16th, Governor Beshear issued an Executive Order waiving the one-week waiting period unemployment claimants must typically wait before being eligible to receive benefits. The new law suspends the “waiting week” throughout the duration of the state of emergency.
In addition, the bill expands coverage of unemployment benefits to those who are self-insured and the self-employed. Finally, employees who have not been terminated or laid off but have had their hours reduced are now eligible to receive unemployment benefits. The bill specifies it applies to those who “have experienced a reduction in work hours of more than 10% but less than 60%.”