BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 24.11.478 pertaining to unemployment insurance benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On January 4, 2021, at 10:00 a.m., the Department of Labor and Industry (department) will hold a public hearing via remote conferencing to consider the proposed amendment of the above-stated rule. Because there currently exists a state of emergency in Montana due to the public health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, there will be no in-person hearing. Interested parties may access the remote conferencing platform in the following ways:
a. Join Zoom Meeting, https://mt-gov.zoom.us/j/93443621511
Meeting ID: 934 4362 1511
b. Dial by telephone, +1 406 444 9999 or +1 646 558 8656,
Meeting ID: 934 4362 1511
The hearing will begin with a brief introduction by department staff to explain the use of the videoconference and telephonic platform. All participants will be muted except when it is their time to speak.
2. The department will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this public hearing or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the department no later than 5:00 p.m., on December 28, 2020, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Boris Karasch, P.O. Box 8020, Helena, Montana 59604-8020; telephone (406) 444-4676; facsimile (406) 444-2699; Montana Relay 711; or e-mail BKarasch2@mt.gov.
3. The rule as proposed to be amended provides as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
24.11.478 COVID-19 CLAIMS FOR UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE BENEFITS FOR WEEKS OF UNEMPLOYMENT BEGINNING ON OR AFTER JULY 12, 2020 (1) through (7) remain the same.
(8) A claimant who is otherwise eligible for benefits pursuant to this rule is deemed to have fulfilled the waiting period as of the date the temporary layoff is effective.
(9) and (10) remain the same but are renumbered (8) and (9).
AUTH: 39-51-301, 39-51-302, MCA
IMP: 39-51-102, 39-51-301, 39-51-501, MCA
Statement of reasonable necessity: There is reasonable necessity to amend ARM 24.11.478(8) by reinstating the traditional "waiting week" because it appears that Congress will not be enacting legislation that encourages states to continue to waive the waiting week as the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to affect the Montana and national economy. The waiver of the waiting week was instituted in light of section 2105 of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and advice provided to the states by the U.S. Department of Labor. Section 2105 of the CARES Act, by its terms, will not apply to weeks of unemployment that end on or after December 31, 2020. Section 2105 of the CARES Act provides for full federal funding of unemployment insurance benefits provided when the waiting week has been waived. In light of the pending loss of federal funding for a waived waiting week, and the decreasing likelihood of timely Congressional action to extend or supplement the CARES Act prior to December 31, 2020, the department concludes that there is reasonable necessity to amend ARM 24.11.478 to remove the waiver of the waiting week.
4. Concerned persons may present their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to Boris Karasch, Unemployment Insurance Division, P.O. Box 8020, Helena, MT 59604-8020; fax (406) 444-2699; or e-mail to BKarasch2@mt.gov and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., on January 11, 2021.
5. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request, which includes the name and e-mail or mailing address of the person to receive notices, and specifies the particular subject matter or matters regarding which the person wishes to receive notices. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the Department of Labor and Industry, attention: Office of Legal Services, Department of Labor and Industry, 1315 E. Lockey Avenue, P.O. Box 1728, Helena, Montana 59624-1728, faxed to the department at (406) 444-1394, or e-mailed to Laura.Ducolon@mt.gov, or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the agency. Please note that the above fax number and e-mail address are not to be used for asking questions about unemployment insurance claims or the application of unemployment compensation rules.
6. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.
7. Pursuant to 2-4-111, MCA, the department has determined that the rule changes proposed in this notice will not have a significant and direct impact upon small businesses.
8. The department's Office of Administrative Hearings has been designated to preside over and conduct this hearing.
/s/ MARK CADWALLADER
Alternate Rule Reviewer
/s/ BRENDA NORDLUND
Brenda Nordlund, Acting Commissioner
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
Certified to the Secretary of State December 1, 2020.