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(1) For the purposes of this rule, the following definitions apply:

(a) "COVID-19" means the pandemic respiratory disease caused by coronavirus SAR-CoV-2, or mutations of that coronavirus.

(b) "COVID-19 quarantine" means that the claimant has received advice from a medical doctor or a public health authority recommending or requiring that the individual be isolated from others:

(i) for a period of up to 14 days in order to determine whether or not the individual has been exposed to the pathogens that cause COVID-19;

(ii) while the individual is infected with COVID-19; or

(iii) while the individual is subject to a "stay at home" or "shelter in place" order.

(c) "Family member" means a person residing in the same household as the claimant, including a partner or family member as defined in 45-5-206, MCA.

(2) A claimant directed by the employer to leave work or not report for work due to the employer's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a COVID-19 induced reduction in demand or unavailability of materials, is deemed to have been temporarily laid off by the employer.

(3) A claimant subject to a COVID-19 quarantine is deemed to be temporarily laid off by the employer during the period of the quarantine.

(4) A claimant who is a caregiver of a family member who is the subject of a COVID-19 quarantine is deemed, in order to further the public health, safety, and welfare, to also be subject to a COVID-19 quarantine.

(5) When a claimant has experienced a temporary layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pursuant to (2), (3), or (4), the claimant is deemed to be able, available, and seeking suitable work when:

(a) the employer intends to recall the claimant to work at the end of the temporary layoff; and

(b) the claimant intends to return to work when recalled by the employer and takes reasonable measures to maintain contact with the employer.

(6) A claimant laid off as the result of being subject to a COVID-19 quarantine is ineligible for benefits if the claimant refuses work that can be performed while complying with the terms of the quarantine.

(a) Specifically, claimants are advised that they will not be eligible for benefits if:

(i) they refuse to return to work when requested by the employer and suitable work can be performed in compliance with the emergency declarations and directives; or

(ii) they refuse to accept suitable work for which the claimant applies or is offered if that work can be performed in compliance with the emergency declarations and directives.

(7) Only during the duration of the emergency declarations and directives related to the COVID-19 pandemic issued by the Governor, the following apply:

(a) Regarding ARM 24.11.447, the registration and active status requirements are deemed to be fulfilled if the claimant has an account registered with MontanaWorks.com or, if filing over the phone or on paper, the department has established an account for the claimant.

(b) Regarding ARM 24.11.452A(4), a claimant is temporarily considered to be actively seeking work as long as the claimant is registered under (7)(a) of this rule.

(c) Regarding ARM 24.11.453A, a claimant is temporarily excused from the work search contact requirements of this rule in order to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.

(8) The department shall apply its usual unemployment insurance rules in a manner that is consistent with providing unemployment benefits to employees who are laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic through no fault or control of their own.

(9) This rule will not be applied to separations from employment arising after Executive Order 3-2020 is no longer in effect.


History: 39-51-301, 39-51-302, MCA; IMP, 39-51-102, 39-51-301, 39-51-501, MCA; NEW, 2020 MAR p. 1628, Eff. 8/29/20; AMD, 2021 MAR p. 120, Eff. 1/31/21.

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