Covid-19 FAQs

We will be continuing to update this page as more questions come in. If you have a question related to Covid-19 and employment, please email our ‘hotline’ at

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  • I have browsed the NY paid sick leave act as well as the EPSLA but so far I do not see any protections for part-time workers. My workplace is small (4 people) so I could see some barriers that my employer faces in attaining relief as well but for me, I only work 12-16 hours a week as I am a full-time student. This income however is crucial to my ability to pay for food and other essential costs and due to COVID-19 I was laid off. In addition to this part time work, I also do nannying work which also is no longer possible due to health guidelines. Is there any benefit or paid sick leave I can apply for?

Yes, you are eligible for unemployment. Part-time workers have always been eligible, and independent contractors are newly eligible. You will get up to ~$500/ week depending on income, plus $600 a week independent of your income, beginning April 5th for up to 4 months.

  • As soon as the crisis started and people were requested to quarantine, all my [outside the home] gigs were canceled. My child and I are stuck at home and even if i wanted to take jobs, I would not be able to bring them or leave them alone, adding the fact that the demand is almost zero now. Under the CareAct can I apply for both EPSLS and Freelancer Unemployment UC for being unable to do freelancer work after my kid's school closed and it is just us and also my safety could be compromised because of the nature of the work.

Definitely apply for unemployment right away, but you cannot apply for both unemployment and any sick leave. If you have other business expenses you need covered, you can apply for the various grants for those; but you can’t “double dip” i.e. you can’t use the grants to pay yourself if you are collecting unemployment. And if you are collecting unemployment you have to certify that there’s really no work you are able to do. So just be careful and figure out if there is work for you to do or if there’s really nothing you can do.

  • Why would an employer challenge unemployment eligibility? The employer doesn't pay do they?

Not out of pocket, but their premiums go up.

  • Can I qualify for unemployment benefits if I am reduced to part-time?

New York State does pay partial benefits so you will be able to receive some benefits if you apply for unemployment. While collecting unemployment, you can work part-time; however, according to the usual past practice, you must work less than four days a week, earning less than $504 to receive unemployment benefits. The following groups are not eligible for unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic: Workers who are able to do their jobs remotely. Workers who are on paid sick or family leave. Workers who quit their jobs for reasons other than COVID-19.

  • Do I need proof from my employer when filing for unemployment insurance?


  • Is the CARES Act extra $600 automatic or do you need to apply - and does that depend on income?

The extra $600 is automatic and does not depend on income.