SAIPAN TRIBUNE, 13 APRIL 2020 (SAIPAN TRIBUNE)—In addition to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance(PUA) programme, the U.S. Department of Labour’s Employment and Training Administration has confirmed that the CNMI is also eligible for the Federal Unemployment Compensation programme.

Under the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, the FPUC programme provides eligible individuals US$600 per week in addition to the benefits authorised by the PUA programme.

“The COVID-19 global pandemic has been hurting the global economy over the last several weeks, but here in the CNMI, our economy has been hurting since February,” said Governor Ralph DLG Torres on Saturday. “This news that the CNMI and the U.S. territories are now eligible for the Federal Unemployment Compensation programme is much needed for the many employees in our economy that have been terminated, furloughed, or have had their hours reduced.”

“[CNMI Labor] Secretary [Vicky] Benavente and her hard-working team at Labor are in calls with USDOL every day to get additional confirmation on eligibility for our government employees. We remain optimistic that we will be able to take care of our government and the many private sector employees who have been affected by no fault of their own. We ask the entire community to wait for official guidance from my office and CNMI DOL on these programmes and to find out who is eligible. We are working around the clock for everyone on this important assistance,” Torres added.

Benavente was informed Saturday of the CNMI’s eligibility for FPUC by USDOL ETA Steve Malliaras, from the San Francisco Regional Office.  “The notification from USDOL is one of the clarifications that we requested in order to move forward with the PUA programme,” said Benavente.  “There are still a few things we are coordinating with the U.S. Department of Labor, and we are grateful for their continued technical assistance.”

As soon as the eligibility requirements, benefits, and other information applicable to the CNMI is provided by USDOL, CNMI DOL will be the primary agency in announcing the program and will specify the date, time, location, telephone numbers, and email addresses for the submission of a PUA and/or FPUC application.

CNMI DOL is recommending that individuals who are planning to apply for the PUA/FPUC programme should prepare their documents ahead of time. The documents include a certification letter from their employer, a valid ID with photo, passport, copies of the latest paycheck stubs, and Social Security number.

The certification letter must state the employee’s name, title, wages, and schedule of the regular working hours, and the number of reduced hours, before the layoff or termination.

The CNMI DOL offices, like most of the government offices on Capital Hill, have been closed as part of the COVID-19 response. These offices will remain closed until further notice on the PUA application.

Residents are advised to continue following updates regarding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation programme through announcements from the CNMI Office of the Governor….PACNEWS