By Troy Torres
Residents of the CNMI, who are working reduced hours, have not been disqualified from unemployment pay as their Guam counterparts have been.
"PUA is available for individuals who have lost their jobs, had their regular work hours reduced, or were self-employed individuals but are no longer able to work as a direct result of COVID-19," the CNMI Department of Labor states.
CNMI Labor officials confirm the guidance remains for applications made in 2021.
"Individuals who are self-employed, those seeking part-time employment, or individuals who were about to start a job but could not begin work because of COVID-19 are also eligible for PUA and FPUC," another part of the CNMI guidance reads.
The guidance directly contradicts guidance being implemented to the south by the Guam Department of Labor. Guam labor officials today doubled down on the implementation of federal guidelines that those underemployed working reduced hours will no longer be eligible for pandemic unemployment assistance and federal pandemic unemployment compensation.
The guidance, which appears to be applied only on Guam, disqualifies thousands of Guam workers who previously benefitted from the unemployment assistance programs.
Congressman Michael San Nicolas has pointed out the guidelines's inconsistency with federal law and advised the Leon Guerrero administration not to jump the gun by implementing what he and other members of Congress see as bad advice from the U.S. Department of Labor.
Guidelines on the implementation of PUA and FPUC in the CNMI may be found here.