By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) Over the past week, Congressman Michael San Nicolas began pushing Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to apply for federal funding for unemployment assistance for Guam residents.
Today Sen. Regine Biscoe Lee has announced that the government of Guam soon will be applying for assistance for Guam's workers displaced by the COVID-19 emergency.
The following is a news release from Ms. Lee:
GovGuam will soon be applying for its first COVID-19 related unemployment benefits grant, and the public can help.As much as $100 million will be available nationally through Disaster Dislocated Worker grants (DWGs). Guam Department of Labor (GDOL) is preparing to request for the island's share of these funds, according to Senator Régine Biscoe Lee, the 35th Guam Legislature's oversight chair on labor.
“Every day that passes more workers are getting hours cut, or are just being sent home without pay. The first step to receiving local unemployment benefits is to provide necessary local data to our federal partners. I want to thank the Guam Department of Labor for staying on top of this critical issue, and for reaching out to the public for information to help with any grant applications that tie funds with documented job loss,” Senator Lee said. “Please, if you are a business owner or employee affected by this pandemic, get in touch with GDOL.”
GDOL is now seeking information from both businesses and workers to maximize Guam's eligibility for this federal assistance. U.S. Department of Labor reports that states and territories can only apply for Employment Recovery Dislocated Worker Grants if either of the following events occur locally:
50 or more individuals are laid off by one employer; or
Significant layoffs that increase unemployment in a given community, even if the total layoffs are fewer than 50 individuals.
The federally-funded program will provide eligible participants with both disaster-relief employment and employment and training activities. These participants can include dislocated workers, workers who were laid-off as a result of the disaster, self-employed individuals who are unemployed or underemployed as a result of the disaster, and long-term unemployed individuals.
Eligible entities can also apply for Employment Recovery DWGs in response to layoffs caused by cancellations or shutdowns caused by COVID-19. Employment Recovery DWGs will provide employment and training services to reintegrate eligible individuals back into the workforce.
Workers who have been furloughed or businesses that had to lay off employees can reach GDOL by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Sharing the following information will help maximize the funds requested for the Disaster Dislocated Worker Grant and for future funding opportunities being weighed by Congress and the Trump administration:
For individual employees: Name of employer that issued furlough or layoff
For business owners or managers:
Employer name and location
Number of employees laid off or are anticipated to be laid off
Anticipated date and length of layoffs (e.g. 1 to 2 weeks, 3 to 4 weeks, or unknown at this time)
Number of employees with reduced work hours or anticipated number of employees with reduced work hours
When hours were reduced or anticipated date to implement reduced hours
Specifics on reduced work week imposed (e.g. reduce to 32 hours per week, 20 hours per week, 10 hours per week, or unknown at this time)
Duration of reduced hours (e.g. 1 to 2 weeks, 3 to 4 weeks, or unknown at this time)
“Minimizing our in-person interactions is a proven way to limit the spread of COVID-19. But that doesn't mean our government or our people are powerless to act in the meantime. Please email GDOL if you are an affected worker or business. The information shared will go a long way to helping as many families as possible,” Senator Lee said.