COVID-19: Layoffs & Employment


Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA)

Employment Insurance greatly expanded:

In Emergency Order #5:  Governor Sununu announced that individuals who are unable to work or who have reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have immediate access to unemployment benefits. Anyone in the following situations will now be eligible for state unemployment:  

  •  If your employer temporarily closes due to COVID-19;  
  • Individuals that need to self-quarantine or are directed to quarantine at the instruction of a health care provider, employer or government official;
  • Individuals that need to care for a family member that has COVID-19 or is under quarantine;  
  • Individuals that need to care for a dependent because of school closures, child care facility closures or other similar types of care programs; 
  • Self-employed individuals that are temporarily unable to operate their business because of any of the above-listed situations will also be eligible.
Individuals will need to file for each week of temporary unemployment and all of this can and should be done online at, or by calling 603-271-7700. 

Employees who voluntarily quit without good cause
For an employee to get unemployment insurance UI, the separation must be attributable to the employer. If they voluntarily quit, they will not be eligible for benefits. The full definition of “voluntarily quit” can be found on page 145 of the NH Employment Security Lawbook. Here is the relevant excerpt:  

Emp 503.01 Voluntary Quit Without Good Cause. 
(a) An individual shall be considered to have left the individual's work voluntarily without good cause if:
(1) Of the individual's own choice or volition the individual terminates the employee-employer relationship for a reason which is not attributable to the employer; or * * * *
Finally, here is an FAQ from NH Employment Security that addresses voluntarily quitting:

Q. I was fired / quit. Am I eligible?
A. You should first file a claim if you haven't already done so. Your claim will be assigned to a certifying officer and a determination will be made on eligibility. The Certifying Officer will contact you if he/she needs additional information before making a determination on your claim. In order for a voluntary quit to be payable, the separation must be determined attributable to the employer. In order for a discharge to be payable, it must be determined that the separation is not for misconduct connected with your work.

Notice required for layoffs of 25 or more
NH employers are required to report to the NH Dept. of Employment Security layoffs of 25 or more individuals in the same calendar week, if the layoff will last seven days or more pursuant to RSA 282-A:45-a. To report a Mass Layoff and/or Seasonal Layoff, go to, then go to the Employer section and choose the Business Compliance page. Complete the Mass Layoff/Seasonal Layoff Spreadsheet under Report a Mass Layoff/Seasonal Layoff, then FAX to (603) 447-3951. Please visit this link for more information.

OSHA Issues COVID-19 Guidance
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a comprehensive document to assist employers during this health crisis, "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19." The guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. The guidance can be accessed here.