COVID-19 has ravaged the hair industry. From salon owners to independent professionals, everyone has taken a financial hit during these uncertain times. If you are part of this group, considering unemployment is more viable than ever. Here is what hair professionals of all levels need to know about unemployment now.
Hair professionals with flourishing businesses found themselves with empty appointment books from one day to the next during this crisis. The rate at which the virus is spread has made it impossible for professionals to see their clients in close quarters. Another variable that made this crisis particularly bad for the hair industry is the number of independent contractors and self-employed professionals in the field. Traditionally, unemployment would’ve been off-limits for these groups. This all changed on March 27, 2020 when President Trump signed the CARES Act into law. This allowed states to extend unemployment compensation to independent contractors and other gig workers who would have been excluded in the past.
Unemployment Insurance (commonly referred to as UI) is a state-federal program that offers cash benefits to qualified workers. Each state runs its own Unemployment Insurance program but they need to do so under federal law guidelines. The cash benefits Unemployment Insurance pays out are meant to be a temporary crutch for professionals who have found themselves unemployed through no fault of their own.
Laws for unemployment vary from state to state but you can find information on how you are impacted by region on this website. The first step to receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits is to file a claim in the state that you worked in. Depending on your state’s laws, you can file by phone, online, or in-person. News reports have claimed a big back-log and incredibly busy unemployment offices so start the process as soon as possible.
Make sure you gather documents regarding your past wages to prepare for your application. Dig up your old tax returns and pay stubs so you have all information at the ready.
You can find quick facts on unemployment insurance in this sheet put together by our government.