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Here’s what you can do if you’ve lost your El Paso job because of coronavirus

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Tens of thousands of El Pasoans are likely to lose their jobs in the coming weeks as businesses close or drastically scale back because of the coronavirus pandemic. State and regional workforce offices are offering quicker unemployment benefits and trying to place some people in new jobs.

What to know about filing for unemployment

“As of right now, if employees find themselves laid off, they can file for unemployment benefits via twc.texas.gov. When they process their application, they have the option to select a disaster and covid-19 specifically as the reason for the layoff. If indeed this is the reason for their layoff, this will provide them with expedited unemployment benefits,” said Leila Melendez, CEO of Workforce Solutions Borderplex in El Paso.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced on Twitter Tuesday evening that he was waiving the normal 10-day “investigation period” for people seeking unemployment benefits.

“We want you to get your benefits ASAP,” Abbott said. 

Finding an alternative or temporary job

Some businesses are expected to add jobs during the coronavirus crisis, which might be an alternative to filing for unemployment for some displaced workers, Melendez said.

“For those folks that don’t want to file for unemployment benefits and would prefer to work in another job, perhaps even temporarily if they anticipate going back to their regular job, they can create a free profile in www.WorkInTexas.com. That is our database that we use to match worker and employers,” she said. “We are hearing some industries that are looking for workers including janitorial services, call centers, and delivery services. These jobs are great alternatives to filing for unemployment.”

Additional information for workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic can be found at http://www.borderplexjobs.com/.

Know your rights as a worker

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid offers information on the rights of workers during the pandemic.

Click here for El Paso Matters’ ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Robert Moore

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986. His work has received a number of top journalism honors including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, Pulitzer Prize finalist and the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award. Moore’s work has appeared in the Washington Post, Texas Monthly, ProPublica, National Public Radio, The Guardian and other publications. He has been featured as an expert on border issues by CNN, MSNBC, BBC, CBC and PBS.

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