Learn about up to date information about unemployment benefits, federal and state guidelines, programs and initiatives, and more.
Unemployment benefits will be available to all Montanans who are sick, quarantined, or laid off because of the COVID-19 outbreak. DLI has set up a streamlined process and is waiving the usual 1 week waiting period to receive benefits. Visit: or call 444-2545.
• Note: DLI Unemployment is experiencing an unprecedented call volume to their unemployment insurance claims processing helpline and the agency is working hard to provide service to everyone. Please be patient.
• Unless you have received official notification from Unemployment Insurance that you must call the call center, please search for your answer at dli.mt.gov/employer-covid19 in order to free up phone lines for folks who are required to call in.
• If you are out of work or on reduced hours due to COVID-19, we encourage you to submit an unemployment insurance claim. Applicants can submit online at MontanaWorks.gov.
• The Federal CARES Act will also allow eligible individuals to collect unemployment to receive an additional $600 per week. Please see at dli.mt.gov/cares-act for further guidance.
• Self-employed, independent contractors, and others- Under the CARES Act will expand Unemployment Insurance Benefits to those not traditionally covered, including the self-employed, independent contractors, and others.
• Note: DLI has received some guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on the administration of this new program and is awaiting complete details, but they are still working through details and implementing steps to process claims. They are prepared to backdate unemployment assistance claims authorized under the CARES Act.
• Employers- If you have questions about unemployment as an employer, please visit
Resource Guide for Montana Employers and Employees
The COVID-19 emergency is now impacting the work and personal lives of Montanans throughout our state. The Montana Department of Labor & Industry is closely following the changing dynamics and policies at the state and federal level.
The Families First Coronavirus
On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) published its first round of implementation guidance pursuant to the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). The guidance addresses critical questions such as:
How does an employer count its number of employees to determine coverage?
How can small businesses obtain an exemption?
How does an employer count hours for part-time employees?
How does an employer calculate wages employees are entitled to under the FFCRA?
The initial WHD guidance is available in three-parts:
Additionally, employers may be required to display posters in the workplace that inform workers of their rights under the FFCRA. Please find the posters and additional guidance here.
U.S. Department of Labor Announcement on Provisions of The Family First Coronavirus Response Act
Congressional Research Service Summary of Paid Leave and Unemployment Provisions in H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Federal lawmakers have passed the CARES Act, a COVID-19 stimulus bill that will expand Unemployment Insurance Benefits to those not traditionally covered, including the self-employed, independent contractors, and others. The Montana Department of Labor & Industry has received some guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor on the administration of this new program, and we are awaiting complete details. Based on the information released from the federal government, we are diligently implementing significant IT system changes to start processing claims under the expanded program. We are prepared to backdate unemployment assistance claims authorized under the CARES Act, to the week of March 15th, consistent with the onset of local and state social distancing directives and Governor Bullock’s “Stay at Home” directive.
We encourage anyone who has experienced job loss due to COVID-19 to file a claim for unemployment. Your claim request will then be in our system in a pending status. As we implement IT programming changes, we will move your claim through the UI process. We appreciate your patience and will continue to broadly share announcements as information becomes available. This information is intended as general information only and does not carry the force of legal opinion.
Workplace Safety and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA):
Temporary OSHA Guidance on Respiratory Protection Standard – This guidance provides suggestions and options to help increase the availability of N95 filtering facepiece respirators for healthcare providers.
COVID-19 Webpage – Provides infection prevention information specifically for employers and workers.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
Questions and Answers
Support for Dislocated Workers and States
The Employment and Training Administration announced the availability of up to $100 million in National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grants to help states, territories, and tribal governments respond to the workforce-related impacts of COVID-19.
Job Corps Students
The Employment and Training Administration announced that it is initiating a break for students at all 121 Job Corps centers from March 16 through April 14, 2020. The spring break period may be extended beyond April 14, 2020.
Injured Federal Workers
The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has published guidance for federal employees outlining Federal Employees’ Compensation Act coverage as it relates to the novel coronavirus.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has issued a National Interest Exemption to facilitate response efforts for COVID-19.
Foreign Labor Certification
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19.
Flexibilities for Mine Operators
The Mine Safety and Health Administration will work with mine operators when it comes to the following recertifications:
Annual refresher training certification (30 CFR Part 46)
Surface and underground annual refresher training certification (30 CFR Part 48)
Certified person; sampling (30 CFR §§ 70/71/90.202)
Certified person; maintenance and calibration (30 CFR §§ 70/71/90.203)
Exemptions to recertifications will not be granted; however, their due dates will be extended by at least the time the government is operating under the President’s emergency declaration.
Please note: This exception does not apply to new miner training. New miners must be trained before beginning work. Once the Emergency Declaration is lifted, mine operators should work with their respective district offices to ensure that all certifications are conducted in a timely manner.
Supporting Workforce Needs in the Agricultural Sector
The U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a partnership to facilitate the identification of domestic and foreign workers that may be available to fulfill critical U.S. agricultural sector workforce needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.