President Barack Obama says his 787-billion-dollar stimulus bill will save or create 3 to 4 million jobs, but how fast that will happen isn't really clear, but what is clear is many people are without jobs right now.
Colorado’s unemployment rate is sitting at 6.1 percent, Mesa County at 4.6 as of December. While our rate is low, many people are looking for jobs or struggling to keep the hours they have and for those folks it's important to know your rights.
Randy Vanconett has run Accurate Construction and Excavations for 16 years and he's done it successfully but recently he had to do something he's never done before, layoff employees. Vanconett says, "In this economy it finally came to a point where we did have to do it and wow was it tough."
But Vanconett didn't just say “that's it you're out of a job”, instead he did what's called a job-attached layoff so they could still collect unemployment.
He kept them on his payroll and called them when he had work, “that way if we had projects that came up during that lay off we could use them and we did." Things are looking up for Accurate employees, they are all back on the job.
But others in the Grand Valley are struggling; they are still working, but hours and pay have been cut back. Betty Bechtel with Bechtel and Santos, a local law firm specializing in employment law says, "an employee can still have a job and yet be partially unemployed and collect unemployment while they're working." That employee must be working less than 32–hours a week and be earning less than 60–percent of their weekly benefits. You find your weekly benefit amount by taking your two highest earning quarters within the last year and averaging them out. Bechtel says, "the maximum benefit that someone can get right now is $475 a week, so if your earning more than that, then you are not going to qualify."
Betchel says if your unemployment is not job attached and you need the benefits you must prove you're willing and able to work.