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Unemployment spikes in Iowa due to coronavirus

The Iowa Workforce Development released a graph showing the drastic spike.

DES MOINES, Iowa — There were more than 58,000 claims for unemployment here in Iowa last week alone.

Local 5's Matthew Judy spoke with an employment lawyer Thursday who has handled a lot of cases recently. 

This is from the Iowa Workforce Development. 

Credit: Iowa Workforce Development

That spike at the end, is the last two weeks.

For reference, those shaded areas are times of recession.

So you can see how unprecedented this time is. I spoke with an employment lawyer who said more people are eligible for unemployment now than ever before. 

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"One thing that is different now due to the CARES Act that was passed by congress and signed by President Trump, you can be eligible for unemployment even if you're self employed, an independent contractor or a member of the gig economy," unemployment lawyer Stuart Higgins said. 

If you're looking to apply for unemployment go to iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov

Now what about if you're still employed but you aren't sure if it is safe for work.

Well this is where it gets a little murky, but there is some good news if you've been recommended for self quarantine. 

"That does require under certain circumstances for an employer to provide paid leave if the leave is necessitated by an isolation recommendation from a doctor or public health official," Higgins said. 

There's a great Q&A on the Iowa Workforce Development website.

It answers all kinds of questions about unemployment, plus what you can do if you're not showing symptoms of COVID-19 but are worried about going to work.

If you have any more questions, the Iowa State Bar Association and Polk County Volunteer Lawyers project has started a hotline at 1-800-332-0419 for issues related to evictions, foreclosures, employment, child custody, living wills, and more.

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