The CNMI Department of Labor has determined to pay all CNMI Public School System teachers who received their summer pay lump sum except on the week it was received. PSS urged everyone affected to stay tuned for the CNMI DOL press release addressing further details and more specifically the summer pay of our 190-day contract employees.
“We hope the press release will answer your inquiries and as always thank you for your patience and understanding,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Alfred B. Ada in a statement issued last night.
Later last night, CNMI DOL said it received clarification yesterday from the U.S. Department of Labor – Employment and Training Administration regarding the eligibility PSS staff for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
Certain school employees fall under PUA/FPUC applicant categories that require special considerations. In a telephone conference yesterday, USDOL-ETA validated that some PSS staff who were furloughed as a result of COVID-19 could potentially qualify for full PUA/FPUC benefits starting April 15, 2020.
Additionally, USDOL-ETA validated that PSS employees who signed certified 190-day employment contracts and were furloughed as a result of COVID-19 could potentially qualify for full benefits from April 15, 2020, through June 15, 2020, and partial benefits from June 16, 2020, through Aug. 26, 2020, contingent on an earnings review conducted by CNMI DOL.
“Gov. [Ralph DLG] Torres, Lt. Gov. [Arnold I.] Palacios, and I have believed from the start that PSS teachers and staff who have been affected by COVID-19 should receive assistance through PUA and FPUC, and we thank USDOL for providing this clarification so that we can meet our goal in helping our educators,” said Labor Secretary Vicky Benavente. “We will continue to work with PSS leadership with their employee claims. Additionally, Gov. Torres, Lt. Gov. Palacios, and I will also continue our work in processing our furloughed government employees to ensure they get their assistance as well.”
In a press release last night, DOL noted that all PUA/FPUC claims are processed on an individual case-by-case basis. “The information contained in this press release only concerns certain PSS employees and may be subject to change upon guidance from USDOL-ETA,” the press release added. (PR)