On September 6, 2021, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards signed and issued Emergency Proclamation 170 JBE 2021 (the “Proclamation”) designed to provide assistance to certain groups affected by Hurricane Ida, including a temporary suspension of certain deadlines and requirements relating to unemployment insurance as well as the temporary suspension of legal deadlines applicable to legal proceedings in all courts, administrative agencies, and boards.
This Proclamation follows Emergency Proclamation 165 JBE 2021, which declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Ida.
The suspension of legal deadlines is similar to the previous suspensions that occurred in 2020 in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The suspension is broad reaching, affecting prescription for filing legal claims, discovery deadlines, and all other deadlines set forth in the Louisiana Civil Code, Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure, Louisiana Children’s Code, and many provisions of Louisiana’s revised statutes. Deadlines are suspended until September 24, 2021.
In addition to the suspension of legal deadlines, the Proclamation suspends some requirements relating to certain unemployment benefit claims resulting directly from the effects of Hurricane Ida. Due to the suspensions in the Proclamation, certain hurricane related claims are temporarily prevented from being charged against employers, and certain requirements that unemployment claimants register and search for work (although claimants must still be able and available to work) are suspended. In addition, the one-week waiting period for claimants is suspended, allowing claimants to begin receiving benefits immediately. Further, claimants are temporarily relieved from avoiding certain disqualifiers before receiving benefits. Usually a claimant could be disqualified for: leaving his previous employment without “good cause” or being discharged from his prior employment for “misconduct”. These disqualifiers are temporarily suspended. Additionally, under the usual rules, if during the time period being applied for the claimant has already received or is receiving: wages, workers compensation remuneration, or receives payment for vacation time, severance pay, or dismissal pay then the claimant would normally be prevented from recovering unemployment payments during the time period corresponding with the payments being received, however, under the Proclamation these disqualifiers are temporarily suspended.
The Proclamation also contains a provision requiring hotels, motels, and other places of lodging to prioritize lodging for first responders, healthcare workers, and other individuals performing emergency related tasks.
These provisions expire on September 24, 2021 as written.