• December 2, 2020
 Texas RioGrande Legal Aid helping residents with COVID-19 related employment questions

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid helping residents with COVID-19 related employment questions

As millions of people in Texas have filed for unemployment, and numbers expected to increase in this Thursday’s Department of Labor report, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) stands ready to help.

While low-wage workers are the most likely to suffer from the impacts of coronavirus, TRLA is available to help as they navigate their employment issues during the pandemic.

TRLA attorneys can help low-wage workers understand their rights in the workplace under coronavirus, assist the recently unemployed, and provide resources for workers balancing their job and family with increasingly restrictive social policies. This includes the following issues, but isn’t limited to:

  • Unemployment benefits:
    • Workers affected by COVID-19 may now qualify for an additional $600 per week on top of their regular unemployment benefits, until July 31, 2020.
    • Eligible workers now include independent contractors, gig workers like rideshare drivers, and people who had already used up their 26 weeks of unemployment benefits.
    • To get benefits, you must complete an application with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). TWC has said that workers may be eligible to have their applications backdated to the time of their layoff due to system delays caused by so many people applying for benefits at this time.
  • Things your employer can and can’t do because of COVID-19
  • Staying safe at work during coronavirus
  • Navigating the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
  • Tax Credits for Self-Employed Workers
  • Americans with Disabilities Act
  • How to comply with a shelter-in-place or stay-at-home order

TRLA developed extensive resources specific to these issues, which can be found online. TRLA attorneys are available to speak to the media (in English and Spanish) to provide accurate and timely information on the services available to people facing a variety of personal and financial crises created – or worsened – by the pandemic.

“Workers in border regions like El Paso and the RioGrande Valley are especially feeling the economic impact of the coronavirus” said Blanca Delgado with Border Workers United. “It’s especially important in this moment for workers to know their rights, which is why we’re so grateful for TRLA’s support in navigating employment issues.”

Texas RioGrande Legal Aid provides free legal services to people who cannot afford an attorney in 68 southwestern counties including the entire Texas-Mexico border. TRLA attorneys specialize in more than 45 areas of the law, including disaster assistance, family, employment, foreclosure, bankruptcy, landlord-tenant, housing, education, immigration, farmworker, civil rights, and environmental law.

“Many working people and their families in the Rio Grande Valley are suffering because they no longer have work,” said Christina Patiño Houle with the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network. “TRLA is providing a critical service for workers. Anyone with questions should reach out to TRLA for help.”

Their hotline is open from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (CST) Monday – Friday: (888) 988-9996.

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