Bill McCamley, Cabinet Secretary, NM Dept of Workforce Solutions

Air Dates: April 4-6, 2020

This week’s guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Bill McCamley, Cabinet Secretary for the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions

McCamley discusses the spike in state unemployment claims caused by pandemic precautions against the coronavirus, and provides information to help simplify the claims process.

He also explains the process for distributing the federal funds soon to be released for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance,as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act (CARES Act).

These funds will aid workers who have not previously been covered by State Unemployment. People who can now collect Federal unemployment include self-employed workers and independent contractors, as well as freelance workers working in a gig economy. It will also be available to part-time workers and people working towards work experience.

Quotes Re: New Federal “Pandemic Unemployment Assistance” Bill McCamley --

“Our estimate is there are about 62,000 workers in New Mexico who work on contracts...in every community. You have Uber and Lyft drivers…self-employed contractors. You have the musicians at the Santa Fe Opera… auto mechanics that work on commission or contracts…Veterinary techs with racetracks…people that work on contract at exhibition centers and Convention Centers…or massage therapists that work at spas.”

“All of these folks are not technically employees…they’re self-employed. A hairdresser or a barber, a lot of those folks are not an employee of the facility they use…they are their own employers and employees.”

“The way that the Unemployment Trust Fund works is there is a payroll tax that employers pay into the system. So if you are “self-employed” in any of the types of categories, you haven't paid into the trust fund. So those are the types of people that we’re talking about and we're going to work very hard over the next couple of weeks to try to get a system in place where those folks can then apply for unemployment.”

“If you are self-employed, you currently do not have access to unemployment. That changed last week with the passage of the CARES Act at the federal government level. However, we're going to need a couple of weeks to both get agreements with the Department of Labor worked out and change our systems to allow people to get into the unemployment agency. And so, if you are self-employed, if you could wait for a few weeks, please be patient.”