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Newsom Extends EDD Call Center Hours As Unemployment Hits Record Levels

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Sacramento, CA – Hopefully no more listening to a long menu only to be hung up on and never speaking to a human being.

That has been the experience reported to Clarke Broadcasting from several citizens trying to get help from the state’s Employment Development Departments (EDD) for the past month. As California’s unemployment number soared to 2.7 million in just a month as a result of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom signed executive order to extend the call center hours and hire new employees to answer those calls.

In all1,340 employees have been hired to the Unemployment Insurance Branch. It breaks down to 740 EDD employees and 600 employees from other state agencies. Starting Monday, April 20th the call center hours will be extended, running from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

“California is focused on getting relief dollars and unemployment assistance in the hands of those who need it as quickly as possible,” stated Newsom.

Starting Tuesday, April 28th, the EDD will also create a “one-stop-shop” for those applying for unemployment insurance and the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. Further details on this program are outlined in an earlier report here. The governor details that it includes the self-employed, ​individuals who may be employees but who lack sufficient work history and independent contractors such as gig workers. Newsom asserts that PUA benefits will be issued within 24-48 hours – not the traditional 21 days ​for regular UI claims.

“Many Californians are one paycheck away from losing their homes or from being able to put food on their tables, and COVID-19 has only made these challenges worse,” said Governor Newsom.

The Governor also directed EDD to expedite access to the Work Share program to avert layoffs. A copy of the Governor’s entire executive order can be found here.

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