RI’s unemployment is 2.9%- a 30 year low.

Last-reviewed: 9am, June 22, 2022

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • RI DLT is now using a new vendor for payment cards for UI and TDI recipients.
  • A new online unemployment insurance program will launch in early 2022 which will allow claimants to apply for UI online and then track their claims as it processes. More information here.
  • RI’s current unemployment rate is 2.9%. More here.

The Breakdown

  • Effective May 18, 2022 RI DLT switched payment card vendors. UI and TDI payments will be issued on Money Network Prepaid Visa ® Cards. New cards were mailed to UI and TDI claimants on or around May 11, 2022. Claimants who receive benefits through direct deposit are not impacted. More information here.
  • RI’s DLT received an unprecedented number of UI claims early on in the pandemic, creating stress on the processing system and applicants. Some UI recipients were inadvertently overpaid. Based on federal guidance, states can waive these overpayments. RI is likely to be one of these states. RI DLT will continue to investigate fraudulent claims.
  • A federal vaccine mandate applies only to workers in health care facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid. Private employers can implement their own vaccine mandates. See OSHA for more information. 
RI Paid Leave

RI offers workers several options for paid leave that can be used in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information here.

  • Rhode Island Sick and Safe Leave (ESP)
    • With some exceptions most part-time, full-time, seasonal, temporary or other employees who work primarily in Rhode Island can earn one paid hour off for every 35 hours worked.
  • Temporary Disability Insurance provides up to 30 weeks of benefits for employees who have been injured or become ill and offers up to 60% of wages (plus dependent benefits)
    • To claim TDI if you have COVID-19, a person needs:
      • Proof of a positive COVID test and
      • A doctor’s note if the claim lasts longer than 2 weeks.
    • To claim TDI if you were directed to quarantine, a person needs:
      • Proof or documentation of the quarantine requirement and
      • For claims lasting longer than 2 weeks, a doctor’s note.
  • Temporary Caregivers Insurance provides 5 weeks of paid leave for people providing caregiving to a seriously ill family member (or to bond with an infant or foster child placed within the last 12 months).
    • To claim TCI for being the primary caregiver of a family member with COVID-19, a person needs:
      • Record of a positive test and
      • For claims lasting longer than 2 weeks, a doctor’s note.
    • To claim TCI for being a primary caregiver of a family member directed to quarantine, a person needs:
      • Proof of the requirement to quarantine, and
      • For claims lasting longer than 2 weeks, a doctor’s note.
Unpaid Leave
  • Under Federal and State Family Medical Leave Acts (FMLA), RI workers can receive unpaid leave to address their own illness or to provide caregiving duties. 
  • This FMLA booklet provides basic information about the leave.

The Bottom Line

  • Care teams can help people experiencing job loss by connecting them to job training and work search resources, as well as income maximization strategies. 

Spotlight on non-discrimination:

  • Care teams can help people who have been discriminated against in the workplace.
  • Employment discrimination based on national origin or race, age, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, religion, disability or the perception that one has a disability, is illegal. If a person believes they have experienced employment discrimination for these reasons, care teams can share information about:
    • the RI Commission for Human Rights, which investigates (fore free) complaints of workplace or public accommodation discrimination. Complaints can be made telephonically or electronically.
    • the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which has this publication on the workplace and the American’s with Disabilities Act, updated with COVID-19 related information.