The South Dakota Department of Labor & Regulation has provided various resources, guides, handbooks, scenarios, and videos on their website to help employers and employees with questions related to reemployment assistance and COVID-19.  Please note that during 2019 legislative session, the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Division was renamed the Reemployment Assistance (RA) Division.

On March 27, 2020, the RA Division presented a webinar for employers regarding reemployment assistance (unemployment insurance). Here are a few highlights from the webinar:

  • Employees who are quarantined by a medical professional or government agency, who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns, or those who test positive for COVID-19, may be eligible for reemployment assistance.
  • Work search requirements have been waived during this period.
  • The State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES) is very helpful for employers, especially in situations where there are large volume layoffs. SIDES is a website that provides a more automated data-sharing and file-tracking interface between employers and state agency networks.
  • Employers should be sure to sign up online for SIDES. Once the employer registers, claim notes are emailed.

Advice for Employers:

  • Register for SIDES (see link above).
  • All employers are strongly encouraged to write a letter and distribute to all employees that you plan to lay off. The letter should: define layoff as tied to COVID-19; a reduction of hours, or temporary layoff with tentative callback date (dated 10 weeks from day of layoff). Also include a note that if the business is able to reopen and resume work hours prior to callback date, refusal to return may result in loss of benefits.
  • Consider requiring staff to use paid leave first.
  • Laid-off workers will receive an average of 50% of weekly wage; maximum of $414/week.
  • Part-time employees may possibly be eligible as well as individuals with reduced hours.

What Advice Should Employers Give Employees?

  • File individual claims online.
  • Be prepared to provide your social security number, drivers license or state ID, and 18 months’ work history (each employer’s name, address, phone number; dates of employment; pay rate; reason you are no longer working for the employer).
  • Request direct deposit when prompted.
  • Don’t panic; claims can be back dated.
  • Information will be confirmed with employer.

The updated Families First Coronavirus Reponse Act (FFCRA) poster is now available on the Department of Labor website. Employers should print off this poster and display it in a  conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

As circumstances around COVID-19 progresses, laws will continue to change and the information and guidance provided in this email is subject to change. For questions on reemployment assistance, we strongly encourage you to contact the South Dakota Department of Labor Reemployment Assistance Division at 605.626.2301 or by email at

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