Unemployed workers in Oregon and many other states qualify for the full $600 a week if they lose as little as 10% of their pay due to coronavirus, not only if they completely lose their jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

So Oregon’s largest district has hatched a plan to have its employees work four days a week for the remainder of this school year, and it is banking on its unionized employees agreeing to the deal. Employees would lose 20% of their pay from the district but would have that more than backfilled by receiving 20% of the weekly state unemployment benefit to which they are entitled under the state Work Share program plus the full $600 weekly federal match.

That means a teacher earning $88,000 – the top rung on the pay scale, where teachers who have master’s degrees and at least 12 years of experience are positioned – would lose about $460 a week in district pay. But that teacher would qualify for $600 a week from the federal rescue package plus about $130 from the state unemployment system. So weekly gross pay could rise from about $2,290 to about $2,565 – a raise of nearly 12% for doing less work.

Or at least that is the district’s concept, and state and federal rules appear to permit that.

This is from Betsy Hammond, “Portland Public Schools plans to furlough teachers, principals, other staffers 1 day a week–but they’d make more money, not less,” Oregonian, May 2.

HT to Dale Courtney, a student of mine at the Naval Postgraduate School in the 1990s. Dale’s aware that I’ve been writing about the absurd $600 per week federal subsidy to people who are unemployed, here and, earlier, here.

P.S. A friend, in response to my Robert Murphy interview on this, writes on Facebook:

My 26 year old daughter is working full time. My 24 year old daughter had two jobs, was laid off, and now earns $1,000 weekly, more than when she was employed. This is crazy. It’s causing a rift in this generation and tremendous resentment. They tell me half their friends now make more money unemployed.