On April 20, 2020, Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 134, authorizing employers to make COVID-19 Support Payments to furloughed employees (employees performing no work for an employer) without reducing or delaying employees’ unemployment benefits if certain conditions are met. “COVID-19 Support Payments” are defined as voluntary payments to the employee where there is no obligation to repay or perform work in exchange for the payments and they are made pursuant to a COVID-19 Support Payment Plan filed by the employer with North Carolina Division of Employment Security (NCDES). These payments do not obligate the employee to return to work for the employer, and the employer is under no obligation to make the payments identified in the Plan. In order to qualify, employers must submit employer-filed unemployment insurance claims for each employee receiving COVID-19 Support Payments. Additional guidance on the COVID-19 Support Payment Plans and other forms will be published on NCDES’s website.