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# Tuesday, October 15, 2013

 The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is launching its new unemployment benefits system – CONNECT – today, October 15, 2013. With the deployment of this new system, certain online actions are required of employers and third party administrators, not only for access to CONNECT, but in order for unemployment matters to continue smoothly.

 

Neither employers nor TPAs had access to the CONNECT system prior to October 15, 2013, so our clients need to now take the necessary action to ensure that we can continue to deliver unemployment services to you.  Highlights are as follows:

 

  

·         The DEO has rebranded the Unemployment Compensation Program as the Reemployment Assistance Program (RA), so all information regarding CONNECT and other unemployment matters will bear the new name.

·         The DEO mailed two letters to Florida employers.  The first one contains general information about CONNECT and login instructions (see attached.)  The second letter contains a link to CONNECT and a unique password for each employer to be able to complete the login process.  Please retain both letters.

·         The general login instructions in the first letter say an employer’s User ID for CONNECT will be the letters “e” and “p” followed by the number zero and the employer’s Reemployment Assistance Employer Account Number (EAN) – this is your state unemployment account number.  For example, if your EAN is 123456, your CONNECT User ID would be ep0123456

·         Any DEO employer letters received by Equifax Workforce Solutions have been forwarded to our clients with an insert to retain the notice and that additional information is forthcoming.

·         We are currently issuing communications to our clients, under separate cover, that contain our TPA ID number and instructions on how to log into CONNECT and designate us as your TPA and assign functions/tasks to us.

 

Details regarding CONNECT, including employer-specific information can be found at: http://www.floridajobs.org/business-growth-and-partnerships/reemployment-assistance/connect.

 

The DEO has advised that they will still mail paper unemployment documents to us via the U.S. Postal Service, and we may continue to respond to claim forms by fax and postal mail.  An online response through CONECT is not required.  The DEO has also indicated that they will be ready to go live with us on the SIDES electronic claims program in March 2014.

  

Questions regarding CONNECT login/credentials issues should be directed to the DEO Employer Contact Center at 877-846-8770.

 

 

Employer_Letter_RevisedCONNECT.pdf (183.58 KB)
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 4:36:24 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Each October 1st is the beginning of the new fiscal year (FY) for the U.S. federal government.  Because Congress failed to agree on appropriations for the FY 2014 budget by the time the FY 2013 budget ended on Monday, September 30, 2013 at 11:59 p.m., or at least pass a continuing budget resolution, a systematic temporary suspension of federal government departments and agencies has begun.

 

In the short-term, since the shutdown affects only federal agencies, minimal impact on state UI agencies is expected.  They are conducting business as usual with regard to unemployment claims, adjudications, charges, appeals/hearings, taxes, etc., so Equifax Workforce Solutions will be conducting business as usual, too.  Of course, we anticipate increased UI claim activity for federal workers who are furloughed during the shutdown, and are prepared to handle the workload.

 

Over the long-term, if Congress fails to come to a budget agreement or pass a temporary continuing budget resolution, and the "federal shutdown" continues for weeks, the primary concern for state UI agencies will be federal administrative funding - funds provided to states so they can carry out the daily claims and tax functions of the UI program.  In general, state UI agencies are currently able to continue administering the UI program with funding already allocated to them prior to October 1st; however, new funding will not be available until there is at least a continuing budget resolution.  At this time, it is not known how state UI agencies would need to respond to a lengthy federal shutdown.

 

Funding for benefit payments remains largely unchanged for regular UI, UCFE, UCX, EB and EUC - states are able to access benefit accounts to pay existing and new claimants who are eligible.  For those states taking Title XII loans in order to continue paying benefits, funds are available for at least three weeks and possibly longer.

 

We will continue to monitor the federal government shutdown and advise our clients of any pertinent information.

 

Source: UWC, Inc., USDOL

Wednesday, October 02, 2013 10:40:39 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The deadline for states to enact conforming UI Integrity laws is quickly approaching - October 21, 2013.  UI Integrity laws prohibit non-charging of unemployment benefits if an employer or their agent demonstrates a pattern of failing to provide complete and timely information to the UI agency's initial claim request.  Nearly 40 states have already passed conforming legislation, so it is more important than ever for employers to be in compliance and provide your Equifax Workforce Solutions UI Consultant with all requested information.

 

Attached is the most recent Equifax Unemployment Update on UI integrity and Compliance.

Equifax_Unemployment_July 2013.pdf (36.56 KB)
Tuesday, August 13, 2013 3:50:54 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We’re extremely excited to announce that CaseBuilderTM recently activated its 1000th client - Groupon! While exceeding activation expectations, CaseBuilder has been consistently contributing to efficient UC management, timely and accurate claims response, and very happy Equifax clients!

Working together with SIDES (State Information Data Exchange System), CaseBuilder represents a significant innovation in unemployment claims management. Designed to streamline client efforts, this service offers an intuitive user interface, including a centralized and secure dashboard, which provides increased visibility into case progression and enhanced control over the UC process.

“The CaseBuilder portal simplifies what can be a very complex and time-consuming process,” said David Sloane, senior manager, HR Operations, North America for Groupon. “In the end, it allows our HR team to focus more time supporting and developing our current employees rather than on the administrative processes associated with unemployment compliance.” With CaseBuilder, users can quickly identify and enter details for a specific claim, upload multiple documents, monitor notification priorities, and schedule representation - all from the same view.

In an environment of increasing focus on UI Integrity, CaseBuilder ensures that our clients maintain compliance with varying state regulations throughout the unemployment claims process. And we’re not stopping here…look for additional new enhancements to our UCM solution over the next several months!

Congratulations again to the CaseBuilder team on the 1000th client milestone!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 5:06:10 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
HR & Payroll | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, June 26, 2013

North Carolina's sweeping rewrite of its unemployment insurance (UI) laws takes effect on July 1, 2013. 

  

Although additional legislation is pending to make technical corrections to the impending reforms, state UI leaders have recently provided details of the changes as follows:

 

·        The maximum unemployment weekly benefit amount (WBA) decreases from $535 to $350.

·        The WBA will be calculated using the average of the last 2 completed calendar quarters in the base period (currently the total wages in the highest quarter of the base period is used.)

·        The maximum duration of unemployment benefits decreased from 26 weeks to 20 weeks.

·        A non-compensable “waiting week” will be required for each claim filed during a benefit year (currently a claimant serves only one waiting week per benefit year.)

·        A job offer paying 120% of the claimant’s WBA will be considered suitable work, after benefits have been paid for 10 weeks.

·        A claimant may qualify for UI if he or she leaves work solely due to work hours being reduced more than 50% (currently 20%) as part of a unilateral and permanent reduction in work hours.

·        There will no longer be a provision for school registration to waive severance pay.  It will now be a week-for-week delay in the payment of benefits.

·        All but two of the specific “good cause” reasons to quit employment will be eliminated.  The reasons are domestic violence and military spouse relocation.  A claimant may qualify for UI benefits, but the employer’s account will not be charged.

·        “Substantial fault” will be eliminated, which means employers must only prove misconduct where the separation issue in the unemployment claim is a discharge, i.e. conduct evincing a willful or wanton disregard of the employer’s interest…or conduct evincing carelessness or negligence…

·        The response deadline on form NCUI 500AB, Request for Separation Information from Employer, increases from 10 days to 14 days.

·        Restrictions and requirements may eliminate the ability of employers to file “Attached Claims” on behalf of workers temporarily unemployed or working reduced hours – e.g., an employer must have at least a zero account balance (or bring a negative balance to zero) and must prepay the full amount of UI benefits to be paid "Attached Workers" to the agency.

·        Effective October 21, 2013, relief of charges will be prohibited if an employer or the employer’s agent demonstrates a pattern of failing to respond timely and adequately to a written request for separation information.  A pattern will be determined if the number of untimely or inadequate responses is two or more or equal to or greater than 2% of the total requests sent to the employer during the prior year, whichever is less.  In determining adequacy of a response, the UI agency will consider what information was specifically requested, as well as provided copies of any warnings, policies, handbooks, documents, etc., pertinent to the adjudication of the claim.

·        Employers with 25 or more workers (previously 100 or more) will be required to file quarterly reports electronically in a format prescribed by the UI agency, or be subject to penalties.

·        All government reimbursing employers will be required to maintain an account balance reserve of 1% of annual reported taxable wages.  In order to build reserves, these employers must make a 1% payment for the following four quarters: Q3/2013, Q4/2013, Q1/2014, and Q2/2014.

·        Non-charge provisions for government reimbursing employers a.k.a. “120% reimbursable accounts” will be eliminated.  These employers will be issued new UI tax account numbers by the agency.  Because this change is occurring mid-year, claims, benefit charges and billings may be issued under both the old and new account numbers.

·        Non-profit reimbursing employers will no longer be able to secure their reimbursable election status by posting a surety bond or a line of credit.  They must also maintain an account balance reserve of 1% of reported annual taxable wages.  However, non-profit reimbursers with a bond or line of credit currently in effect will remain in effect until its expiration date.  Therefore, employers with bonds or lines of credit that expire 12/31/2013 must submit a payment of 1% of taxable wages on their quarterly reports for Q1-Q4/2014; and, for those that expire 12/31/2014, payments must be submitted with their quarterly reports for Q1-Q4/2015.

·        Revised tax rates, calculated under a new statutory formula, will go into effect in 2014.

 

Although not directly part of the new law reforms, federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) payments will end June 30, 2013, because the maximum WBA is set to decrease from $535 to $350.  A federal “non-reduction rule” exists which basically says EUC must stop if a state reduces benefits.

 

North Carolina has activated the following email address for employers to submit questions regarding the law changes: HB4questions@nccommerce.com.  Details can be found on the UI agency’s website at https://www.ncesc1.com/business/default.asp (scroll down to the section entitled “Employment Security Law Changes – House Bill 4.)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 5:24:03 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, May 06, 2013

Oklahoma Senate Bill 5 was signed into law on April 22, 2013.  It amends the unemployment insurance (UI) laws so that an employee of a temporary help firm may be denied UI benefits if he or she: 1)  does not contact the firm for reassignment upon completion of an assignment; 2) refuses a suitable job assignment without good cause; 3) communicates his or her decision to stop seeking assignments for any period of time; 4) becomes unavailable to accept a suitable job assignment without good cause; or, 5) accepts employment with a client of the temporary staffing firm.

 

The temporary staffing company is required to provide the worker with a document written in clear, concise language informing him or her of the statutory provisions and that benefits may be denied for failure to comply with the law requirements to contact them for reassignment.  The temporary help firm must also establish a way for temporary workers to communicate to them that their assignment has ended and of their availability for a new assignment.

 

"Good cause" is defined as a reason that is significant and would compel an average, reasonable worker, who would otherwise want a suitable assignment with a client of a temporary help firm, to fail to contact the temporary help firm, to refuse an offered assignment, or to be unavailable for assignment.

 

"Suitable job assignment" is defined as work, either full-time or part-time for one or more days or portions thereof, that is in keeping with the education, training, experience, and ability of the individual to perform.

 

We have contacted the Oklahoma UI agency for any additional details on how they will administer the law amendment, and will keep our clients apprised.

 

This law change goes into effect July 1, 2013.

Monday, May 06, 2013 2:47:31 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, April 29, 2013

UWC, Inc., a national employer advocacy organization devoted to unemployment public policy issues, is reporting the potential triggering of an additional FUTA tax increase in some states.  In addition to the FUTA credit reduction, states that continue to have outstanding Title XII loan balances are subject to a Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) add-on beginning in the fifth taxable year of any succeeding January 1st where a loan balance still exists.  In essence, the rate of the FUTA credit reduction is accelerated based on two calculations.
 
Equifax Workforce Solutions is aware of the BCR add-on under Title XII of the Social Security Act.  We have been actively keeping tabs on the BCR trigger, in conjunction with our regular monitoring and reporting about FUTA credit reduction states.  We expect greater efforts by states that can either pay off their Title XII loans by this November 10th, or employ bonding to do so, because of the potential for the BCR to be added on to their current FUTA credit reduction.  First quarter contribution payments are typically the largest amount of tax receipts annually, so we anticipate some states will be able to repay their Title XII loans, thereby avoiding future FUTA credit reductions and the BCR add-on.  Contributions for Q1/2013 are due at the end of April, but the receipts usually don't show up in Treasury balances for a state's Trust Fund until late May or early June, and then payment on the federal loans are made. Therefore, we aren't able to clearly assess the situation at present.
 
States at the greatest risk for the BCR add-on for the 2013 Federal 940 are Indiana and South Carolina.  Regulations provide for a waiver of the BCR, as long as it is requested prior to July 1st of the year it is needed and all criteria are met.  UWC is reporting that these two states are considering the application for the waiver.
 
We will continue to watch this matter closely and will advise our clients accordingly via our bi-weekly Flash Reports and Webcasts.

Employer Tax Services

Monday, April 29, 2013 7:48:47 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, April 08, 2013

Here is the latest edition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@equifax.com  with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

EQUIFAX_Flash_Report_0040813.pdf (1.02 MB)
Monday, April 08, 2013 8:53:50 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, April 05, 2013

The Georgia Department of Labor issued a news release, today, concerning the denial of unemployment benefits to some educational workers during regularly scheduled holiday breaks. The agency will begin making retroactive unemployment insurance (UI) payments to affected claimants. It is likely that impacted employers will incur benefit charges to their unemployment accounts.  The news release indicates the decision made by State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler safeguards Georgia's UI program from possible loss of funding. We are reaching out to the agency for additional details, and will keep our clients apprised, as we learn more.  The press release can be found at: http://onlinepressroom.net/gdol/.

Friday, April 05, 2013 3:17:02 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, January 29, 2013

As the citizens of North Carolina sit down to root for the Blue Devils and Tar Heels, as well as the Wolf Pack and Demon Deacons, the state legislature is gearing up to tackle $2.5 billion in unemployment insurance debt. Although it seems like trillions have become the new billions in the media, this is still a staggering number.

North Carolina is attempting to face down massive accumulated debts from tapping into the federal government’s benefit extensions. The Republican chamber of the state legislature is working towards a plan to pay down the debt through a combination of cuts to current unemployment benefits and rate hikes on employers. The proposed plan would not only erase the debt by 2015, but would create a $2.3 billion dollar reserve by 2021 through the following:

  • Cutting unemployment benefits by roughly one-third
  • Reducing the maximum number of weeks that one could acquire benefits (further reducing this metric when unemployment is low)
  • Eliminating the zero UI tax rates on some companies
  • Raising maximum and minimum rates of taxes that businesses pay per employee
  • Continuing with current tax surcharges

The proposal, however, has tottered out into public opinion, much like the Wright brothers first wavering flight over the sands of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Chamber of North Carolina and the North Carolina Retail Merchants Association came out in favor of the plan, applauding the actions as balanced between their effects on both citizens and businesses. However, critics of the plan feel that the burden falls too heavily on the unemployed, as the cuts to benefits are permanent while the rate hikes on businesses are set to expire after several years (in fact, some employers might even see tax rates reduced through the law). Some of the more impassioned critics have noted that if North Carolina had simply been taxing employers at the national average over the last twenty years, the state would owe the federal government no money and, in fact, have a $2.8 billion insurance surplus in state coffers.

Legal issues in North Carolina are known to become tense, especially if a lawmaker is attempting to confirm either Lexington or Eastern style barbeque as the official state barbecue. But the aforementioned issues are particularly strained in North Carolina where unemployment, which remained at 9.1% through November 2012, is at one of the highest rates in the country. Experts have attributed this unusually high rate to a manufacturing sector that has been hit hard as consumers cut back on major appliance and textile purchases in response to the Great Recession. In addition, the state also has a high rate of incoming citizens - five times the national average - many of whom remain unemployed.

Further complicating this issue are repercussions from the federal fiscal cliff deal. North Carolina was recently saved from having to drop approximately 100,000 benefit recipients through the extension of unemployment insurance mandated within the deal. However, it now seems that the proposal has encountered a complication, as the language of the fiscal cliff deal only extends insurance for states that maintain their current level of benefits. If passed, the changes in the debated law are proposed to go into effect July 1st, 2013. Stay tuned for further updates!

Christopher John Moore
Unemployment State Consultant, Equifax Workforce Solutions

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 7:04:49 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, January 25, 2013

Florida has issued a statement regarding the federal loan interest assessments that have been issued in January the last two years.  The department indicates that legislation has been introduced which will allow excess funds in the Audit and Warrant Clearing Trust Fund to pay the federal loan interest due in September 2013, eliminating the need to assess employers.  See the link below for the statement we received from the Florida Department of Revenue.  We will follow the legislation and provide updates as they become available.

Employer Tax Services

Reemployment_Assistance_Tax_01_22_13.pdf (13.44 KB)
Friday, January 25, 2013 10:11:11 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Vermont issued a notice to employers this week regarding among other things the 940 FUTA credit reduction and Health Care reporting requirements.  See the link below for a copy of the notice.

Employer Tax Services

 

VT_Flyer1.pdf (131.62 KB)
Friday, January 25, 2013 9:05:20 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, November 15, 2012

HURRICANE SANDY DISASTER UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (DUA)

President Obama issued major disaster declarations for Connecticut, New Jersey and New York on October 30, 2012, in response to Hurricane Sandy. These declarations provide for individual assistance, which includes Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

DUA provides financial assistance to individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster declared by the President of the United States and who are not eligible for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.

Individuals, including self-employed individuals, who were living or working in the affected areas at the time of the major disaster, and are unemployed as a result of Hurricane Sandy, may be eligible for DUA. In addition, those who are unable to reach their job, because the disaster prevented their travel, or who were scheduled to begin employment, but the disaster prevented them from doing so, may apply.

DUA is available to individuals for weeks of unemployment beginning after the date the major disaster began and for up to 26 weeks after the major disaster was declared by the President, as long as their unemployment continues to be a result of the major disaster.

The application period for filing initial DUA claims related to Hurricane Sandy has been extended until February 4, 2013.

Impacted individuals may contact the state workforce agencies in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York as indicated below:

New York - Claims may be filed by calling the Telephone Claims Center (TCC) at 1-888-209-8124, or, if you live out of state, call 1-877-358-5306. Applicants must answer the questions to indicate whether they lost their job due to Hurricane Sandy. Individuals may access additional information about UI and DUA at http://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/ui_index.shtm

New Jersey – To file a claim, individuals should first file for unemployment insurance benefits through the internet by going to www.njuifile.net. The internet process is faster and convenient. However, if needed, individuals may also file a claim by telephone by contacting the Department of Labor’s Re-employment Centers at:

North Jersey (201) 601-4100

Central Jersey (732) 761-2020

South Jersey (856) 507-2340

Connecticut – To file a claim, individuals should contact their local TeleBenefits line. To locate your local TeleBenefits number, check the blue pages of your telephone directory. Individuals may also visit the Connecticut Labor Department’s website at www.ct.gov/dol, or contact Infoline at 2-1-1.

Individuals may also obtain information by calling the Department of Labor's toll-free number at 1-877-US-2JOBS (1-877-872-5627) and office locations may also be obtained from America’s Service Locator Website at www.servicelocator.org. Additional information on other federal and state administered.”

 

Thursday, November 15, 2012 4:43:30 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Here is the latest edition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@equifax.com  with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

EQUIFAX_Flash_Report_111312.pdf (427.99 KB)
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:51:57 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, November 09, 2012

Pennsylvania has issued the following statement regarding erroneous interest charges on October 2012 Reimbursable Employer Statements of Account.  They are aware of the error and are working to rectify the problem.

 

Reimbursable_SOA.pdf (22.22 KB)
Friday, November 09, 2012 11:03:49 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
HR & Payroll | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Connecticut Dept. of Labor (CTDOL) recently issued a Media Release regarding Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) as a result of Hurricane Sandy.  Highlights are as follows:

  • Four counties - New Haven, Fairfield, Middlesex and New London - and the Mashantucket Pequot Indian Reservation were determined disaster areas as of October 30, 2012.
  • DUA is available for eligible persons in these areas who file a claim by the deadline date of December 3, 2012.
  • Claims should be filed via a local TeleBenefits line.  The local TeleBenefits phone number can be found in the blue pages of the telephone directory, by visiting www.ct.go/dol or by calling the 211 Info-line.

DUA is potentially available to persons who are not otherwise eligible for regular unemployment benefits, first.  Regular unemployment benefits paid due to a major disaster will not be charged to employers under Section 73-108 (f)(1)(ii)(iii) of the Connecticut UI law.  DUA payments made to affected workers are not to be charged to the unemployment account of the employer, under federal law.
 
Complete separation details are necessary for any claim filed. These details include the employer name and state unemployment account number, the claimant SSN and name, reason for separation, duration dates and county where work is usually performed.  This information should be provided by clients to your Equifax Workforce Solutions claims representative through normal processes.
 
See the following link for a copy of the Media Release.

CT_Media_Release.pdf (64.17 KB)
Wednesday, November 07, 2012 2:28:11 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
HR & Payroll | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, November 05, 2012

The following quote was received from our New York contact on Friday November 2, 2012:


 “Employers affected by Hurricane Sandy will have two weeks extra to answer our correspondence for UI claims.”

The following quote was received from out New York contact on Monday November 5, 2012:


“At this point, I know that the tax filing deadline has been extended until at least November 14.  I expect that additional information will be available (soon) on our website.  There is also additional filing information posted at www.tax.ny.gov.”

Monday, November 05, 2012 12:15:27 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | HR & Payroll | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

The following quote was received from our New Jersey contact on Friday November 2, 2012:
“In all instances individuals that are unable to work due to Hurricane Sandy, should file a regular UI claim. Staff is working tomorrow and Spanish speaking agents are available from 7 am through 12 pm tomorrow. Please have them call (732) 761-2020.
Be sure that they indicate that their separation was due to Hurricane Sandy.

If they are ineligible for UI we will send them a DUA application to complete.

We are also working on Tuesday, Election Day.

We should have the external website updated by next Monday.”

Monday, November 05, 2012 12:14:24 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
HR & Payroll | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, November 02, 2012

Situation

In response to the Hurricane Sandy aftermath, President Obama has declared federal disaster areas for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

What You Should Know

Employees that have had their work hours reduced or are out of work due to the storm (i.e. the business is closed because of storm damage or no longer exists) can apply for unemployment and will likely qualify under the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance (“DUA”). DUA is available in federally declared disaster areas, after the US Dept. of Labor (“USDOL”) certifies the area as DUA eligible.

The following criteria are used to determine eligibility for benefits under the federal DUA program: 

  • Persons who are unemployed due to the disaster, and do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance benefits.
  • Persons who are prevented from working due to an injury caused by the disaster.
  • Persons who are unable to reach their job or self-employment location because they must travel through the affected area and are prevented from doing so by the disaster.
  • Persons who were to commence employment or self-employment but were prevented by the disaster.
  • Persons who have become the major supplier of household income due to the disaster-related death or injury of the previous major supplier of household income.
  • Self-employed individuals and small business owners who lost income due to the disaster

What You Need to Know about the DUA Program and the UI Program

Persons are eligible for DUA only if they do not first qualify for benefits under the regular state Unemployment Insurance (UI) program or exhaust regular benefits. If a person is unemployed due to a disaster and qualifies under the state UI program, benefits will be paid under the regular program first. State UI laws vary regarding non-charging for merit-rated employers when benefits are paid under the regular program for disaster separations.
DUA is funded entirely by the federal government. Unlike regular state UI benefits, DUA funds are federally appropriated. DUA benefits are allocated from the President’s Disaster Relief Fund, so no employer is liable for benefits paid under the DUA program. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) transfers funds to the DOL (Department of Labor) to use in states with designated major disaster areas that have Presidential Disaster Declarations

  • For New Jersey, federal DUA assistance is available for individuals in Atlantic, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Union counties.

What You Can Expect

UI agency offices in the states covered by the federal disaster declarations, both claims and hearing offices, may be closed or operating on reduced schedules. This information is being updated daily by our Government Relations Team.

 

Friday, November 02, 2012 7:51:18 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
HR & Payroll | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@equifax.com  with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

EQUIFAX_Flash_Report_101712.pdf (2.77 MB)
Wednesday, October 17, 2012 7:38:54 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Tax Credits and Incentives | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, October 04, 2012

New Hampshire has announced rate reductions for all employers effective with the fourth quarter of 2012.  Due to the national recession and the resulting decrease in the state’s trust fund balance, an emergency surcharge of 0.5% in 2009 and another 0.5% surcharge in 2010 were added to all employers’ rates to avoid insolvency.  The fund is beginning to recover; therefore, the first surcharge will be removed effective with the fourth quarter of 2012 and the second will be removed effective with the first quarter of 2013.  For example, if the rate assigned an employer for the third quarter of 2012 is 3.7%; their rate will be 3.2% for fourth quarter 2012 and 2.7% for first and more than likely second quarter 2013.  The reduction for second quarter 2013 is not official but is highly likely.  The state will not be sending out revised tax rate notices but will indicate the lower rate on the quarterly contribution reports.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, October 04, 2012 12:05:30 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, August 21, 2012

New Jersey has made the decision to issue paper tax rate notices again this year.  As reported previously they originally were only going to have the 2012/2013 tax rate notices available on their TWES on-line system.  Apparently there have been many employers complaining about stability issues with that system and their ability to get to their tax rate notice, thus the decision to mail the notices.  The notices will be mailed to employers starting this week.  The deadline for making a voluntary contribution or protesting the rate will be extended to 30 days from the issuance of the paper rate notice.  TALX has received an electronic file of the rate notices for all of our clients and they have already been sent to clients with the voluntary contribution recommendation.   If you receive the paper rate notice in the mail, there is no need to forward it to TALX unless you have not already received it from us.

Employer Tax Services

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 10:39:44 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, August 06, 2012

South Carolina’s budget has been approved and it is good news for employers.  Similar to last year, legislators appropriated approximately $77 million to be deposited directly into the state’s unemployment trust fund.  This additional money will allow the agency to again recalculate and reduce 2012 tax rates for all employers retroactively to January 1, 2012.  With this deposit the agency also expects to again make a federal loan payment large enough to qualify for a credit reduction exemption in 2012.  If the payment is made by November 10, 2012 and the USDOL approves, the FUTA effective rate for 2012 would be 0.6% instead of 1.5%.  The agency is hoping to have the preliminary new rate schedule posted on their website in couple of weeks.  They hope to issue the revised rate notices in late September or early October.  Credit statements reflecting overpayments applicable to first and second quarter will also be issued at that time.  Unfortunately, refunds will not be available; credits will have to be used against future taxes due.  We will publish more information as it becomes available.

Employer Tax Services

Monday, August 06, 2012 1:37:17 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Wisconsin plans to issue their 2012 Special Assessment for Interest notices the week of August 13, 2012.  Payment is due September 17, 2012.  The amount due is calculated as a percentage of the employer’s 2011 calendar year taxable payroll.  The percentage for taxable employers is 0.0806% and 0.0605% for reimbursable employers.  See the following link for FAQ’s about the assessment provided by the state agency.

Employer Tax Services

WI_FAQ_Spl_Assmnt.pdf (21.04 KB)
Monday, August 06, 2012 10:01:45 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hawaii SB 2264 was enacted on July 10, 2012.  This legislation increases the highest tax rates on schedules C – H.  Currently the highest tax rate on any of the eight possible rate schedules is 5.4%.  With this legislation, starting in 2013, the maximum rates increase from 5.4% on all schedules to 5.6% on schedule C, 5.8% on schedule D, 6.0% on schedule E, 6.2% on schedule F, 6.4% on schedule G and 6.6% on schedule H.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, July 12, 2012 1:30:54 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

USPS Delivery Standards Changes - The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is undergoing efficiency and cost reduction initiatives.  In addition to closing roughly 250 postal facilities, delivery service standards are also changing. 

A USPS FAQ sheet can be found at: http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/our-future-network/service-standards-110915.pdf

 

 

Mail Classification

Previous Delivery Standards

New Delivery Standards

Priority Mail

1-3 days

1-3 days

First-Class Mail

1-3 days

2-3 days

Periodicals

1-9 days

2-9 days

Package Services

2-8 days

2-8 days

Standard Mail

3-10 days

3-10 days

 

These changes will impact UI claims and related forms, as they are First-Class Mail.  The USPS is essentially reducing the distance they are able to provide one-day delivery (i.e., overnight delivery) to a given area that is served by a particular mail processing center.  In other words, it will take a day longer for items to reach our offices, in many instances, since we will no longer receive mail the day after it is mailed.

 

The good news is that TALX is engaged in SIDES (State Information Data Exchange System), a secure, web-based system, to receive and respond to UI claims electronically.  TALX receives these electronic claims the same day an unemployment agency transmits them.  Currently, we are live on SIDES with roughly one-third of the states and continue to implement SIDES with additional states each month.

 

The SIDES exchange will help mitigate the impact of USPS facility closings and the changes to delivery service standards.

 

Thursday, July 12, 2012 8:15:03 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | HR & Payroll | Reemployment | Tax Credits and Incentives | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Vermont Department of Labor will be transitioning much of its employer communications from paper to electronic formats over the course of 2012.  See the following link for a copy of a flyer sent to all employers this week regarding a company that will be contacting you to get the appropriate information

Employer Tax Services

VT_Flyer.pdf (61 KB)
Tuesday, July 10, 2012 8:08:25 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, July 04, 2012

What is SIDES?  Why are states and TALX investing in it?  What does it mean to you as an employer?  Click here to find out.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 7:33:03 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, July 02, 2012

The state of Colorado issued bonds last week to pay off their Title XII federal loan.  Following is a link to the state’s website where the announcement was made.  It includes links to a fact sheet and employer letter giving the details that are currently available.  http://www.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/CDLE-UnempBenefits/CDLE/1251567362069

Employer Tax Services

Monday, July 02, 2012 12:53:05 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, June 14, 2012

On Tuesday, June 12th Governor Tom Corbett signed SB 1310 which is comprehensive UI trust fund solvency legislation that includes a range of measures to address the deficit in Pennsylvania’s UI Trust Fund account through a combination of bond authority, special tax assessments, benefit cuts and integrity measures. See the following link for a committee summary of the legislation.

Employer Tax Services

SB 1310 Committee Summary.pdf (199.14 KB)
Thursday, June 14, 2012 2:13:00 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A common question and sometimes bone of contention for employers is whether employees who voluntarily quit are entitled to unemployment benefits. 

Click here to find out when employees may be entitled to quit and still collect.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:31:24 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, May 03, 2012

States need complete separation information to make informed unemployment decisions.  Click here to find out more about current law and consequences for employer non-compliance.

Thursday, May 03, 2012 1:29:59 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do you know how to write an effective written warning?  Click here for tips that could save you money.

Thursday, April 26, 2012 8:09:58 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do you know how states determine how much to pay or what impact that has on the claims process?  Click here to find out.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 12:39:55 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kentucky HB 495 was signed by Governor Steve Beshear on April 11, 2012.  This legislation addresses several issues outlined below:

  • Allows the state agency to take a loan from an outside source to fund the unemployment administration fund which is used to pay interest on the federal loan.
  •  Establishes an employer surcharge of 0.22% on taxable wages in 2014 and adjusted downward in 2015 and beyond with relation to the increase in the taxable wage base so that the cost per employee does not exceed $22.  The money will be used to pay back the loans used to pay interest and replenish the unemployment insurance interest payment fund.
  •  If eligible under federal law,  requires the Governor to make application in 2013 and subsequent years to request a cap on FUTA credit reduction.
  •  Adds rules for determining the taxable wage base starting in 2013 based on the level of the trust fund.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:57:35 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What's the difference between an employee who is unable to do the job versus one who is unwilling to do the job and how does that impact your unemployment charges? 

Click here to find out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 4:36:29 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Governor Jan Brewer signed House Bill 2519 on April 3, 2012.  Among other things, this bill amends Arizona Revised Statutes § 23-769, the statute that established the Arizona Job Training Tax (JTT).  The effect of the amendment is to restore the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Tax rate-based exemptions to the JTT that were eliminated effective 7/1/2011 when the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) tax rate decreased from 6.2% to 6.0%.  

 

Restoration of the above-mentioned JTT exemptions will occur effective July 1, 2012, the beginning of the third calendar quarter, for tax filing purposes.  Therefore, all UI taxpayers are subject to JTT on taxable wages they pay from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012, but the following UI taxpayer groups are exempt from JTT on taxable wages they paid prior to July 1, 2011 and on taxable wages they pay after June 30, 2012:

 

  • Employers with a positive reserve ratio of at least 13 percent
  • Employers with a positive reserve ratio of at least 12 percent
  • Employers assigned the new employer tax rate

·         Employers with a negative reserve ratio

 

Click here to view the UI Tax rates that correspond to the above reserve ratios in the current and prior years.  (Reimbursement employers have always been and continue to be exempt from JTT.)

 

UI taxpayers who were exempt from JTT in the first and second quarters of 2011 continue to be exempt from JTT on taxable wages they paid in those quarters.  In other words: (1) if such a taxpayer did not meet the $7,000 taxable wage base of an employee in the first or second quarter of 2011, the taxpayer is subject to JTT only on taxable wages paid to that employee in the third and fourth quarter of 2011; (2) if the taxpayer did meet the taxable wage base of an employee in the first or second quarter of 2011, the taxpayer is not subject to JTT on wages paid to that employee in the third or fourth quarter of 2011.

 

UI taxpayers who are exempt from JTT in the third and fourth quarters of 2012 remain subject to JTT on taxable wages paid in the first and second quarters of 2012.

The www.azuitax.com website will be updated soon with an announcement of the change on the landing page and a link to a detailed explanation of the change.

 

An article on the change will be included in the June 2012 Employer Newsletter, which will be mailed to approximately 87,000 employers along with their Q2 2012 Unemployment Tax and Wage Report forms (UC-018) in mid through late June.  Each of these DES-issued forms has the applicable Surcharge rate for the recipient pre-printed on it at Line 7 of Section C, so if the employer is subject to the JTT, the pre-printed Surcharge rate will be 0.60% (0.10% JTT plus 0.50% Special Assessment) and if not subject to JTT, the rate will be 0.50% (Special Assessment only). 

Employer Tax Services

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 8:21:15 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, April 06, 2012

In May 2011, Mike Rowe, the dynamic host of the hit (in my mind) series “Dirty Jobs” testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation about the broadening “skills gap” in the U.S.  In his words,

“We’ve elevated the importance of ‘higher education’ to such a lofty perch that all other forms of knowledge are now labeled ‘alternative.’ Millions of parents and kids see apprenticeships and on-the-job-training opportunities as ‘vocational consolation prizes,’ best suited for those not cut out for a four-year degree. And still, we talk about millions of ‘shovel ready’ jobs for a society that doesn’t encourage people to pick up a shovel.”

And Mike should know about ‘shovel ready’ jobs.  In his show he travels across the country visiting people who have the dirtiest jobs around.  At that time, he was promoting the need for “national PR campaign for skilled labor.”  (Read more here)

Well in February 2012, the Congressional Budget Office “CBO” confirmed what Mike showed us, and quite frankly what we logically already knew, in their report on “Understanding and Responding to Persistently High Unemployment”.  According to the report, only about a third of the net increase in unemployment can be blamed on decreased demand.  The remaining factors in varying degrees include;

• “Mismatches between the needs of employers and the skills and location of the unemployed”
• “Incentives from extensions of unemployment insurance for people to stay in the labor force and continue searching for work”, and
• “Erosion of skills and the stigma attached to long-term unemployment—that is, employers’ perception that people who have been unemployed for a long time would be low-quality workers”

Now what to do about it is another question all together.  President Obama is seeking to take action as part of his Fiscal Year 2013 Budget where he has included an $8 billion carve out in the form of a “Community College to Career Fund” to partner with community college to bring back skills training associated with the greatest areas of need. 

Will it be enough?  Who knows, but it is great to see the attempted partnership between government and the employer job market to solve problems of urgent need.  As employers, it certainly behooves us to work together with our government partners and educators to develop strategies to reduce the impact of unemployment for all by attacking problems at their root cause.  As a really good friend of mine likes to say, “What people really need is a hand up, not a hand out.”

Tammy A. Mullin,
Senior Director, Product Management

Friday, April 06, 2012 2:15:29 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Is there anything you can do to increase your chances of winning?  Click here to find out.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012 3:02:14 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, March 30, 2012

Study highlights how much time personnel at job centers have to spend with a job seeker and how job seekers feel about the help they are getting.

Click here to find out more.

Click here for access to the Training & Employment Notice that goes into more detail about findings within the case study and for instructions on how to gain access to the report.

Friday, March 30, 2012 1:40:41 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, March 29, 2012

Florida HB 7027 was finally signed into law by Governor Scott yesterday.  This legislation scales back the increase in the taxable wage base from $8,500 to $8,000 for 2012-2014.  It also changes the calculation of the rate factors, which will decrease both the multiplier and minimum rate for 2012.  The multiplier will decrease from 1.1382 to 0.9074 and the minimum rate will decrease from 2.02% to 1.51%.  Revised tax rate notices will be issued next week.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, March 29, 2012 8:24:44 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We are seeing a definite shift in focus for State Workforce Agencies these days with major initiatives out there related to getting the unemployed back to work.  Despite improvements in the economy, we still have more than 13 million individuals out of work and the long term unemployment rate remains high with more than 40% having been unemployed for more than 6 months. 

This past week, Reps. John Tierney (D-MA), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) and George Miller (D-CA) introduced legislation in the House focused on improving state infrastructure around finding workers new jobs.  “The Workforce Investment Act of 2012” is driven by three core principles:

• Streamlining and improving workforce investment system programs.
• Strengthening workforce investment system accountability.
• Promoting innovation and best practices within the workforce investment system.

The Workforce Investment Act, (WIA) of 1998 is well established and the primary resource for funding services and initiatives to get the unemployed back into the job market.  What makes this new legislation interesting is the increased flexibility and innovation regarding the use of these funds.  Legislators are taking notice of what some forward thinking states are doing in the area of wage subsidies and new job search tools and also builds in increased accountability related to performance measures. 

While Democrats and Republicans alike are calling for changes to our country’s job training programs, it still remains to be seen whether they can agree on exactly what those changes would entail.

Employers should continue to keep an eye toward changes taking place now in state programs for opportunities to work more closely with their Workforce Agencies in getting the unemployed back to work faster.  Doing so will help reduce the drain on our state trust funds and improve the overall economy and job market.

Click here to view further details behind this new proposed legislation.

Tammy A. Mullin
Senior Director, Product Management

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 1:06:00 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, March 22, 2012

Georgia unexpectedly issued revised 2012 tax rate notices on March 15, 2012 to all employers.  They increased the basic rate table adjustment from 35% to 50% increasing all employers’ rates.  This move was made in an effort to rebuild the trust fund, protect against future insolvency and avoid further borrowing from the federal government.  See the following link for a copy of the flyer that was issued with the rate notices.

Employer Tax Services

GA_Revised_Rate_Flyer.pdf (79.85 KB)
Thursday, March 22, 2012 2:01:44 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, March 07, 2012

New Mexico SB 32 has been enacted.  This legislation was signed by the governor on March 5, 2012 and sets the rate schedules for rate years 2012 and 2013 at schedules 1 and 2 respectively.  Since 2012 tax rate notices had already been issued earlier this year under schedule 3, revised tax rate notices were issued on March 6, 2012.  Most, but not all, employers will see a decrease in their tax rate under the new schedule.  The state did not process and will be returning any voluntary contribution checks employers submitted based on the original rate issuance.  Employers will have another opportunity to make a voluntary contribution on the revised rate.  TALX clients will receive the new voluntary contribution analysis with the revised tax rate notice.

Employer Tax Services

 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012 9:53:58 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, January 27, 2012

Colorado recently issued a flyer about a change in their law that allows a postmark to determine timeliness of quarterly contribution reports.  Previously reports had to be received by the due date.  It also mentions the increase in the taxable wage from $10,000 to $11,000 for 2012.  See the following link for a copy of the flyer.

Employer Tax Sevices

CO_Flyer_January_2012.pdf (10.33 KB)
Friday, January 27, 2012 10:38:02 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, January 23, 2012

Florida will be issuing their 2012 Unemployment Tax Assessment Notices for Interest on Federal Advances next week.  This is the same type of assessment notices issued last year at this time to pay the interest on the state’s federal loan.  The amount due will be 0.092% (0.136% in 2011) of taxable payroll for the period July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011.  Payment will be due June 30, 2012.

Employer Tax Services

Monday, January 23, 2012 8:41:03 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Arizona sent an apology notice with the 2012 tax rate notices with regard to some incorrect tax statements sent to employers a few weeks ago.  See the following link for a copy of the notice.

Employer Tax Services

AZ_Flyer_January_2012.pdf (59.42 KB)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 11:13:46 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rhode Island issued a flyer regarding unemployment and disability taxable wage bases and tax rates.  See the following link for a copy of the flyer.

Employer Tax Services

RI_Flyer_December_2011.pdf (54.57 KB)
Thursday, December 29, 2011 9:08:54 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pennsylvania recently sent a letter to employers regarding the reduction in FUTA credit on the 2011 Federal Form 940.  The letter also mentions the fact that the 2012 rate notices normally mailed on December 31 will be delayed.  Our contacts have told us that they do not have a projected mailing date at this time.  See  the link below for a copy of the letter.

Employer Tax Services

 

PA_Letter_December_2011.pdf (73.59 KB)
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 4:42:05 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Michigan recently sent a letter to employers regarding the recent law changes and their effect on the 2012 rate determinations.  The mailing of the rates will be delayed until the end of January 2012.  See the link below for a copy of the letter.

Employer Tax Services

MI_Letter_December_2011.pdf (31.02 KB)
Tuesday, December 27, 2011 4:40:47 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Providing all applicable information at the beginning of the unemployment insurance process can streamline the steps involved in presenting a strong case to the state agency and expedite the adjudication process.

More states are enacting or enforcing current legislation to penalize companies for not submitting all facts pertinent to a former employees’ separation from employment by the claim response deadline.  If employment separation details and applicable personnel documents are not provided by the claim response deadline, the consequences can be harmful to the employer.  Several states will charge the employer a partial or whole percentage of any benefits already issued to the other party despite the employer’s later submission of details that resulted in a reversal of the earlier ruling. Other states will issue a penalty statement with a specific dollar amount cited that is applied to all employers when the facts are not provided by the claim deadline, i.e. $15.00 for a late response or no response.

The consistent implementation of the guidelines below can simplify the process of gathering the employment separation information needed to submit to your Third Party Agent. These recommendations will also make the fact-finding process less time consuming for managers and human resources personnel responsible for submitting the information:

Check the request notice prior to sending the completed form to your unemployment insurance consultant to ensure you are providing all of the requested information outlined on the notice.

Let your consultant know if you have questions relative to the separation reason or unemployment adjudication process.

Aim for providing applicable supporting documents to substantiate the separation reason.

 Initiate a dialogue with your consultant, without hesitation, whenever you need their expert opinion. Remember, they are your partner in the process.

Make your case by presenting all pertinent facts.

Strategize with your consultant, when applicable, to determine the best approach to present a strong case.

Sharon L. Pate, Assistant Claims Manager, TALX Corporation

Tuesday, December 20, 2011 2:48:14 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Indiana issued a memorandum regarding 2012 unemployment tax rates and other news.  Tax rate notices will be issued sometime in January 2012.  See the link below for a copy of the memorandum.

Employer Tax Services

IN_Memorandum_December_2011.pdf (57.71 KB)
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 7:27:38 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Maryland recently sent a notice to employers about 2012 tax rates.  The paper rate notices will be mailed in January but they are offering a telephone number to call and get your 2012 tax rate.  See the following link for more information and a copy.

Employer Tax Services

 

MD_Flyer_December_2011.pdf (66.5 KB)
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 10:57:18 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Vermont recently sent a notice to employers regarding critical information related to the Unemployment Insurance Program.  See the following link for a copy.

Employer Tax Services

 

VT_Flyer_December_2011.pdf (77.92 KB)
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 10:55:11 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, December 02, 2011

New Jersey recently sent a notice to employers regarding important information for calendar year 2012.  See the link below for a copy.  The flyer mentions the fact that starting with the 2012/2013 fiscal year, employers will no longer receive a paper Notice of Employer Contribution Rate.  Those notices will be available in July 2012.  Employers will need to establish a Tax Web Enable System (TWES) account.  The following link will take you to the website and give you instruction on how to set up your access. http://lwd.dol.state.nj.us/labor/employer/ea/empinfo/TWES.html

NJ_Flyer_December_2011.pdf (61.62 KB)

Employer Tax Services

Friday, December 02, 2011 1:51:59 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, November 08, 2011

HR 3346 and S1804 also known as the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act were introduced by Democrats in both the House and Senate on November 3, 2011.  This legislation would prevent over 6 million Americans from losing their unemployment benefits next year by continuing the current Federal unemployment insurance programs through 2012.  The bills would also relieve States with Federal unemployment loans from interest charges next year, prevent higher Federal unemployment taxes in January 2012 on employers in insolvent States, and provide a solvency bonus to States without any outstanding loans.  We will be tracking this legislation and provide updates as they become available.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011 11:57:15 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, November 03, 2011

California is not imposing a $25 per employee surcharge on employers.  A recent LA Times article mistakenly gave that impression.  It actually is referring to the increase in FUTA tax that will be due with the fourth quarter FUTA deposit on January 31, 2012.   That amount will be 0.3% of the first $7,000 in taxable wages or $21 per employee.  Following is a link to the article in question. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-california-unemployment-fund-20111025,0,7242467.story

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, November 03, 2011 9:58:45 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, November 02, 2011

As of November 1, 2011, the North Carolina Employment Security Commission (ESC) was eliminated.  The agency is now called the Division of Employment Security (DES), which falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Commerce.

The DES is in the process of changing forms and such to reflect the new name and affiliation.  At this time, current claims and tax management services that TALX provides to its clients will continue as normal.  The DES will keep us apprised if this changes.

The ESC website has been updated to reflect the DES.  You may check it out at: 

https://www.ncesc.com/default.aspx 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011 3:32:20 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, October 24, 2011

New report just issued on Work Sharing.  Work Sharing is a great alternative to a layoff and is available in several states.  Click here to learn more.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, October 24, 2011 10:53:03 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rhode Island has announced their taxable wage bases for 2012.  As previously reported in our July 11, 2011 Unemployment Flash Report, legislation passed earlier this year sets the taxable wage base at 46.5% of the statewide average annual wage for most employers but $1,500 higher for employer’s assigned the maximum rate.  The 2012 taxable wage bases will be $19,600 and $21,100.  See the following link for the announcement on the state’s website.

Employer Tax Services

http://www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/2012Taxchanges.htm

Thursday, October 13, 2011 2:55:58 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Texas issued the following flyer to employers as a reminder to file all unemployment reports and pay all taxes due through the third quarter of 2011 by October 31, 2011, to avoid a negative affect on your 2012 tax rate computation.

Employer Tax Services

TX_Important_Tax_Rate_Information.pdf (37.86 KB)
Thursday, October 13, 2011 7:40:49 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, September 29, 2011

New York has extended deadlines between August 26 and October 31, 2011 to October 31, 2011 for employers in counties in New York State that have been declared federal disaster areas, due to weather related events in August and September of 2011.  See the following link for a copy of the notice that was sent to employers for details.

Employer Tax Services

NY_Disaster_Relief_Due_Dates.pdf (108.24 KB)
Thursday, September 29, 2011 2:07:37 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, September 26, 2011

Arizona issued debit statements for the first and second quarters of 2011 on September 17, 2011 to employers that use a third party tax filer and/or file electronically.  As reported in previous issues of the Flash Report, specifically issues 4, 5, 11 and 14, and on the TALX blog, employers in Arizona are being charged a Special Assessment (SA) of 0.4% retroactive to the first quarter of 2011.  The debit statements detailing the amounts due for the first and second quarters of 2011 will be included in the third quarter, 2011 blank quarterly contribution report (Form UC-018) mailing for those employers that file on the paper form.  Payment is due October 31, 2011 and can be made in conjunction with the third quarter payment or separately. See the following link for sample of the debit statement.

Employer Tax Services

 

AZ_Special_Assessment_Statements.pdf (83.98 KB)
Monday, September 26, 2011 3:41:40 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, September 23, 2011

I have previously blogged on the topic that unemployment savings can drive a business case for using outplacement in many organizations.  But recently a couple of client experiences – two actual TALX Reemployment Services clients – illustrate that message so strongly, I feel compelled to share.  In these two particular cases, both employers are non-profit/governmental.

For those that may not be aware, most non-profit organizations, and all governmental agencies, are what are referred to as “reimbursing employers” when it comes to unemployment benefits.  This means that these employers do not pay taxes based on unemployment experiences like others do.  Reimbursers receive monthly or quarterly charge statements just like other employers receive, but for these are not just statements – they are invoices.  They must pay the state unemployment division back, dollar-for-dollar, for all benefits paid to their former employees.  For this reason, reimbursers are a great way to illustrate the savings that can be experienced from a strong reemployment strategy.

Two employers – one, a county government with fewer than 400 employees, and the other, a major state university system with over 100,000 employees – recently began using our reemployment services for their displaced employees.  In well under one year, with only 30 employees served in one case, and over 100 so far in the other, BOTH employers have experienced a 100% return on investment!  The net results varied from nearly $20K in unemployment benefits avoided for the smaller employer to well over $100K for the larger of the two.  But for both organizations, these are real, material savings.  And of course in both cases, they experienced happier employee transitions, enhanced public and community relations, and other traditional outplacement benefits as well.

So there you have it folks.  Unemployment cost management can truly drive a business case for investing in a reemployment strategy!

Dave Caldwell
Product Manager, Unemployment/Reemployment Solutions

Friday, September 23, 2011 9:31:06 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, September 22, 2011

Following is a link to a press release on the South Carolina website regarding the revised rates and how overpayments and refunds will be handled.    We have also been informed that some employers assigned a rate in rate class 13-20 will receive another revised rate notice in the near future.  This relates to Section 41-31-50(4) that was added to the law with HB 3762.  This section states that employers that were credited with more in unemployment tax contributions than benefits charged for the period July 1, 2003 through June 30, 2010 cannot be assigned a rate higher than the Rate Class 12 rate (2.237%).  The state was not able to complete the programming needed to identify the employers that fall into this category before the first round of revised rates were issued; therefore, around 2,000 employers will receive a second even lower revised rate.  The projected date for issuance of the second round of revised rates has not yet been determined.

Employer Tax Services

SC_News_Release.pdf (93.91 KB)
Thursday, September 22, 2011 1:40:35 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Puerto Rico sent  a flyer to their employers regarding a change to their wage detail report effective October 1, 2011.  See the following link for a copy of the information. 

Employer Tax Services

PR_ Flyer.pdf (154.35 KB)
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:19:31 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

 

Flash_Report_091911.pdf (647.8 KB)
Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:17:15 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, September 15, 2011

Arizona to issue debit statements for the first and second quarters of 2011 starting September 20, 2011.  As reported in previous issues of the Flash Report, specifically issues 4, 5 and 11, and on the TALX blog, employers in Arizona are being charged a Special Assessment (SA) of 0.4% retroactive to the first quarter of 2011.  The debit statements detailing the amounts due for the first and second quarters of 2011 will be included in the third quarter, 2011 blank quarterly contribution report (Form UC-18) mailing.  Payment is due October 31, 2011 and can be made in conjunction with the third quarter payment or separately.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, September 15, 2011 2:01:07 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

New Mexico’s legislature, in their current special session has introduced three bills focused on keeping the unemployment trust fund solvent.  HB31 backed by republican governor Susanna Marrtinez keeps the rate schedule at the current one (Schedule 1) for 2012 and 2013 and appropriates $65 million dollars each year from the state’s general fund to the unemployment fund.  The other two bills backed by democrats in the house and senate, propose rate schedule increases.  HB19 proposes Schedule 3 for 2012 and SB29 proposes Schedule 2 for 2012 and 2013.  We will be watching the progress of this legislation and will provide updates as they become available.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, September 15, 2011 8:46:15 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, September 13, 2011

South Carolina has announced that the revised rate schedule published August 5, 2011 will be the final schedule.  They are projecting a September 22, 2011 mail date for the revised rate notices.  See the following link for a copy of the schedule published on August 5, 2011.

Employer Tax Services

SC_Revised_Rate_Schedule.pdf (52.38 KB)
Tuesday, September 13, 2011 3:52:09 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, September 09, 2011

Kentucky’s governor has authorized payment of the $28.2 million interest due on the state’s Title XII federal loan to be made with $9.8 million coming from the interest and penalty fund and the other $18.4 million via a loan from the state’s general funds.  The governor has tasked the General Assembly with finding a permanent solution to the interest issue for future payments.

Employer Tax Services

Friday, September 09, 2011 9:44:07 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

Flash_Report_090611.pdf (1.64 MB)
Friday, September 09, 2011 8:35:12 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Kentucky recently sent a notice to employers regarding law changes that will be effective January 1, 2012.  It also confirms that Kentucky employers will incur a 0.3% FUTA credit reduction on the 2011 Federal Form 940.  See the following link for a copy of the flyer.

Employer Tax Services

KY_Flyer.pdf (48.38 KB)
Tuesday, September 06, 2011 8:39:36 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, September 02, 2011

Idaho has repaid the federal government $202.4 million the state borrowed in 2009 and 2010.  The link below is the state's press release.

Employer Tax Services

ID_Press_Release.pdf (52.73 KB)

Friday, September 02, 2011 4:22:12 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Iowa Workforce Development announced that employers will see approximately $96 million dollars in tax savings for 2012 by moving from table 3 to table 4.  See the link below for more information in the official news release.

Employer Tax Services

IA_News_Release.pdf (35.64 KB)
Friday, September 02, 2011 2:24:46 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, August 29, 2011

New Hampshire has sent notices to employers reminding them of their obligation to report all new hires within 20 days after they are hired.  See the link below for a copy of the information.

Employer Tax Services

NH_NewHire_Flyer.pdf (382.74 KB)
Monday, August 29, 2011 3:02:48 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, August 11, 2011

Alabama has mailed their 2011 Federal Loan interest assessment bills.  The amount due will be 0.07% of taxable payroll for the calendar year 2010.  Payment is due September 9, 2011.  See the link below for a sample of the statement.

Emplpoyer Tax Services

AL_Interest_Assessment.pdf (54.13 KB)
Thursday, August 11, 2011 8:38:50 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, August 10, 2011

South Carolina has issued a notice to all employers with regard to the information we reported in our July 11, 2011 Unemployment Flash Report.  See the link below for a copy of the notice.  The rate schedule shown is a preliminary estimate.  Actual revised rate notices will be sent at a later date.  All but Rate Class 1 employers should see a significant decrease in their 2011 assigned tax rate.  We will publish additional information as it becomes available.

Employer Tax Services

 

SC_Revised_Rate_Schedule.pdf (52.38 KB)
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 3:48:37 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Wisconsin has mailed their 2011 Federal Loan interest assessment bills.  The amount due will be 0.2249% of taxable payroll for calendar year 2010 for tax paying employers and 0.1687% for reimbursing employers and Indian tribes.  Payment is due September 9, 2011.  Employers with calendar year 2010 taxable payroll of less than or equal to $25,000 are exempt from the assessment.  See the following link for a sample of the statement.

Employer Tax Services

 

WI_Interest_Assessmemt.pdf (92.74 KB)
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 3:41:06 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

Flash_Report_080811.pdf (976.04 KB)
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 3:39:16 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, August 05, 2011

Vermont’s governor has authorized the 2011 interest payment on the state’s federal loan to be made out of state General Funds.  Employers will not be responsible for any additional tax at this time.

Employer Tax Services

Friday, August 05, 2011 4:52:20 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Kentucky is still undecided as to how their federal loan interest payment due September 30, 2011 will be made.  According to information published by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and the Kentucky Retail Federation there is a meeting scheduled for early in the week of August 8, 2011 between the governor, his key staff, these and other business groups to discuss how to address this issue.  Senate President David Williams has also called on the governor to call a special session of the General Assembly to deal with the issue.  Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

Employer Tax Services

Friday, August 05, 2011 4:51:20 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Georgia is still undecided as to how their federal loan interest payment due, September 30, 2011, will be made.  Contacts to the agency have been unsuccessful in obtaining any information.

Employer Tax Services

Friday, August 05, 2011 4:50:19 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Arizona tax rates for some employers will be changing effective July 1, 2011.  As a result of the reduced federal unemployment tax rate effective July 1, 2011, employers that were exempt from the 0.1% Job Training Tax (JTT) will be required to pay it effective with the third quarter, 2011 quarterly returns.  Any JTT exemptions prior to July 1, 2011 are unaffected.  Therefore, tax-rated employers who were not subject to the JTT during Quarters 1 and 2 of 2011 will pay the surcharge due on those quarters at a rate of 0.40% (includes only the 0.40% HB2619 Special Assessment).  All tax-rated employers will pay the surcharge due on quarters 3 and 4 of 2011 at a rate of 0.50% (this includes the 0.40% HB 2619 Special Assessment plus the 0.10% JTT).  A newsletter that explains the FUTA tax rate/Job Training Tax change will be enclosed with the Quarter 3 UC-018 mailing which will be mailed out in batches from mid to late September 2011.

Employer Tax Services

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 3:16:50 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Wisconsin will be mailing their 2011 Federal Loan Interest Assessment bills starting August 3rd with a mail date of August 10, 2011.  The amount due will be 0.2249% of taxable payroll for calendar year 2010 for tax paying employers and 0.1687% for reimbursing employers and Indian tribes.  Payment is due September 9, 2011.  Employers with calendar year 2010 taxable payroll of less than or equal to $25,000 are exempt from the assessment.

Employer Tax Services

Tuesday, August 02, 2011 3:14:40 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, August 01, 2011

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

 

Flash_Report_072511.pdf (1.14 MB)
Monday, August 01, 2011 1:02:15 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Delaware has sent notices to employers formally announcing that as previously reported here, there will be no “Temporary Emergency Employer Assessment” this year.  See the link below for a copy of the notice.

Employer Tax Services

DE_TEEA_Letter.pdf (49.44 KB)
Monday, August 01, 2011 12:58:16 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Colorado has mailed their 2011 Federal Loan Interest Assessment bills.  The percentage that will be multiplied by the fourth quarter 2010 gross payroll to determine each employer’s assessment amount is 0.1021%.  Payment is due 30 days from the mail date.  Employers with no benefit charges against their account, a positive reserve ratio of at least 7% or have selected the reimbursing method are exempt from the assessment.

Employer Tax Services

 

Monday, August 01, 2011 12:55:35 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Alabama will be mailing their 2011 Federal Loan Interest Assessment bills starting August 8th with a mail date of August 10, 2011.  The amount due will be 0.07% of taxable payroll for the calendar year 2010.  Payment is due September 9, 2011.

Employer Tax Services

Monday, August 01, 2011 12:52:24 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

In a recent article, research concerning outplacement found that the primary barriers to investing in reemployment/outplacement services were lack of need (insignificant turnover), lack of budget, inability to show cost savings, and general lack of urgency from decision makers.  However, in the same article, the primary reasons given for actually providing outplacement isn’t return on investment at all.  The primary reasons given by survey respondents were company image and retention among existing workers.   (Source:  “Outplacement Builds Its Value on Engagement” – by Jayson Saba, The Aberdeen Group, July 2011)  These statistics would suggest that the value of outplacement and the barriers to that value may be opposing forces.

There is a traditional tendency to consider outplacement as a solution primarily in cases of large lay-offs or closures of entire locations or departments.  While these are certainly appropriate situations for outplacement, don’t forget that providing service to a single transitioning employee due to job elimination or poor employment fit  is also equally in line with the goals of outplacement.  And to be successful, strong engagement and a focus on reemployment performance must be there as well.

In addition, by creating a clear return on investment in terms of unemployment liability savings, other challenges such as lack of significant turnover, budget, or urgency can be better overcome by many HR departments.  And traditional value drivers – company image and employee retention – can be drawn in to build an even stronger overall business case.  It is clear, however, that these traditional values alone are often not enough.

Dave Caldwell, Product Manager, Unemployment/Reemployment Solutions

Monday, August 01, 2011 7:59:15 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wisconsin will be mailing their 2011 Federal Loan Interest Assessment bills in batches beginning August 5, 2001 and expect to have them all mailed by August 10, 2011.  The percentages are still an estimate and will not be final until the job is run on August 2, 2011.  At this point they are projecting the percentage for contributory employers to be 0.2063% and 0.1547% for reimbursing employers.  The percentage will be multiplied by the 2010 calendar year taxable payroll to get the amount due.  Payments will be due September 9, 2011.

Employer Tax Services

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 12:57:58 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Connecticut has mailed their 2011 Federal Loan Interest Assessment bills with a mailing date of August 1, 2011.  The amount due is 0.17% of taxable payroll for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2010.  Payment will be due August 31, 2011.  See the link below for a sample of the statement.

Employer Tax Services

CT_Interest_Assessment.pdf (63.39 KB)
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 12:57:09 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Colorado is projecting their 2011 Federal Loan Interest Assessment bills will be mailed on August 1, 2011.  They are still working on the calculation of the percentage that will be multiplied by the fourth quarter 2010 gross payroll to determine each employer’s assessment amount.  They were unable to even give us an estimate at this time.  Employers with no benefit charges against their account, a positive reserve ratio of at least 7% or have selected the reimbursing method are exempt from the assessment.

Employer Tax Services

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 12:56:12 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Alabama is projecting their 2011 Federal Loan Interest Assessment bills will be mailed in early August 2011.  The amount due is estimated to be between 0.07% and 0.1% of taxable payroll for calendar year 2010.  Payment will be due 30 days after the date of the bill.

Employer Tax Services

Wednesday, July 20, 2011 12:47:59 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, July 18, 2011

New York has mailed their 2011 Federal Loan Interest Assessment bills.  The amount due is 0.25% of employer taxable payroll for fiscal year ending September 30, 2010.  Payment is due August 15, 2011.  See the link below for a sample of the statement.

Employer Tax Services

NY_Interest_Assessment.pdf (106.18 KB)
Monday, July 18, 2011 8:39:16 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, July 11, 2011

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

Flash_Report_071111.pdf (504.9 KB)
Monday, July 11, 2011 12:17:43 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

South Carolina’s budget has finally been approved.  Legislators appropriated approximately $146 million dollars to be deposited directly into the state’s unemployment trust fund.  This additional money will allow the agency to recalculate and reduce 2011 tax rates for all employers retroactively to January 1, 2011.  With this deposit the agency also expects to make a Title XII loan payment large enough to qualify for a credit reduction exemption in 2011.  If the payment is made by November 10, 2011 and the USDOL approves, the FUTA effective rate would be 0.8% for the first half and 0.6% for the second half of 2011.  The money is not scheduled to be deposited in the trust fund until sometime in September.  The bad news is the agency will not be able to issue revised rate notices or credits for first and second quarter overpayments until after the money is actually deposited.  Employers will have to pay second quarter at their originally assigned rate.  The agency hopes to have new rates and credits issued in time for them to be used when filing third and fourth quarter returns.  We will publish more information as it becomes available.

Employer Tax Services

Monday, July 11, 2011 9:15:22 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Rhode Island H5894 was enacted.  This legislation changes the taxable wage base beginning in 2012 to 46.5% of the average annual wage; however, it also provides that the taxable wage base for employers with a reserve account percentage of negative 24% or less will be $1,500 higher than that for all other employers.

Employer Tax Services

Monday, July 11, 2011 9:14:20 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Ohio legislators approved a budget that included the creation of an Unemployment Compensation Contingency Fund for the payment of interest on the state’s federal Title XII loan.  The legislature also appropriated a little more than $100 million in funds to this account.  Employers will not be responsible to pay any additional tax to pay interest this year.

Employer Tax Services

Monday, July 11, 2011 9:13:20 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, July 08, 2011

Minnesota's state government has been shutdown, due to a budget impasse between the governor and lawmakers.  The Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is considered a "critical/essential" service, so it is not included in the shutdown.  The agency is open during the state government shutdown; however, they anticipate a significant increase in new claim filings.  In order to manage the increased volume, the agency has implemented a schedule for persons filing new benefit claims/applications.  Details about claim filings during the shutdown can be found at: ttp://www.uimn.org/ui/shutdown/open_for_business.html and http://www.uimn.org/ui/shutdown/index.html 

Friday, July 08, 2011 8:22:36 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, June 28, 2011

FL HB 7005 was enacted.  This bill contains both unemployment benefits and tax provisions.  Law changes on the benefits side include: 1) reducing maximum benefit weeks from 26 to 23 weeks; 2) redefining the term "misconduct"; 3) making severance pay disqualifying/deductible from unemployment benefits; 4) allowing hearsay evidence at unemployment hearings under certain conditions; and 5) modifying the look-back period to trigger on state extended benefits from 2 years to 3 years.  Law changes on the tax side include: 1) retaining the contribution installment payment option through 2014; and 2) decreasing by 10% the benefit charges, through the first quarter of 2011, used in employer’s 2012 and 2013 rate calculations and coupled with previous legislation that increased the 2010 and 2011 taxable payroll used in those same rate calculations by approximately 20%, employer’s benefit ratios will be significantly lower than they normally would have been.  This is good news; however, legislation passed in 2009 and delayed in 2010 will kick in with an increase in the taxable wage base to $8,500 in 2012 and an increase in the factors used to calculate employer tax rates.  Overall, employers can still expect to see a large increase in their 2012 tax cost over 2011. 

Employer Tax Services

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 12:18:47 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

Flash_Report_062711.pdf (1.43 MB)
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 12:05:41 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, June 24, 2011
Find out more here.

Friday, June 24, 2011 8:55:48 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The FUTA 0.2% surtax is set to expire on June 30, 2011.  The permanent gross FUTA tax rate is 6.0%.  The 0.2% surtax was added in 1976 to repay federal loans to states and later extended to increase reserves in the federal unemployment account to cover future loans.  With the 0.2% surtax the net FUTA tax employers pay after taking credit for up to 5.4% of state unemployment taxes is 0.8%.  Under current law the surtax will expire June 30, 2011; therefore, the net FUTA rate will be reduced to 0.6% on the FUTA taxable wages as of July 1, 2011.  At this time, according to Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) Congress is not planning to extend the surtax.  Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance, said he supports allowing the surtax to expire and has not heard of any plans within the committee to approve an extension.  We are also hearing from sources at UWC and others that the surtax could still be extended after June 30th in the form of a year end tax extender bill or as an outcome of the negotiations being lead by Vice President Biden with members of the House and Senate over the increase in the debt ceiling that has to occur by August 1, 2011.  It is therefore our recommendation that employers continue to accrue FUTA tax at a rate of 0.8% until it is time to make the third quarter FUTA deposit in October.  Updates will follow as information becomes available.

Employer Tax Services

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 3:25:31 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, June 17, 2011

Missouri federal Title XII loan interest assessment has been set at 0.0931895% of calendar year 2010 taxable payroll.  The amount due will be reflected on the second quarter, 2011 contribution report.  Payment is due by July 31, 2011 along with the regular unemployment contributions.

Employer Tax Services

Friday, June 17, 2011 2:51:27 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

Flash_Report_061311.pdf (466.74 KB)
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 2:23:08 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, June 02, 2011

As a result of recent declines in state unemployment rates, many individuals may soon no longer be eligible to receive extended benefit payments. Under current law, extended benefits are available when a state's unemployment rate is above 6.5%, and is at least 10% higher than it was at the same time during at least one of the past two calendar years. This second provision is referred to as a “two year look-back”. Unless both conditions are met, extended benefits are not available.

 

With many state unemployment rates now hovering in the 9% range, extended benefits will soon become unavailable, as the current level of unemployment will no longer be 10% higher than it was at the same point in time in either of the past two years.

 

However, The Tax Relief, UI Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010, signed into law in December 2010, permits states to amend their UI laws and temporarily modify their provisions concerning extended benefit “triggers”. The temporary modification involves comparing current unemployment rates to those in the corresponding period during the preceding three years, rather than the two years allowed under permanent extended benefit law. Making this change would enable states to meet the “10% higher” condition required for payment of extended benefits.

 

Many states have already enacted “three-year look-back” legislation for their extended benefit programs and they include the following: CA, CO, DC, DE, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, RI, SC, TX, WA, and WV. Enacting this type of legislation should enable individuals in these states, who have not exceeded their maximum number of weeks of eligibility, to continue to receive unemployment benefits through the end of the year.

 

Additional states may still take action as this temporary “three year look-back” opportunity will remain available until December 31st, 2011.

 

States that enact legislation will not be increasing costs for employers, as extended benefit payments will continue to be funded entirely by the federal government through December 31st, 2011 as well.

 

Dan Russo

Product Manager, Unemployment Cost Management Services

Thursday, June 02, 2011 2:50:38 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

Employer Tax Services

 

TALX_Unemployment_Flash_Report_053111.pdf (489.47 KB)
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 1:09:02 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Colorado Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Assessment Billing Statements to be sent in July 2011.  The state recently sent a flyer to employers that will be required to make a payment this year.  It explains how Colorado will assess employers to pay interest on their outstanding Title XII federal loan.  See the link below for a copy of the flyer.  Employers that elect the reimbursing method of financing and merit rated employers that have had zero benefit charges against their account or have a positive reserve ratio of 7% or more are exempt from this assessment.

Employer Tax Services

CO_Flyer.pdf (61.95 KB)
Wednesday, June 01, 2011 12:52:38 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Just about every employer I’ve ever had experience with can see value in investing in their current employees.  They immediately understand the value of providing competitive health insurance or ongoing training for career development opportunities. 

 

But how many of those same employers would give me a pretty skeptical glance if I told them they could also benefit by investing in employees that are actually being transitioned due to reductions in force?  Probably more than a few! 

 

I’ll admit that it does – at first – seem a little counterintuitive.   But by making sure a transitioning employee receives help to land quickly in another good job, you actually stand to gain quite a bit.  Please note that the key here is the word “quickly”; they must receive help that will keep them engaged and actually succeed in finding other work faster than they normally would.

 

Transitioning workers that land faster in another job collect fewer unemployment benefits. You could have a dramatic effect on your unemployment costs.  But there are also other benefits you should be aware of – some that aren’t necessarily or immediately financial in nature. 

 

How about less chance that an affected employee will post a negative comment about your organization on Facebook or LinkedIn for their entire social network to see?    Or maybe there is less chance of winding up in a negative blog article for all to see?   Or perhaps it conveys to the local communities where you have a presence that you are still a strong and caring choice for employment in the future?

 

Valuable indeed!

 

By Dave Caldwell

Product Manager – TALX Unemployment/Reemployment Solutions

Wednesday, June 01, 2011 8:43:12 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, MissouriNorth Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee, due to recent storms, tornadoes and flooding.  Persons who have temporarily lost their jobs because of a disaster and who do not qualify for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits may be eligible for DUA.
 
Details can be found by clicking on the following UC Bulletin links.
 

Bulletin_MO_DUA_052011.pdf (57.12 KB)
Bulletin_NC_DUA_052011.pdf (72.8 KB)
Bulletin_DUA_052011.pdf (139.66 KB)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 1:05:36 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Situation

 

The Disaster Declaration in Missouri has been amended to add ten additional counties, because of continued catastrophic weather, including the city of Joplin in Jasper County.

The counties now covered under the Disaster Declaration are: Butler, Cape Girardeau, Howell, Jasper, McDonald, Mississippi, New Madrid, Newton, Pulaski, Ripley, Scott, St. Louis, Stoddard, Stone and Taney.

 

Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available for workers impacted by severe storms, tornadoes and flooding. Individuals in Butler, Mississippi, New Madrid, St. Louis and Taney counties must file a DUA claim no later than June 16, 2011. Those in Cape

Girardeau, Howell, Jasper, McDonald, Newton, Pulaski, Ripley, Scott, Stoddard, and Stone counties must file no later than June 22, 2011.

 

Information on Applying for DUA

 

Persons must file a DUA claim by calling one of the Regional Claims Centers listed below, Monday through Friday between 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Regional Claims Centers: Jefferson City - 573-751-9040; Kansas City - 816-889-3101; St. Louis -314-340-4950; Springfield - 417-895-6851; Outside Local Calling Area - 800-320-2519

 

For filing purposes, persons will need to provide their Social Security Number and the name and address of their last employer or prospective employer. A copy of the most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs may also be required. Proof of employment must be filed with the initial claim or provided within 21 days of filing a DUA claim.

 

Application eligibility criteria include persons who:

·         can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to the place of employment as a direct result of a disaster; or

·         cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster; or

·         became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of the household; or

·         cannot work or perform self-employment due to closure of a facility by the federal government.

 

Benefit eligibility criteria for DUA stipulates individuals:

·         must be an unemployed or self-unemployed worker whose unemployment was caused as a direct result of the major disaster declared by the President;

·         must be a U.S. national or a qualified alien; and

·         must not qualify for regular UI benefits from any state;

 

Workers needing additional assistance regarding DUA may call toll-free 800-788-4002 or go to http://www.labor.mo.gov/ and click on “Disaster Unemployment Assistance.”

  

What You Need to Know about the DUA Program and the UI Program

 

Persons are eligible for DUA only if they do not first qualify for benefits under the regular state Unemployment Insurance (UI) program or exhaust regular benefits. If a person is unemployed due to a disaster and qualifies under the state UI program, benefits will be paid under the regular program first. State UI laws vary regarding non-charging for merit-rated employers when benefits are paid under the regular program for disaster separations.

 

Missouri laws do not have relief of charge provisions for benefits paid under the regular state UI program when the unemployment is due directly to a major natural disaster, as declared by the President. DUA is funded entirely by the federal government. Unlike regular state UI benefits, DUA funds are federally appropriated. DUA benefits are allocated from the President’s Disaster Relief Fund, so no employer is liable for benefits paid under the DUA program. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) transfers funds to the U.S. Department of Labor to use in states with designated major disaster areas that have Presidential Disaster Declarations.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 9:49:08 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, May 20, 2011

Kansas SB 77 was enacted.  This legislation keeps the current rate schedule in effect for 2012 through 2014 for employers in rate groups 1 to 33 which comprise all positive balanced employers.  The maximum rate for these groups will remain 5.4%.  On the other hand it creates an increased surcharge on negative balanced employers ranging from 0.1% up to 2.0% to pay the interest and principal on the state’s outstanding Title XII federal loan.  This change increases the maximum rate from 7.4% to 9.4% for this group of employers for at least 2012 through 2014.

 

Employer Tax Services

Friday, May 20, 2011 3:16:34 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, May 16, 2011

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

Flash_Report_051711.pdf (432.54 KB)

Employer Tax Services

Monday, May 16, 2011 3:39:34 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, May 13, 2011

South Carolina introduces HB 4198.  After wrangling with many different scenarios over the past several months representative Kenneth Bingham introduced the bill on May 11, 2011.  This legislation is in response to objections from employers and various business organizations to the large increase in employer unemployment costs for 2011 that were the result of the change in employer rate calculations and the increase in taxable wage base coupled with the increase in FUTA cost. The most significant part of the legislation reduces base rates retroactively to January 1, 2011 for employers in rate classes 13-20 by 32% but keeps rates for rate classes 1-12 the same.  It also provides a credit for 2011 and 2012 to employers in rate classes 1-12 to offset the increased FUTA cost, but also imposes a surcharge on employers in rate classes 13-20 to cover credits given to rate classes 1-12. 

Employer Tax Services

Friday, May 13, 2011 2:47:42 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, May 05, 2011

Arkansas probably will not issue bonds.  In a previous issue of the TALX Unemployment Flash Report we reported on SB 305 which authorizes the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, subject to approval of voters in a statewide election, to issue bonds to pay back the federal Title XII loan.  In a recent presentation made by Arkansas Chamber of Commerce president, Randy Zook, he told the group that new projections on the state’s $240 million debt suggest that a bond issue won’t save the state or employer’s enough money to pursue.  The new calculations produced by the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services and released by the Arkansas Chamber of Commerce also show that under reforms made in the last legislative session combined with improving economic conditions, Arkansas could be debt-free by 2015.

 

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, May 05, 2011 3:23:11 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Arizona Special Assessment (SA); additional information has been provided by the Arizona Department of Employment Security.  The SA was created in HB 2619 as mentioned in our last issue of the TALX Unemployment Flash Report.  The Tax Section of the DES Unemployment Insurance Administration is responsible for collecting the Special Assessment (SA) at a rate determined by the DES director.  The rates are currently projected to be 0.40% for 2011 and 0.60% for 2012, but the final decision on the rates has not yet been made.  The amount due for the first three quarters of 2011 is payable by October 31, 2011.   In September 2011, DES will mail employers statements of the SA amounts they owe, if any, for the first two quarters of 2011.  Beginning with the third quarter of 2011, SA amounts are payable with quarterly UI taxes and the combined amount of SA and Job Training Tax (if Job Training Tax is also applicable) will be reported on Line 7, Section C of the Unemployment Tax and Wage Report (form UC-018).  Employers may include SA amounts due for the first two quarters of 2011 on the report for the third quarter of 2011 and remit a single payment covering the total amount of SA due for the first three quarters plus UI Tax and Job Training Tax due for the third quarter.  Alternatively, they may pay the SA due for the first two quarters separately from the third quarter, either electronically via the online Tax and Wage System (TWS) at http://www.azuitax.com/ or by check or money order mailed to the regular quarterly report and payment mailing address.  DES will be sending a newsletter to all employers in July detailing all of the information about this new requirement.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, May 05, 2011 3:20:27 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, May 03, 2011

In late March, the Governor of Michigan signed into law a bill that would reduce the number of weeks an individual would be able to collect future unemployment compensation benefits. Effective January 1st, 2012, Michigan will stop paying benefits to the unemployed after only 20 weeks versus adhering to the current national standard of 26 weeks. This 23% reduction in the amount of available benefits will be coming at a time when the average duration of unemployment continues to rise and at the same time federal extended benefits are currently scheduled to end.

 

The change was quietly slipped into a bill geared toward making a technical change to state law that would enable the state’s current long-term unemployed to continue receiving extended unemployment benefits from the federal government for up to 99 weeks. These federal extended benefits would have started being phased out in early April without this technical change being made.

 

Michigan, along with over thirty other states, have seen their unemployment trust funds become depleted, as they were not sufficiently funded to meet the unforeseen demands of the recent recession. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce indicated the new law could save up to $300 million a year.

 

Additional states, including Florida, are taking a hard look at ways to curtail benefits and bring their unemployment trust funds back to solvency.

 

Now that Michigan has taken the initial "hit" from moving in the direction of reducing the duration of unemployment benefits, it will be interesting to see if other states will find it easier to follow their lead.

 

Dan Russo

Tuesday, May 03, 2011 11:17:17 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, April 29, 2011

In the wake of the Great Recession, the number of unemployment insurance (UI)claimants in many states has remained very high, straining the funding of state UI programs.  The National Association of Workforce Agencies (NASWA) has recently completed its second annual survey of states on their unemployment insurance taxes.  Following is a link to the results of the survey.

http://www.workforceatm.org/pdfaccess.cfm?pdf_path=/sections/pdf/2011/UITaxRevenueSurvey_Apr2011.pdf

Employer Tax Services

Friday, April 29, 2011 2:25:43 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

The Michigan Chamber Foundation this week released a major nonpartisan, economic study identifying up to $550 million in cost-saving reformsto Michigan’s bankrupt unemployment insurance system (UI).The study identifies strong and bold policy options to make Michigan more competitive and offset the need for additional employer taxes to pay down the nearly $4 billion Michigan owes to the federal government for its employer-financed UI system.  Following is a link to the full study.

http://www.michamber.com/files/michamber.com/Lucas%20Group-Michigan%20Chamber%20UI%20Report,%20Part%20I-Reforms.pdf

Employer Tax Services
Friday, April 29, 2011 2:09:04 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, April 28, 2011

Nevada AJR 9 was enacted.  This joint resolution urges the United States Congress to enact the Unemployment Insurance Solvency Act of 2011.  This act was introduced by Congress to offer fiscal relief to the states that have borrowed money from the Federal Government for the payment of unemployment benefits.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, April 28, 2011 8:53:28 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Arizona HB 2619 was enacted.  This legislation establishes a special assessment for 2011 and 2012 to pay interest and principal on the state’s outstanding Title XII federal loan.  The intent is to pay off the loan by November 10, 2012.  The assessment percentage will be set by the Director but is not intended to exceed 0.4% of taxable wages for 2011.  The assessment will be paid quarterly with regular unemployment contributions starting with the third quarter 2011.  Amounts due for first and second quarter will be due with third quarter.  It has not yet been determined by the state how employers will be notified of the amount due for first and second quarter.  We will provide additional information as it becomes available.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, April 28, 2011 8:52:10 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, April 25, 2011

Senate Joint Memorial 8008 was enacted.  This joint memorial requests the US Department of Labor to provide federal unemployment tax relief to WA state employers and a financial benefit to the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund equal to any benefit provided to states that borrowed form the federal unemployment account because the WA state unemployment insurance trust fund has remained solvent throughout the recession.

Employer Tax Services

Monday, April 25, 2011 3:38:24 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, April 21, 2011

The following Tax Alert was sent to all of our Florida clients this afternoon.  It references some issues with waiting until the last day to electronically file your unemployment quarterly reports and payments.

FL Tax Alert April 2011 (PDF, 69.48 KB)

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, April 21, 2011 2:59:34 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, April 18, 2011

Here is the latest addition of our Unemployment Flash Report.  Please send an e-mail to taxalerts@talx.com with any comments or suggestions.

TALX_Unemployment_Report_April18.pdf (438.17 KB)

Employer Tax Services

Monday, April 18, 2011 8:23:06 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

California has indicated that they will be borrowing from the Disability Fund to pay the 2011 interest on their Title XII federal loan; therefore, employers do not have to budget for any additional cost at this time.

Monday, April 18, 2011 8:18:39 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Missouri Title XII Interest Assessment has been estimated at $19.52 per employee.  The actual amount of the assessment will be shown on the second quarter 2011 Contribution and Wage Report, or will be indicated when filing electronically using USTAR; the state’s on-line system for employers.

Employer Tax Services

 

Monday, April 18, 2011 8:16:49 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, April 14, 2011

Missouri - Legislation was signed into law by Governor Jay Nixon on April 13, 2011, which reduces the maximum number of weeks of unemployment insurance benefits a claimant may collect during a benefit year from 26 to 20.  This goes into effect for claims filed 4/17/2011 and after.

 

Thursday, April 14, 2011 12:31:21 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Michigan - Governor Rick Snyder recently signed a bill which lowers the number of weeks a claimant may collect unemployment insurance (UI) from weeks 26 weeks to 20 weeks, beginning January 2012, making Michigan the first state to reduce the maximum duration of UI benefits for regular claims.

Thursday, April 14, 2011 12:30:40 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, April 11, 2011

Michigan has recently issued their winter 2011 issue of the “Michigan Employer Advisor”. The first page references the fact that applying for the Michigan Tax Credit is just a click away.  The tax credit will be available again this year to qualifying employers to ease the burden on employers that pay an additional federal unemployment tax due to the borrowing from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits.  The following link will take you to the issue.   http://www.michigan.gov/documents/uia_advisor_90020_7.pdf

Employer Tax Services

Monday, April 11, 2011 10:27:49 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, April 07, 2011

Arkansas SB 305 was enacted.  This legislation authorizes the Arkansas Development Finance Authority, subject to approval of voters in a statewide election, to issue bonds to pay back the federal Title XII loan.  The election will be called by proclamation of the Governor.  Bonds will be repaid from an unemployment obligation assessment imposed on employers.  The effective date of the assessment is the first day of the calendar quarter immediately following the month in which the Secretary of State certifies voter approval.  The assessment amount is dependent on the amount of bonds issued and will be 25%, 30%, 33.5% or 37.5% of the employer’s basic unemployment rate in effect on the date the Governor issues the proclamation calling an election.

Employer Tax Services

Thursday, April 07, 2011 8:26:31 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, April 05, 2011

In today’s litigious environment, documentation of employee performance and progressive disciplinary action has never been more important to employers.  It is the most effective tool available for managing sensitive personnel issues. Maintaining current and detailed documentation of employee activities helps discourage the filing of unwarranted unemployment claims and also protects your organization against various types of employee litigation.

 

For more details, click here.

 

Dan Russo, Product Manager, UC Services

Tuesday, April 05, 2011 6:02:45 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, March 31, 2011

Did you know that thirteen states include provisions in their regulations for employers to provide workers with a separation notice upon termination of employment?  For a list of states and form numbers, as well as updated information regarding whether or not these requirements are mandatory, please see the chart, with links to state websites below:

 

State

Form

Requirement

Forms

AZ

UIB-1015A

Section 23-772

Pamphlet – Take Care of Unemployment Business By The Internet or Telephone.  Copies on-line at www.azdes.gov/esa/uitax/taxform.asp

CA

No Form-employer must create

 

Section 1089

“Notice to Employee as to Change in Relationship” required for discharges, layoffs, leaves of absence, employment status change.  To view sample, go to page 91 in Employer’s Guide at  http://www.edd.cahwnet.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de44.pdf      

CA

DE 2320

Provide if Plant Closure or Mass Layoff

“For Your Benefit – California’s Programs for the Unemployed” -  http://www.edd.cahwnet.gov/Unemployment/Forms_and_Publications.htm

CT

UC-61

Reg. 31-222-9

For copies - (860) 263-6000 or on-line at http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/tic/sep-pack.html

 

GA

DOL-800

Section 34-8-190 (c)

 

For copies - (404) 656-3131 or

http://www.dol.state.ga.us/pdf/forms/dol800.pdf

 

IA

60-0154

No statutory requirement

For copies - http://www.iowaworkforce.org/ui/stawrs/60-0154i.htm

Notice of Separation or Refusal of Work

 

LA

LWC-77

Rule 323

 

For copies - Separation Notice Alleging Disqualification

http://www.laworks.net/Downloads/Downloads_UI.asp#Benefits

Form not required if separation is a workforce reduction and there is no separation pay (i.e., severance, vacation, etc.)

MA

0590-A

Section 32

 

For copies: (617) 626-5400 or 626-6560, Customer Service or http://www.mass.gov/Edwd/docs/pdf/claimants/0590A.pdf

 

MI

UIA-1711

Rule R421.204

 

For copies: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/uia_UC1711_76111_7.pdf

 

NV

NUCS-4139

Regulation 612.180  separation notice requirement repealed 2/23/2006

Voluntary use – copies at

http://www.detr.state.nv.us/uicont/forms/nucs4139.PDF

 

NJ

BC-10

Section 6 (a)

Reg. 12:17-3.1

For copies - (609) 292-2347, Bureau of Program Services/Standards, or http://www.nj.gov/labor/ui/frmemp.html - scroll down and click on BC-10

 

NY

IA 12.3

 Regulation 28

For copies - (518) 485-8589 or

http://www.labor.state.ny.us/formsdocs/ui/formsandpublications.shtm - Scroll down and click on IA 12.3 – Record of Employment

 

PA

UC-1609P

No statutory requirement

Voluntary use – copies available at www.dli.state.pa.us – click on downloadable forms; unemployment compensation;  miscellaneous and then scroll down to UC-1609P, Employer Information Form

 

TN

LB-0489

Rule 0560-1-1-02

Form not required if employee worked less than one week or is laid off for less than 7 days.

For copies- (615) 741-2153 or

http://www.state.tn.us/labor-wfd/Employers/forms/LB-0489.pdf

 

 

Dan Russo, UC Product Manager

Thursday, March 31, 2011 9:11:58 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We’ve all heard this before, but it’s never been more true than today. The depth of knowledge our employees possess, especially our managers and supervisors, is a vital asset critical to our ability to successfully meet organizational goals.

 

This is especially true when it comes to documenting employee terminations. Knowing the right questions to ask and maintaining complete and thorough records will enable you to effectively defend your organization against unwarranted claims for unemployment compensation, as well as other types of employee initiated actions.

 

Having the ability to provide the state with more concise and more complete information right out of the gate, immediately improves your chances of winning your initial claim protest and avoiding an appearance at an unemployment hearing. This will help you reduce claims costs and, at the same time, keep your staff in the office and focused on their primary goals.

 

Effective Training and Education are the Keys

 

Most organizations acknowledge the need to train employees on mission critical skills and processes.  However, in spite of our best intentions, training sometimes just doesn’t yield the results we want. This frequently happens because we don’t always use effective training methods. And – it’s difficult to select the most effective training methods, if we have not first established clear and concise objectives and goals.

 

Preparation for Training Initiatives - Key Elements

• Identify clear and concise objectives; what is the desired outcome?

• Choose the training program that is most appropriately related to your organization’s overall 

     strategy and specific objectives

• Identify individuals and/or job positions that need training

• Test the selected product and assess the vendor

• Create a carefully developed communication and rollout plan

 

What Can We Do to Provide Effective Training?

 

Providing convenient access to training tools and keeping individuals engaged are the two most important factors determining the success of employee training, whether in person or over the Internet. Research conducted on the principles of successful training has consistently identified the following needs:

 

  • Effective training enables the student to move through the material and learn at their own personal pace.
  • Individuals learn best, and retain what they’ve learned, when they are taught in relatively short blocks of time, usually 15-20 minutes. 
  • Breaks can be provided by moving to a new topic, changing scenarios and/or adding an interactive element. 
  • Adding an interactive element increases retention and enables the student to demonstrate they understand the objective being presented.
  • Convenience is the key to ensuring full participation.

The result of any successful training initiative is a measurable transfer of knowledge and skills that will leave your organization better equipped to increase your bottom line. Make sure your staff has the knowledge and skills needed to ask all the right questions when documenting employee separations.  Remember, knowledge is power!

 

Dan Russo & Aimee Cernik, UC Product Management

 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 3:09:51 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, March 25, 2011

Severance Pay – Allocating Benefits to a Specific Period of Time Can Reduce Your Costs

 

Severance benefits are payments made to employees upon the termination of their employment. Although severance payments are by no means mandatory, employers can elect to make payments under a number of circumstances, based on their established employment policies. The level of severance payments available to a former employee are often determined by the duration of employment.

 

When an individual files a claim for unemployment compensation, the state will always ask if any severance pay was received as part of the terms of their separation from their employer. In many states (but not all), severance pay is deducted from unemployment benefits available during individual weeks of eligibility. 

 

The amount of pay reported, and most importantly, the time frames to which the payments were allocated can have a significant impact on the benefits charged to you by the state.

 

Making the Decision to Allocate Severance Payments

 

Although regulations vary from state to state, allocating severance payments over a specific number of weeks can delay the start of benefits and may ultimately reduce the duration of benefits received by an individual. Should a former employee receive six weeks of severance pay as part of the termination agreement, allocating those severance payments over the six weeks immediately following the date of termination will result in their not receiving benefits until the six weeks of severance have been exhausted.

 

Example 1 – Severance Not Allocated: In the situation described above, if severance payments were not allocated and the individual remained unemployed for twelve weeks, they would receive 6 weeks of full pay and 12 weeks of unemployment benefits.

 

Example 2: Severance Is Allocated: If severance was allocated, the individual would receive 6 weeks of full pay, but only 6 weeks of unemployment benefits, following the exhaustion of the severance pay.

 

The former employee would be receiving payments throughout the entire length of their unemployment, but you would be charged for 6 fewer weeks of benefits. Multiply this figure by the average weekly benefit amount of $296 dollars and you can easily see the savings that can be generated.

 

Remember, the allocation of severance has no impact on an individual’s eligibility to receive their unemployment benefits. As always, eligibility for benefits is based on an individual’s reason for separation from their place of employment. Allocation of benefits simply helps determine when those benefits will begin to be received.

 

Please note – in many states, severance is deductible only if it is allocated!

 

Click below for state specific rules regarding the impact of reporting severance pay.

State Specific Severance Pay and Unemployment Benefits (2).docx (22.74 KB)

Dan Russo

Friday, March 25, 2011 12:13:45 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, March 24, 2011

The attached buletin was sent to our New Mexico clients yesterday regarding the state's new on-line UI Tax system.

Unemployment Tax Management Services

NM On-line System 3-2011.pdf (61.12 KB)
Thursday, March 24, 2011 12:43:15 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, March 18, 2011

Connecting Job Seekers with 50 Million Jobs.  Click here to learn more.

Dave Caldwell

Friday, March 18, 2011 11:09:13 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, March 04, 2011

States are experiencing historic levels of claim filings. At the same time, the average duration of payments on individual claims continues to rise. When employers fail to provide complete details regarding a former employee's separation in response to an unemployment claim, it results in increased costs for both them and the state. 

Learn how to avoid unnecessary costs and potential penalties, while maintaining your credibility with state UI agencies.

UI Agencies Need Complete Separation Information.docx (635.43 KB)

Dan Russo

Friday, March 04, 2011 1:55:05 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, February 22, 2011

President Obama’s budget submission for Fiscal Year 2012 was released on Monday, February 14th. In relation to unemployment taxes, the budget provides for short term relief from interest on outstanding loans made to states for the payment of unemployment benefits. The proposal would extend the current waiver on interest for both 2011 and 2012. The impact of the short term interest relief is estimated to be $1.22 billion for 2011 and $1.79 billion for 2012.

 

The proposal also delays FUTA offset credit reduction penalties scheduled for 2011 and 2012 for states with outstanding loans. This delay would result in reduced costs for over 20 states.

 

The item potentially having the largest impact on employers involves a proposed increase in the FUTA taxable wage base in 2014 to $15,000. The proposed change also includes a provision for permanent indexing of the FUTA wage base to future growth in wages. The current FUTA wage base of 7,000 has not changed in nearly 30 years, since set at this figure in 1983. In an effort to offset the cost related to the increase in the taxable wage base, there is also a provision included that would reduce the FUTA tax rate to 0.38%, which would make the net results “revenue neutral”.

 

The existing FUTA tax formula (6.2% - 5.4% credit reduction) results in a net rate of 0.8% or $56 per employee (.008 x’s $7,000) for individuals with earnings that reach or exceed the FUTA wage base. The new formula (.0038 x’s $15,000) would result in a per employee cost of $57. The immediate net change would be minimal, if all provisions are kept intact. However, should the proposed increase go into effect without the corresponding reduction in the FUTA tax rate, the federal tax per employee would increase to $120.

 

Although it appears the initial impact at the federal level could be small, the impact to employers at the state level could be significant. The change in the federal taxable wage base would most likely result in individual states following suit and increasing their wage bases to match the proposed new federal base. In 2011, there are 34 states with taxable wage bases below the proposed $15,000 figure.

 

The following is an example of the potential impact on an employer, at the state level, should these states be required to make the same change. For an employer with an unemployment tax rate of 4.0% in a state with a $7,000 taxable wage base, such as California, should the state taxable wage base be raised to $15,000, the cost per employee would increase from $280 to $600. And - this figure will continue to rise each year as the states keep pace with annual increases in the federal wage base due to indexing.

 

Increasing state taxable wage bases would enable states to successfully replenish their trust funds more quickly, but the additional cost to employers would be substantial.

 

We’ll continue to provide updates as details become available.

 

Dan Russo

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 1:50:26 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Over the past few years, states have been forced to borrow from the Federal Government to pay benefits as coffers have become depleted due to the extended high unemployment.  There are currently 32 states borrowing under Title XII. 

 

Employers in states that aren’t able to pay back their loans within specified time periods will see FUTA Credit reductions.  At least three states (Indiana, Michigan & South Carolina) have 2010 retroactive reductions, and employers in 21 other states will see FUTA Credit reductions if they don’t find alternative ways to pay back their loans in 2011. 

 

The question on employer’s minds has understandably been “How will the states pay back the loans and how will it affect my organization”?  Well, employers will probably see anything from increased tax rates, higher wage bases and in some cases, special assessments.  All are designed to try and pay back outstanding loans and build the state unemployment trust funds back up.

 

As an example, in Arizona, HR 2025 was recently introduced and if passed, will create a special assessment to pay interest and principal on Title XII loans;

 

·         0.4% of taxable wages for 2011 billed in the third quarter and due by the end of the fourth quarter

·         At least 0.6% of taxable wages for 2012 billed in the second quarter and due by the end of the third quarter

 

While it’s not clear how the states will fund the repayment of these loans, it is clear that employers will probably foot most of the bill.  In order to help minimize their exposure, employers should keep close tabs on what is happening in the states in which they do business and have processes in place to ensure they are not paying any unwarranted costs.

 

Tammy Mullin

Wednesday, February 02, 2011 7:49:24 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, January 10, 2011

Separations by Mutual Agreement - Quit or Discharge?  Click here to find out.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, January 10, 2011 8:55:30 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, January 06, 2011

See attached notice to employers regarding OK 2011 Unemployment Changes regarding wage base & filing requirements.

OK Mailer January 6, 2011.pdf (52.03 KB)

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, January 06, 2011 1:32:53 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Here’s some more great advice from our Client Relationship Team:

Some may believe that all instances in which an employee quits disqualify the claimant from unemployment benefits. While most quits, especially for non-compelling reasons, are disqualifying there are significant exceptions. The former employee has the “burden of proof” and, in order to obtain benefits, must prove that he or she voluntarily quit with “good cause” attributable to the employment/employer such as a substantial change in pay, working conditions, etc. Some states have broader “good cause” definitions as well--allowing benefits for quits for certain compelling personal reasons which leave the claimant with no reasonable alternative.

Good cause is generally established when work-related conditions have substantially deteriorated or a situation exists that would force a reasonable person who is otherwise interested in remaining employed to nonetheless leave the job. Careful reporting and documentation of voluntary quits is vital to effective control of unwarranted claims. The following details what typically may and may not constitute good cause, but employers must be aware that this is an area in which the states vary greatly.

Quits Which May Not Constitute Good Cause

·         Attend School

·         Get Married

·         Look for other work, e.g., career change

·         Stay at home with children

·         Job abandonment--no call no show for three or more days

Quits That May Constitute Good Cause for Leaving*

 

Good cause for quitting may exist if an employer substantially breaches a contract or agreement of employment or terms of hire such as the reasons listed below. Usually the change must be deemed detrimental to the claimant’s interests. Appropriate disciplinary notices or suspensions do not normally provide good cause for quitting.

 

·         Substantial or adverse changes in terms of hire, e.g.,

o    Reduction in hours or pay

o    Changes in duties causing a loss of skills. Demotion or loss of responsibility

o    Changes in worksite, assuming employee hardship, unless it was understood at the time of hire that the employee would be required to work at different job sites

o    Violations of wage and hour laws such as denial of a lunch break without a written waiver from Department of Labor

o    Evidence of harassment or discrimination

o    Working conditions detrimental to health or safety

 

* Good cause for quitting in some of the above cases may not exist if an employee accepts the changes for a significant period of time.

 

Quits which May Constitute Good Cause – Personal Reasons

 

·         Quit for medical reasons, for example doctor’s advice to move to another climate

·         Care for dependent parent or child

·         Quit to follow a spouse who transferred elsewhere or is in the military

 

Protecting the Employer in Voluntary Quit Cases

 

As in discharge issues, the key protection for employers in a voluntary quit situation is documentation. Employers should take care to obtain, if possible, a letter of resignation and/or conduct an exit interview documenting reasons for a quit. Employers should attempt to find out exactly why an employee is quitting. Documentation should be signed and dated and note the employee’s last day of intended work. If an employee is leaving because of an alleged problem on the job, document the background details and attempts, if any, to find a solution, e.g. the offer of a transfer or leave of absence. An employer should be prepared to present facts to show the claimant did not have good cause to quit or evidence that the reason the claimant gave for quitting is not factually correct. The employer may need to show that they have attempted to resolve the situation with the employee, i.e., alternatives were available to the employee prior to resignation.

 

Note: A quit in lieu of discharge is not a voluntary quit; it is a discharge since continuing work was not available.

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, January 04, 2011 10:18:56 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, December 13, 2010

Unemployment benefit overpayments are a problem.  A big enough problem in the Unemployment System and other programs that it resulted in the signing of Executive Order 13520 by President Obama on November 20, 2009.  In a previous blog, we talked about the importance of providing complete and accurate information to the state at the point where eligibility based on separation reason is determined (See “Unemployment Insurance Benefit Payment Integrity”), but according to Department of Labor Audit data, this only accounts for about 22% of all unemployment benefit overpayments.   Unemployment Benefit overpayments in general, amount to 9% - 10% of all benefit payments made in a given year.

The largest category, accounting for 30% of overpayments is due to unreported or misreported benefit year earnings.  This can occur if a claimant goes back to work and continues to collect for a period of time or there are errors in calculating weekly benefit amounts in situations where claimants are unemployed for partial weeks.  It can also occur if an employer pays severance to a laid off worker to provide income post-separation.  Yes, there are cases where claimants consciously defraud the system, (see “Unemployment Fraud Costs New Jersey $50M”), but for the most part, the overpayments are due to simple errors, lack of information or a misunderstanding of the system on the part of the claimant.

State Agencies and the DOL are trying to do their part by better educating claimants and employers can play a part as well.  States generally send ongoing requests for wage data after initial eligibility is established to ensure ongoing eligibility.  Responding to these requests for ongoing data can help states guard against overpayments for unreported or misreported benefit year earnings.  Also, check those charge statements within the required time limit and report errors back to the state.     

Tammy Mullin

Monday, December 13, 2010 11:08:42 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, December 02, 2010

Wanted to make you all aware that the state of Alabama is not mailing their tax rate notices this year.  Rate notices are available as of December 1, 2010 on the state’s eGov website at the following link:

https://dir.alabama.gov/eGov/login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2feGov%2fDefault.aspx

 

  • If you have already set up an eGov account
    • login and scroll down to “Tax Rate/Advance Payment Rate Notice” and click on it
    • Enter your 10 digit AL account number and Federal ID
    • Click Submit
    • Select Rate Year 2011
    • Click View Notice
  • If you have not set up an eGov account, set one up and then follow the instructions above

If you find any discrepancies, the deadline for filing an appeal is December 30, 2010.

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, December 02, 2010 10:52:42 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The following notice was sent to all TALX clients.

Situation

The Vermont Department of Labor mailed letters informing employers of their outreach efforts to the business community about unemployment insurance (UI) program reforms enacted earlier this year. Educational seminars are being conducted state-wide to help employers understand the legislative changes.

What Employers Need to Know

The intent of the UI Reform legislation is to help Vermont reestablish and maintain long-term Trust Fund solvency, while avoiding increased costs to the state and FUTA credit loss to employers.

Highlights of the changes in effect, unless otherwise noted, are as follows:

Benefits

• The maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount remains frozen at $425, as long as the state continues to borrow funds in order to pay benefits.

• The disqualification weeks have been increased from 12 to 15 for dismissals due to misconduct.

• A “gross misconduct” definition has been added to the law, which includes, but is not limited to: theft, fraud, intoxication, intentional serious damage to property, intentional infliction of personal injury, any conduct that constitutes a felony, or repeated incidents (after written warning) of public use of profanity or unprovoked insubordination. An individual discharged for gross misconduct will not have his/her wages earned with the terminating employer used in the weekly benefit amount calculation.

• For new claims filed on or after July 1, 2012, otherwise eligible individuals will have to serve a one-week waiting period before benefits are paid. (This provision will sunset in 2017 or when there is a positive balance in the Trust Fund, whichever is later.)

Tax

• The taxable wage base will increase from $10,000 to $13,000 in 2011 and to $16,000 in 2012.

• Effective when the Trust Fund is solvent – balance is greater than zero and loans are repaid - the taxable wage base will index upward annually by overall wage growth.

• The taxable wage base will decrease by $2,000 upon return to Tax Rate Schedule III and by another $2,000 upon return to Tax Rate Schedule I. (Currently, Tax Rate Schedule V is in effect.)

Fines and Penalties

• The penalty for filing untimely reports increases from $35 to $100. This includes claim-related requests for separation and wage information, as well as employer quarterly wage and contribution reports.

• An employer’s account will remain chargeable for overpaid UI benefits, if the overpayment resulted from the employer’s failure to respond to request forms to determine eligibility, and UI benefits are later rescinded for whatever reason.

• Employers who misclassify workers may be assessed a fine up to $5,000.

Available Assistance

The current schedule of employer seminars can be found by going to www.labor.state.vt.us and then clicking on “UI Reform – 2010.” The Vermont Department of Labor has expressed interest in offering additional or tailored presentations to businesses or associations. Employers with questions or interest in a seminar about the UI changes may contact Maria Beede at maria.beede@state.vt.us or by calling (802) 828-4254.

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 2:28:09 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, November 15, 2010

The following tax alert was sent to TALX clients.

Situation

Employers are required to pay Federal Unemployment Tax Act taxes (FUTA) and state unemployment insurance taxes (SUI). They may obtain a credit of 5.4% against the full FUTA tax of 6.2% when they file the annual IRS FUTA 940 return each year. To obtain the credit, state unemployment taxes paid must be paid in full and on time.

The Social Security Act requires a reduction in the FUTA credit when a state unemployment trust fund has become insolvent and has had to borrow federal funds. When the federal loans remain unpaid for at least two consecutive years, a reduction in the amount of the available credit occurs. A FUTA credit reduction is the equivalent of an overall increase in the FUTA tax. The reduction in the FUTA tax credit is 0.3% for the first year and an additional 0.3% for each succeeding year. This amount is applied against the outstanding loan balance until it is repaid. The determination of this tax increase occurs on November 10 of the calendar year it is effective.

Indiana and South Carolina

As of November 10, 2010, the states of Indiana and South Carolina had outstanding UI federal loans totaling $1,842,941,028.37 and $886,662,351.97, respectively. As a result, employers in those states will see a 0.3% increase in their FUTA taxes for calendar year 2010. The 1.1% FUTA tax rate will cost an additional $21 per employee based on the $7,000 FUTA wage base. (0.8% + 0.3% = 1.1%).

Michigan

As of November 10, 2010, the state of Michigan had an outstanding UI federal loan balance in the amount of $3,810,769,149.67. Since 2010 is the second year federal loans have been outstanding, employers in MI will be required to pay 1.4% in FUTA taxes, or an additional $42 per employee. (0.8% +0.3% + 0.3%. = 1.4%)

What Employers Need to Know

Such FUTA tax increases are effective retroactive to January 1, 2010 and will be due on the IRS Form 940 which needs to be filed by January 31, 2011. If the current amount of states borrowing federal funds for UI purposes remains unchanged, 22 other states will be liable for similar FUTA tax increases in 2011.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, November 15, 2010 6:35:50 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, November 12, 2010

Being in the unemployment business as long as we have, this is one of those questions we hear over and over again from employers.  And it’s a great question – it is most likely hard to understand without some explanation.

When deciding whether or not to pay benefits, most states try to determine if an individual’s termination for failure to perform falls into one of two categories:  Was it that the employee just plain couldn’t do the job, or that they just plain wouldn’t do the job that’s asked of them.  These are two very different things and have different implications for unemployment benefit purposes.

Not being able to do a job cannot generally be considered misconduct – which is broadly defined as willful and intentional disregard for the employer’s best interests.  It’s either a bad hire by the employer or the expectations of the job may have changed substantially such that someone who was previously able to do their job can no longer perform.   This may be due to any number of things, like the introduction of new technology, new processes, or even new – and higher – production standards.  In any case, if the unemployment office determines this is the case, there will almost always be no disqualification since the non-performance is not willful or intentional and can therefore not be considered misconduct.

Not being WILLING to do a job, however, can be another situation entirely.  It may – in many cases – be considered misconduct.  You should know, however, it is also quite a bit harder to prove.  The employer must demonstrate that the employee has met the same expectations in the past but has at some point willfully and intentionally decided to stop meeting expectations.  This may be illustrated in some cases by a series of positive performance evaluations followed by a series of negative ones.  And, as in any misconduct situation, the case is always strongest when accompanied by multiple warnings.

As with any unemployment situation, each issue can be viewed quite differently from state-to-state.  Before modifying your company policies, documentation, or procedures, it is always a good idea to either read up on that state’s unemployment laws and regulations, or seek the assistance of a qualified expert in Unemployment Insurance.

Dave Caldwell

Product Manager, Unemployment/Reemployment Services

Friday, November 12, 2010 11:43:50 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Reimbursing Employers Can Gain Relief from Charges on Base Period Claims

 

This is a final reminder for Reimbursing employers in the state of Pennsylvania. Through payment of the State Solvency Fee, Pennsylvania provides a rare opportunity for Reimbursing employers to gain total relief from charges for certain types of employee separations on both Last Employer and Base Period Employer claims.

 

Should you elect to pay the State Solvency Fee, you would be eligible to request relief from charges on the following types of employee separations:

  • Quit work without good cause attributable to the employment
  • Was discharged by for willful misconduct
  • Was separated for reasons that involve fault on the part of the employee
  • Was discharged or temporarily suspended for failure to submit and/or pass a drug/alcohol test conducted pursuant to an established substance abuse policy
  • Is still working in a part-time job that is continuing without material change and was separated from another base-year employer
  • Was separated from the employer due to a cessation of business of 18 months or less caused by a disaster. (A disaster is defined as a fire, flood, or other physical occurrence beyond the employer's control, caused naturally or accidentally.)

Taking advantage of this opportunity may not make sense for all reimbursing employers. However, in these difficult times, every opportunity to reduce costs should be closely examined.

 

As part of the decision making process, you will need to carefully compare the actual cost of the election with the potential savings that could be generated from being able to contest these types of claims. For those employers with a high percentage of their claims falling into the categories outlined above, significant savings can be realized.

 

If you are a reimbursing employer operating in Pennsylvania, you should have received form UC-591C in mid to late October. This form provides the amount of your Solvency Fee for 2011, which is based on a rate of 0.12% of gross wages paid during the period of 7/1/2009 through 6/30/2010.

 

The payment to the state is due no later than thirty days from the mailing date indicated on your UC-591C 9. This should be November 19th, but please confirm via your actual form. As long as your response is postmarked by the due date, both your application and payment will be accepted by the state.

 

Your remittance should be made out to the PA UC Fund. Please include your employer account number on your check. If you no longer have the envelope provided by the state, payments should be mailed to the following address:

 

           Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

           Office of UC Tax Services

           651 Boss St.

           Harrisburg PA 17121-0750

 

Dan Russo,

Unemployment Cost Management, Product Manager

Tuesday, November 09, 2010 2:15:29 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The experienced and expert team from TALX speaks out to help employers manage their unemployment costs.  Here's what Tracy Young, another one of our dedicated Unemployment Insurance Consultants has to say:

 

Seasonal employers can be at a disadvantage when recalling workers from a layoff if they do not keep a complete and accurate record of the details surrounding the job offer denial. Most states allow 7 days after a job is refused to report it for consideration to determine continuing benefit eligibility. The states are very specific on the information that is needed to prove that a job offer was refused.

 

  • Date of contact
  • Name and address of the employer
  • Name and title of the person that contacted the claimant
  • Area code and phone number or email address of employer
  • Type of work offered
  • How the job contact was made
  • Reason that claimant refused work
  • Rate of pay of job offered
  • Duration of employment offered
  • Start date of employment offer

Claimants that are filing for unemployment benefits have to be able, available, and actively seeking work. If the claimant is not actively seeking work by refusing a valid job offer, then, by state law they do not qualify for unemployment benefits.

 

The state will look at a refusal of work and determine whether the offer was suitable and whether or not the claimant refused with good cause.  Some factors that they look at include previous work experience, prevailing salary for the job in that geographical area, physical and mental fitness, risk to your health, safety, the distance from your home, and your length of unemployment and prospects for obtaining work in your customary occupation.

 

Tracy Young

Wednesday, November 03, 2010 10:28:19 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, November 01, 2010

I ran across this interesting company, Hire Me Tee that is betting on the fact that the unemployed will want to plaster their unemployed status across the front of their T-Shirt for the world to see.  At first I chuckled, but then it made me think some more about some opposing forces that can really hamper a person’s job search.

 

As this site suggests, a high proportion of jobs these days are found through networking.  We’ve talked about this before in some of our previous posts; “Hosting a Job Club for Exiting Employees” and “Partnering with Employers in Your Area to Get People Back to Work Faster”.  Given the way people are finding jobs these days I can’t stress enough the importance of thinking about ways to help your exiting employees make connections.

Networking is tough though.  It requires people to get out there and mingle and basically tell people that you have lost your job.  Regardless of whether it was through no fault of their own, people still feel that there is an emotional stigma attached to saying “I’m unemployed”.  I remember when I was out of work for a year or so because I decided to stay home with my newborn daughter.  People were always asking me what I did for a living and even though my hiatus was by choice, I still felt like I wasn’t living up to some perceived expectation that you had to be gainfully employed to be of value in our society.

Times have changed and with the current economic conditions, there are more and more people out there of great value that are becoming unemployed through no fault of their own.   Employers can definitely play a part in helping their exiting employees make connections after a job loss by helping them see that they still maintain great value and offering suggestions on how they can put themselves out there.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, November 01, 2010 12:41:07 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Sunday, October 24, 2010
On October 22, 2010, a weekly PBS television program titled “Need to Know” aired. One of the show’s segments focused on unemployment insurance and included specific references to third-party administrators, including TALX.

Although many of the points within the feature were somewhat sensationalistic and inaccurate, the segment did attempt to educate the public about unemployment insurance eligibility.

However, during the PBS segment, reference was made to dated and incomplete information about TALX’s work with state agencies. TALX is fully committed to aiding the communications process between states and employers to ensure that eligible individuals receive unemployment benefits to which they are entitled. TALX handles millions of claims annually, accurately and efficiently. At no time has TALX intentionally thwarted the claim process or encouraged unnecessary appeals. 

In direct response to specific needs at the state level, TALX established a dedicated Government Relations Division to connect regularly with Unemployment Insurance leadership to support successful program administration. Each year, TALX facilitates site visits with state agencies and works together to review the claims and appeals processes. To further enhance communication, this year, TALX leadership met separately with the UI Committee of the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) and with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Unemployment Insurance.

TALX is also very engaged in a federal-state initiative known as SIDES (State Information Data Exchange System), which is a method established to improve timeliness, accuracy and cost reductions for all via a standard format for electronic exchange of separation information.

Despite what the PBS segment has potentially led viewers to believe, third-party administrators - - such as TALX - - do not render judgments regarding eligibility for benefits and should not be vilified. And, in the case of TALX, our organization consistently demonstrates true partnership with state and federal organizations to ensure unemployment insurance best practices. Keep in mind:

By law, this system is not entitlement-based. It has been designed to provide unemployment benefits in certain circumstances for certain workers. For example, one such circumstance might be lack of work.

When a former worker believes that he or she is eligible to collect unemployment insurance, that individual files a claim with the state. The state processes the claim and sends it to the person’s former employer to see if the reasons provided by the individual regarding separation and the employer’s records are in agreement. Many employers outsource this process to third-party administrators, similar to how they might hire a payroll processing company or similar expert resource to handle a complex business process.

With the majority of claims, there is agreement and benefits are subsequently processed. In some instances, there is disagreement. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, claimants file three times as many appeals as employers. During the PBS feature, unemployment fraud was cited as significant. In 2009, the number was $2.4 billion.

When an appeal occurs, the states may collect more detailed information from the employer and the individual to make a determination on eligibility.

As a third-party administrator, TALX works within the law to provide information to state agencies based on employer data and documentation. Approximately 65% of all claims handled by TALX do not have an issue of eligibility and the claimant may collect immediately as long as they meet all other state requirements. Only 2% of all claims processed by TALX result in an employer appeal being filed.

To request additional information, please call the TALX hotline: 314-684-2599.

Sunday, October 24, 2010 12:04:22 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Saturday, October 23, 2010

If you report wages in Louisiana, please read the attached notification from the State Workforce Commission about penalties you may face if your payroll reports are not filed timely or accurately.

LA Mailer 10-14-10.pdf (52.66 KB)

Tammy Mullin

Saturday, October 23, 2010 2:33:55 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The following was sent to TALX clients -

Situation

The state of South Dakota’s trust fund remains solvent. The balance in the trust fund as of September 30, 2010 was $27 million, which results in the elimination of the remaining surcharge of 0.1% that had been in place for the third quarter, 2010. The surcharge had decreased from 1.0% for the first and second quarters of 2010 to 0.1% effective with the third quarter, 2010. The surcharge has been eliminated for fourth quarter, 2010 as the trust fund balance exceeds $16.5 million at the end of the quarter.

The trust fund has been increasing as a result of the passage of SB186 and HB1018 during the 2010 legislative session. SB186 reduced the surcharge amount for 2010 and 2011, increased the taxable wage base and created a new tax rate table with higher rates for employers with negative account balances. HB1018 brought $11.7 million in federal funds to the trust fund while expanding benefits for workers in state-approved training for high-demand occupations.

What Employers Need to Know

This increase in the trust fund balance means employers’ tax rates for the fourth quarter, 2010 are decreased by 0.1%. The balance in the trust fund, as projected, increased above $16.5 million as of September 30, 2010 eliminating the surcharge all together.

The eliminated surcharge rate should appear as 0.0% on your paper quarterly unemployment report or when you file on the internet.

What You Can Expect

Through analysis and understanding of state unemployment tax changes, employers can be proactive in unemployment budget planning, impact studies and rate projections. In the event of an impending merger, acquisition, reorganization, or divestiture, additional employment tax planning and compliance issues should be examined.

Tammy Mullin

 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 8:02:55 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt

I was traveling to the UI Directors Conference in Washington D.C. yesterday with a co-worker and we started talking about an article I read where a U.K. Job Seeker was crying foul about a Jobseeker Allowance (U.K. unemployment benefit program) requirement to participate in a training and skills program in order to keep his benefits.

The job seeker showed up for training thinking that he was going to be learning valuable job skills that could help him find a new career and instead was asked to wrap Christmas presents for a charity and make sandwiches. 

Well, the job seeker was understandably disappointed since he thought he was going to be getting career help, but the thought Joe and I kicked around was how great would that be if every unemployed individual decided to volunteer just one day a week to a charity.  A mandate is probably not feasible, but a well placed call to action might not be a bad idea. 

Plus, the hidden benefit for the job seeker is that more and more individuals are actually finding long-term gainful employment in organizations where they started out as volunteers. 

Sounds like a win/win to me…

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, October 19, 2010 1:16:21 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, October 18, 2010

The following was issued to TALX clients -

Situation

The third quarter, 2010 contribution report filing deadline of October 31st falls on Sunday this year. We have contacted the state agency to determine if that deadline will be extended to the following business day.

What Employers Need to Know

According to Texas law, if the quarterly filing deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or a legal holiday, it is extended to the following business day. No penalty will be assessed as long as the report and payment are postmarked or filed electronically before midnight CST the next business day. That date is Monday, November 1st for this quarter.

Since the computation date for employer’s 2011 rate calculations is September 30, 2010, another section of the law applies. Only taxable payroll from reports filed and paid by October 31, 2010 is included in the 2011 rate calculation. That date is NOT extended; therefore, employers should plan on filing and making payment by October 31, 2010 to ensure proper credit in their rate calculation. Not getting credit for the third quarter taxable payroll could have a detrimental effect on the 2011 rate assignment.

Any unreported wages or unpaid taxes that remain delinquent as of October 31, 2010 will also not be included.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, October 18, 2010 4:51:12 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, October 11, 2010

Here’s some more great insight from our Client Relationship team.  While geared toward and sent to TALX clients, I thought our blog readers might find some useful information in the following as well.

 

10 Ways to Minimize Your Unemployment Costs

 

Unemployment taxes are one of the few taxes employers can directly control and tiny fluctuations in an employer’s tax rate can have large monetary effects. Like other taxes, unemployment taxes represent additional overhead, however most business taxes are fixed by law. Unemployment tax rates fluctuate based on the employer’s payroll and its ability to control the unemployment benefits charges against its account. An employer’s unemployment taxes go into a fund specifically for unemployment. The amount that is withdrawn from that account is what determines an employer’s tax rate. Therefore every unemployment claim that is not protested or lost has the potential to directly affect an employer’s tax rate.

 

Employers may directly impact their bottom line with a few strategic approaches to reducing unemployment costs. While perhaps these practices may be old news, they bear repeating since controlling all costs is critical, now more than ever, in the current economic climate.

 

1. Document, document, document

 

Effective documentation is crucial. Many times employers may have the burden of proof with the state agency. Documentation may help in matters outside UI such as EEOC matters and employment litigation. Documentation in discharges and voluntary quit situations is different. Reference TALX’s separation checklists illustrating best practices. Your CRM can provide additional copies. In the majority of cases involving discharge, documentation (meeting the burden of proof) is the only means an employer may have to back up the decision to terminate. Retain documents for at least 18 months. Provide policies to employees and obtain a signed acknowledgement of policies or any changes to policies.

 

2. Compose effective written warnings

 

Warnings are an aspect of progressive discipline that effectively ensures an employee understands what is expected of them. State unemployment agencies look for warnings, in most instances, to determine if the claimant was discharged for misconduct and effective, clear, non judgmental warnings help the employer meet the burden of proof in discharges. Elements of a good written warning include the violation, expected action to improve, the consequences if the standard is not met, employee’s action plan and comments, signature of employee, signature of witness, signature of issuer.

 

3. Manage your human resources wisely

 

Practices include performing detailed reference checks. Consistently use progressive discipline. Enforce rules and policies uniformly. Follow an employee’s progress from the moment they are hired. In addition, thorough talent assessment before hire will alleviate problems down the road. The TALX talent assessment division, pan, which delivers employee acquisition, evaluation and development solutions for corporate and government clients worldwide is a content aggregator with hundreds of assessments from more than 50 of the industry’s top test publishers. Pan can help reduce costs in the hiring and recruiting process as well as decrease turnover and its related costs. Please see http://www.panpowered.com/ 

 

4. Utilize your TALX partnership to full advantage

 

TALX is your partner and works with you at every stage of the unemployment process—claims, appeals, hearings, charge audits, best practices, unemployment reports and client education. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions of your service team or Client Relationship Manager. Insight web reporting provides the tools to stay abreast of unemployment activity and costs. TALX.com (http://www.talx.com) features ongoing blogs, e-seminars and industry highlights. Your contract may offer guidance, preparation and participation in hearings from contracted hearing representatives who will assist you in winning the appeal. Providing timely information and sufficient information to TALX, especially at the initial level of the claim, can help you avoid penalties, loss of appeal rights and being charged for benefits collected.

 

5. Track unemployment costs and budget appropriately

 

Use TALX reports and services to track claims, monitor potential liability and review past history to foresee budgets for unemployment taxes. Be familiar with the base period and benefit year in your states and use tax information provided by TALX to ensure budgets are adequate.

 

6. Know the difference between voluntary resignations, discharges and lack of work claims

 

A voluntary resignation, especially for non-compelling reasons, is usually disqualifying but there are significant exceptions. States may allow benefits for a quit with good cause.  In a voluntary quit, the burden of proof rests with the former employee. A discharge for misconduct is defined as willful misconduct connected with the work which resulted in a tendency for damage to the employer’s interests. A discharge in which the employer initiates the termination puts the burden of proof on the employer. In discharges avoid the use of unsatisfactory performance in cases where the employee is able to perform the job and is negligent of performing their duties. In discharges due to misconduct be prepared to provide the final incident which led to the discharge. Lack of work claims provide benefits to individuals who are separated from work due to no fault of their own and are the reason unemployment insurance was created. A claimant must be able to work, available for work and actively seeking work.

 

7. Be prepared for hearings

 

Hearings require first-hand testimony as to the facts and events under consideration. Hearsay evidence is generally not persuasive and may not be considered at all. Depending on your contracted services, provide all information to your TALX hearing representative when they contact the individuals at your organization to prepare for a hearing. Have all documents readily available during the hearing.

 

8. Appeal when warranted

 

An appeal is your request to the state to assign a hearing officer to review the facts of a particular case because you believe the eligibility rules have not been properly applied. Appeal if you disagree with a decision allowing the claimant benefits. You must be prepared to present facts and evidence.

 

9. Weigh the consequences of partial employment, layoffs and independent contractors

 

Know when employees are eligible for partial weeks of unemployment. Your CRM can provide you with a listing of state-specific guidance. In the case of layoffs, helping severed employees find jobs benefits the employer and employee. Independent contractors may file for unemployment and the employer needs to be able to prove he or she is not an employee of your company.

 

10. Consider reemployment strategies

 

Helping transitioning employees find another job rapidly after a staff reduction, position elimination, or other involuntary, non-misconduct separation can help control the duration of non-protestable claims – the claims that normally result in the longest duration and highest total benefit payout. TALX Reemployment Services can help by providing faster reemployment through one-on-one job coaching, e-learning, and other key outplacement elements. Visit http://www.talx.com/Solutions/Compliance/UnemploymentTax/  for more information.

 

Tammy Mullin 

Monday, October 11, 2010 8:40:48 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, October 04, 2010

I spent the better part of last week at the HR Technology conference in Chicago where human resource professionals gathered to discuss the most pressing problems in the world of HR today and the latest technologies launched to solve those problems. 

I found it interesting and disturbing that with all the unemployment we have these days that a big topic of conversation is how to attract more job seekers.  You would think that this wouldn’t be a problem, but it’s not about accumulating a stack of resumes to choose from, it’s about getting the right resumes representing candidates with the right skills. 

As a matter of fact, the flood of resumes only exacerbates the problem since weeding through all those resumes to find the right candidate can be overwhelming for HR recruiters that are themselves being asked to do more with less. 

It seems that an alarming number of HR professionals are faced with a lack of qualified candidates.  In previous posts I’ve talked about the importance of helping exiting employees enhance their skill sets to get them better positioned for available jobs, but I walked away from this conference thinking about how we as a nation desperately need to look for ways to enhance the education and skills of today’s workforce as well as take a keener interest in how our children are being prepared for the future.

On the heels of the announcement earlier last week of plans by the co-founder of Facebook to donate $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey Public School System it made me wonder how many more companies would need to get involved and invest in the qualifications of the workforce of tomorrow.

I didn’t have long to wait for the next in line because reading up this morning I saw that late last week it was also announced that Microsoft teamed up with Washington State Employment Security Department to deliver free computer eLearning courses to Washington residents.  More than 1,000 different courses are available along 6 different learning paths and participants are offered an opportunity to obtain certifications free of charge.   What an incredible benefit being provided to Washington’s unemployed!!

I can’t wait to see who steps up next.

Tammy Mullin 

Monday, October 04, 2010 10:26:14 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The following information is being distributed to TALX clients in CA.

Situation

Starting with the first quarter of 2011, employers will be required to begin filing a new Quarterly Contribution Return and Report of Wages (DE 9) and Quarterly Contribution Return and Report of Wages (Continuation) (DE 9C).

What Employers Need to Know

Employers will report their Unemployment Insurance, Employment Training Tax, and State Disability Insurance contributions, along with Personal Income Tax withholdings, quarterly on the DE 9 instead of annually on the Annual Reconciliation Statement (DE 7). Detailed wage items for each worker will be reported on the DE 9C instead of the Quarterly Wage and Withholding Report (DE 6). The DE 6 and DE 7 should still be used for years prior to 2011.

The Employment Development Department (EDD) expects this change to quarterly reporting to allow them to identify overpayments more quickly, which will result in faster refunds. In addition, EDD will be able to promptly notify employers of any amounts due.

What You Can Expect

Registered employers will receive the new forms by mail starting in 2011. The new forms will also be available online and at local EDD offices in December 2010.

Employers should continue to make deposits using the Payroll Tax Deposit (DE 88) form. The quarterly reporting change will not affect deposit and return due dates.

If you have questions, please contact the EDD Taxpayer Assistance Center at 888-745-3886.

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 6:36:51 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, September 27, 2010

With a new school year just beginning, this is a good time to review the guidelines relating to reasonable assurance for educational institutions. Each state may use slightly different verbiage, but in general, the guidelines are similar to the following:

 

Benefits based on service in an educational institution are not payable to an individual in any week of unemployment which begins during the period between two successive academic years or terms and there is a reasonable assurance that he will perform services in the same or a similar capacity in the second year or term.

 

Reasonable Assurance applies not only to individuals employed in instructional and administrative capacities, but also to those individuals employed as bus drivers, food service staff, building maintenance employees and other capacities within your organization.

 

The concept of Reasonable Assurance applicable to school employees also applies to individuals performing services in an educational institution while in the employ of an educational service agency.

 

 “Reasonable Assurance” also applies to vacation and holiday periods scheduled within the school year

 

Usually, everyone thinks of Reasonable Assurance as an issue to be addressed at the close of the school year and relates to giving individual’s “reasonable assurance” of returning to work the following school year. However, Reasonable Assurance also applies to periods between individual terms, as well as customarily scheduled vacation and holiday periods. The verbiage found in most state laws is similar to the following:

 

Benefits may not be paid to an individual for a week that begins during an established and customary vacation period or holiday recess, if the individual performs the services in the period immediately before the vacation or holiday and there is a reasonable assurance that he will again perform such services after the vacation or holiday.

 

Something you will need to remember, if an individual is denied benefits under this provision and is not given an opportunity to work in the second year or term, or upon returning from a vacation or holiday period, they may claim retroactive payment of benefits.

 

How Do I Notify Individuals Regarding “Reasonable Assurance”?

 

Although not required, it is recommended that Reasonable Assurance be given in written form, as written notification would enable you to provide indisputable documentation, should it be needed, to defend yourself against inappropriate claims for unemployment benefits. Any letter or form provided should include the following elements:

 

  • Date
  • Employee’s Name
  • Verbiage clearly stating the individual is being given reasonable assurance of  returning to work for the specifc school year involved, as well as any scheduled vacation or holiday periods contained within
  • Be sure to include the employer’s name
  • Include both the starting and ending dates for the school year
  • Include the dates for any vacation or holiday periods scheduled within the school year
  • Include the issuers name and position; the letter or form should be from an individual with the authority to issue reasonable assurance, but not having the authority to enter into a contract
  • Any letter or form you utilize should conspicuously state the following: “This notification is not intended to create a contract of employment or to alter an existing contract of employment, if any.”

 

Please be sure to save a copy of all reasonable assurance forms or letters provided to your employees. In addition, you should request they provide you with a signed copy or you should retain a signed verification of receipt. 

 

Every state has minor differences in the way laws regarding Reasonable Assurance are interpreted. Questions concerning the legal implications of your written notice should be directed to your legal counsel, prior to delivery to your employees.

 

Dan Russo

Product Manager, Unemployment Cost Management

Monday, September 27, 2010 7:26:54 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, September 24, 2010

Costs relating to unemployment compensation continue to rise and employers are constantly trying to determine if they have done everything they can to keep these costs to an absolute minimum.

 

We all know there are many unemployment claims beyond our control, involving such issues as “lack of work” and “inability to perform the job”. As the economy continues to struggle, no one has any interest in denying benefits to individuals who become unemployed through no fault of their own.  

 

When gauging the success of the claims management aspect of your unemployment cost control efforts, you should be asking yourself two questions:

 

Question #1 - Are you pursuing as many contestable issues as you possibly can? Contestable issues would include employee separations relating to voluntary resignations or discharges for cause involving willful misconduct.

 

If a significant number of contestable issues are not being pursued or the percentage has dropped in the most recent month, quarter or year, it is important to determine why. Is it because claim forms are sitting somewhere until it is too late to respond to the state?  Is your Human Resources department not being provided with enough specific separation details to be able to prove deliberate misconduct was involved? Are claims being managed in a consistent manner throughout your organization? Do you have a single location or department manager that has simply elected not to pursue contestable claims?

 

Missed opportunities relating to any one of the issues mentioned above could impact your unemployment costs in a negative manner. A single department or location not in sync with the rest of your organization has the potential to cause an increase in a future state tax rate assignment (for merit rated employers) or result in an immediate increase in the level of reimbursement made to the state (for reimbursing employers).

 

Question #2 – Are you winning a high percentage of the claims you are contesting?

 

If the answer is no or if your percentage of wins has slipped when making periodic comparisons, it is critical that you uncover the reason(s) why this is happening.

 

Are there certain issues that you are having difficulty in defending? Rather than simply looking at a combined win percentage on all contested claims, it is important to be able to break things down and focus on specific issues. You may be winning a very high percentage of contested claims in relation to voluntary resignations, but are not faring quite so well when pursuing claims relating to discharges for cause. Maybe you are only having trouble winning protests made on a specific type of discharge separation. Your claim activity needs to be reviewed in this kind of detail.

 

It’s possible you are doing an excellent job of documenting your employee separations and have all of the information needed to gain disqualifications. However, you are just not providing it all when responding to the state. Again, this is information you need to know.

 

Once you’ve been able to identify a potential problem area, you can then take steps to improve your results.

 

It‘s also important to compare results between locations and departments. You may find that the majority of your managers and supervisors are doing a great job of winning contestable claims and only one or two exceptions are skewing the results of your cost control efforts.

 

Identifying individuals that need additional training provides you with an opportunity to increase the level of consistency in your process and further reduce your costs. Identifying managers experiencing exceptional results is just as important, as they may help you discover “best practices” that can be implemented throughout your organization.

 

Pursuing and winning as many contestable issues as possible are the key ingredients for keeping your unemployment costs to the absolute minimum possible. Establishing consistency in procedures and processes, combined with having a thorough understanding of the activities that take place within your organization, will ensure that no opportunities to do this are missed.

 

Dan Russo

Product Manager - Unemployment Cost Management

 

Friday, September 24, 2010 11:32:33 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, September 16, 2010

By:     Katie Tate

          Manager, Client Services Training                     

 

Tammy Mullin’s blog posting from 8/5/10 is one of many stories demonstrating that unemployment fraud is increasing across the country.  The Department of Labor estimates that $1.57 billion in benefit payments were claimed fraudulently in 2009. (1) 

 

There are many definitions of unemployment fraud, but Florida’s is pretty comprehensive.  The Florida Agency for Workforce Development defines Unemployment Compensation Fraud as any false statement or failure to disclose a material fact, knowingly made for the purpose of obtaining or preventing payment of benefits contrary to the provisions of the Unemployment Compensation Law. (2) The most common types of fraud seen around the country are misinformation on claim forms, continuing to draw benefits after returning to employment, and failing to look for work while receiving benefits. 

 

Unemployment fraud can also be more complex.  An example of this is a story from the Texas Workforce Commission where a group of 12 committed identity theft and used the stolen identities to submit claims for over $80,000.(3)  This is similar to the story Tammy Mullin posted out of New York involving four men who used stolen identities to steal over $95,000.

 

Many states have responded to the rise in fraud by increasing the severity of punishment for offenders.  All states require benefit overpayments to be repaid, but they can also assess penalties of up to 100% of the value of the claim plus interest for repeat offenders (like in Idaho).(4)  Beyond penalties and repayment, States can also bar anyone who has committed unemployment fraud from receiving future unemployment from one year to as long as six years (like in Wisconsin).(5)  Since most of the individuals committing fraud are unemployed, monetary penalties and the denial of future benefits can be extremely damaging.

 

Any attempt to mislead the state or provide false information on a claim can lead to criminal charges.  Unemployment Fraud is often considered a misdemeanor with a sentence of probation.  Depending on the frequency and severity of the theft, it can also be considered a felony with several years of jail time.  Many employers these days run background checks and will not hire employees with fraud charges of any kind.  That misdemeanor can cause the loss of a great deal of future income once it becomes public record.

 

States have also taken measures to increase their ability to detect fraud.  Every state’s unemployment program has teams devoted to discovering and investigating fraudulent claims.  The states have a variety of different ways to uncover unemployment fraud.  The most common method is to audit payroll and benefit claim information submitted from all state employers to determine if claimants are receiving wages from other sources that were not reported.  States also examine the claims made to look for multiple claims filed from the same location or with the same contact information.  Every state also receives tips from the public that can lead to investigation and prosecution.

 

Many fraud discoveries occur through the unemployment process itself. TALX helps our clients and the states avoid unemployment fraud every day by informing the state if someone is not qualified to receive benefits according to that state’s laws.  Unemployment fraud is a serious problem that costs literally BILLIONS of dollars each year across the United States.  In these tough economic times, TALX is helping to reduce that number daily. 

 

 

REFERENCES:

(1) United States Department of Labor 2009 Benefit Accuracy Measurement Data Summary

http://www.oui.doleta.gov/unemploy/bam/2009/bam-cy2009.pdf

 

(2) Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation; http://floridajobs.org/unemployment/uc_bpc_info.html

 

(3) Texas Workforce Press Release dated 3/15/10 http://www.texasworkforce.org/news/press/2010/031510press.pdf

 

(4) Idaho Department of Labor http://labor.idaho.gov/dnn/Default.aspx?tabid=704#Fraud4

 

(5) Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/uiben/f-faq.htm

Thursday, September 16, 2010 12:07:44 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, September 14, 2010

See attached for some recent law changes for Minnesota employers.

MN Mailer 9-1-10.pdf (52.28 KB)

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 7:46:42 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Many employers continue to ask questions regarding the current duration of extended unemployment benefits and are unsure about who is paying for these benefits. The following recaps the types of benefits available to individuals and identifies who is responsible for paying for each type of benefit.

 

Regular State Unemployment Compensation - represents benefits paid to workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Benefits are calculated based on previous earnings and the number of weeks an individual has been active in the workforce. These benefits are available to individuals for up to a maximum of 26 weeks.

 

Regular state unemployment compensation benefits are funded almost totally by employers. This is accomplished through either a merit rated tax paid to the states or through direct reimbursement to the states for any benefits paid to former employees (an option available to some non-profit employers and government agencies).

 

Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Extended Benefits – Originally legislated in 2008, these benefits were extended in February of 2009 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. They were recently extended once again by President Obama through legislation signed on July 22, 2010.

 

Based on several factors, individuals may receive up to an additional 53 weeks of unemployment benefits, once they have exhausted the 26 weeks of benefits available to them through the regular state unemployment insurance program.

 

The good news for employers is these benefits are 100% funded by the federal government. No employers are being asked to pick up any portion of the cost related to these benefits.

 

Under the most recent legislated provisions, the deadline for individuals to apply for EUC benefits is November 30, 2010 and no EUC payments will be made after April 30, 2011 without another extension.

 

State Extended Benefits – Based on varying state economic factors, individuals who exhaust both their regular state benefits and their federally funded EUC benefits may be eligible for up to 20 weeks of state extended benefits.

 

The legislation signed by President Obama in July also extended the federal funding of these state extended benefits to December 1, 2010. This applies to both taxpaying and reimbursing employers, with the exception of government entities and Indian tribes.

 

Summary – Individuals may currently be eligible to receive up to a maximum of 99 weeks of unemployment compensation benefits.

 

For those who have exhausted all potential 99 weeks of benefits, there are no additional benefits available to them. As the number of individuals falling into this category continues to grow, there may be pressure to enact additional legislation either increasing the number of weeks of EUC benefits and/or extending the time frame for receiving these benefits.

 

Dan Russo 

 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010 9:01:22 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A friend of mine who owns a small business recently informed me that things were picking back up and he was in the process of calling back some of the employees he unfortunately had to let go due to downsizing his staff.  He said he could not necessarily put employees back in the same job they had before, but he did have positions available and felt he should offer these positions to his former employees first.  He mentioned that he was somewhat concerned and somewhat frustrated in some cases because some of the former employees were refusing his job offers. 

He asked me how the state unemployment agencies would view someone currently receiving unemployment benefits and declining offers of work.  Would they still be eligible to receive benefits under state law?  I advised my friend that state laws really vary regarding what offers are considered suitable work and what would be considered good cause for refusing them.  Under Federal Law, a state agency cannot deny an employee benefits based on refusal of work if: (A) the position offered is vacant due directly to a strike, lockout, or other labor dispute; (B) if the wages, hours, or other work conditions offered are substantially less favorable to the individual than those prevailing for similar work in the local area; (C) if, as a condition of being employed the individual would be required to join a company union, or resign or refrain from joining a bona fide labor organization.

Some state laws require agencies to consider other criteria including: the claimant’s prior training, experience and earnings; the degree of risk to their health, safety, and morals; the distance of the job from their residence; and even their length of unemployment. 

I suggested to my friend that his obligation as the employer would be to provide the local unemployment office with any information regarding the offered work such as return to work date, job title, job duties, the hours of work, wages, location, and any detailed explanation given to him as a reason for refusal.   In doing so, the state agency would have sufficient information to make a determination regarding whether or not the employee’s refusal was for good cause in accordance with state law, and its impact on their eligibility.

Dave Meinert

Director, Product Management, UC Services

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 9:36:33 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, August 30, 2010

Ran across this article this morning that employers in Boston should be aware of; “Law mandates employee notification”.  The law requires employers to make employees aware of every negative comment in their personnel file.  While it isn’t yet clear how negative comment is to be interpreted, employers should be aware that the law exists and pay attention to any new information that comes out about it.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, August 30, 2010 3:01:40 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, August 27, 2010

Employee Engagement is all the buzz these days.  We see numerous articles written about it and many companies touting how to improve it.  As this press release from the Association of Psychological Science (APS) “Happy Employees May Be the Key to Success…for Organizations” points out there is definitely a proven connection between employee engagement, employee retention and organizational success. 

So what does that have to do with your unemployment costs?  Well, as we pointed out in our blog “The Hidden Costs of Employee Turnover: Increased Unemployment Taxes”, employee retention can impact merit-rated employers in two ways.  First, lower retention rates can lead to more separations and more claims filed.  Second, low retention leads to higher taxes paid in the year on payroll dollars since unemployment taxes are calculated on a base wage per employee.  When you have to replace a position, that wage base starts over and you could end up paying double taxes for the same job if it turns over.

So how do you improve employee engagement?  What I really liked about this press release from APS is the connection made on the importance in making employees feel connected.  It suggests to “clarify expectations for employees by helping employees see the ultimate outcomes the organization is working to achieve and how they play a role in achieving those outcomes.”   That’s a simple but powerful message and the best part is, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

So, what are you going to do today to help your employees feel more connected?

Tammy Mullin

Friday, August 27, 2010 8:26:00 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Recently, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) released “A National View of UI IT Systems” which talks about all the problems associated with the age of a state’s Unemployment Insurance system.   

One of the benefits cited for updating old UI systems was that states with new systems “generally report faster and more accurate benefit payments.”  Intuitively you might think that states with older unemployment insurance benefit systems would have more trouble with maintaining control over their benefit integrity and have higher overpayment rates.  However, as this chart shows, that isn’t necessarily the case. 

The chart below compares the age of state UI Benefits Systems as reported in the NASWA Report to 2008 benefit overpayments as reporting in the Department of Labor Benefit Accuracy Measurement report for 2008 (2009 report has not yet been released). 

Surprisingly, there doesn’t appear to be any strong correlation between the age of the system and the benefit overpayment rate.  I do think there are many other reasons why it makes sense to invest in modernization of state systems as outlined in the NASWA Report, unfortunately we wouldn’t expect to see any major reductions in benefit overpayments as a result.

Tammy Mullin

 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010 12:50:59 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, August 20, 2010

Unemployment taxes can be a major expense for the staffing industry, not only because of the various challenges such as branch turnover or a dispersed population but also because unemployment rates are based on the collective experience of all branches within a state.  As a result, one ineffective branch can negatively impact all branches in that state. But within any organization, costs related to unemployment can still be controlled.

 

In 2009, TALX conducted a comprehensive survey seeking feedback from our client partners within the staffing industry.  Highlighted below are 5 best practices used in the staffing industry that can help you manage costs associated with unemployment compensation.    

 

Best Practice #1: Choosing the right candidate- Onboarding

Effective onboarding adds qualified applicants to your candidate pool to be placed with clients. In this stage it’s important to conduct and use tools such as formal assessments, job interviews, background checks, and also implement procedures to review your organization’s policies.  As it relates to controlling unemployment taxes, the onboarding stage should serve several purposes:

ü  To get qualified job candidates

ü  Explain policies and procedures to obtain signatures of acknowledgement from the candidate

ü  Verify the candidate’s job requirements and help set reasonable requirements for pay, hours, etc.

 

Best Practice #2: Management and Practices of Policy/Procedures

Your employee handbook should provide essential information regarding workplace rules and operations. Below are important policies and procedures that all employees should receive and acknowledge with a signature.  Acknowledgements should be retained as documentation of their acceptance and understanding.

ü  Call-in Policy: Identifies the appropriate channels for reporting absence or being tardy.

ü  Contact Policy: Your company’s procedures to line up new work when an assignment is coming to a close or after it has ended.

ü  Voluntary Quit Procedures: Company expectations regarding notification of a voluntary resignation.

 

Best Practice #3: Job Requirements and Candidate Placement

Placing candidates with client job assignments that are a good “fit” are important because when the client’s and candidate’s expectations and requirements are met, you have offered a valid job. You should always:

ü  Explain relevant job requirements and help the candidate to have realistic expectations (hours, pay, work conditions, etc.)

ü  Have the candidate sign off on the agreed upon job requirements

 

The validity of an assignment is pivotal in a state agency’s decision to award or deny unemployment benefits after a candidate’s refusal of a suitable job offer.

 

Best Practice #4: Assignment Management & Monitoring

Whether it is software driven or a manual process, it is beneficial to have a system to select and place qualified candidates, track when an assignment is ending for future and continuing placement, and to monitor the workplace relationship between the temporary employee and the client.

 

In addition, it is also helpful to prioritize the assignment of candidates first to their qualifications, then to whether they are collecting unemployment benefits, and finally go to those candidates whose earnings meet or exceed the taxable wage base in your state.

 

Best Practice #5: Documenting for Separations, Job Refusals and Availability Issues

In order to provide the best response to a claim received from the state, you must have effective documentation. If you fail to provide the details and documents (signed acknowledgement of policies, written warnings, etc.), you are not effectively providing the state with proper information to make an informed decision.  It is also important to provide the state with specific documentation related to refusals of suitable work offers and restrictions on a person’s availability for work.

 

The survey results are clear.  High performing staffing organizations use effective candidate and employee management programs, as well as implement key processes and procedures from the hiring phase to the separation phase.

 

Aimee Cernik

Friday, August 20, 2010 9:30:41 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, August 16, 2010

Lori Roberts, Senior Manager of the TALX Government Relations group explains the “fix” in HR 4213 related to part-time or temporary work.

 

The federal UI extension legislation signed by President Obama on July 22, 2010 (HR 4213), contains a provision to "fix" an unintended consequence regarding regular UI benefits and federal EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) in instances where claimants had part-time or temporary employment.  Under the newly enacted legislation, states have four options to continue payment of EUC instead of regular UI in certain instances.  Please note, the state agency chooses the option; claimants do not choose the option.

 

The unintended consequence can occur when an EUC claimant can establish a second benefit year and is eligible for regular UI due to part-time or temporary work.  Under the second benefit year claim, many claimants were qualifying for a lower weekly unemployment benefit amount than they received for EUC or their original regular UI claim, because the part-time/temporary earnings were lower than their earnings used to establish the original claim.

 

In order to "fix" this unintended consequence, Section 502 of HR 4213 provides for the following options for continued payment of EUC instead of regular UI

 

If—

‘‘(A) an individual has been determined to be entitled to emergency unemployment compensation with respect to a benefit year,‘‘(B) that benefit year has expired,‘‘(C) that individual has remaining entitlement to emergency unemployment compensation with respect to that benefit year, and‘‘(D) that individual would qualify for a new benefit year in which the weekly benefit amount of regular compensation is at least either $100 or 25 percent less than the individual’s weekly benefit amount in the benefit year referred to in subparagraph (A), then the State shall determine eligibility for compensation as provided in paragraph (2).

 

“(A)The State shall, if permitted by State law, establish a new benefit year, but defer the payment of regular compensation with respect to that new benefit year until exhaustion of all emergency unemployment compensation payable with respect to the benefit year referred to in paragraph (1)(A); ‘‘(B) The State shall, if permitted by State law, defer the establishment of a new benefit year (which uses all the wages and employment which would have been used to establish a benefit year but for the application of this paragraph), until exhaustion of all emergency unemployment compensation payable with respect to the benefit year referred to in paragraph(1)(A); ‘‘(C) The State shall pay, if permitted by State law— ‘‘(i) regular compensation equal to the weekly benefit amount established under the new benefit year, and‘‘(ii) emergency unemployment compensation equal to the difference between that weekly benefit amount and the weekly benefit amount for the expired benefit year; or ‘‘(D) The State shall determine rights to emergency unemployment compensation without regard to any rights to regular compensation if the individual elects to not file a claim for regular compensation under the new benefit year.’’.

 

 

Three key points to keep in mind about the "fix" and the options: 1) A "fix" is only applicable to claimants whose regular weekly UI benefit amount in the new benefit year would be at least either $100 or 25% less than their original weekly UI amount; 2) the legislative provisions are not retroactive and only apply to claimants whose benefit years expire after the date the legislation was enacted (July 22, 2010); and 3) only state UI agencies may choose one of the four available options, not claimants; a state must only choose one option and apply it to all applicable claimants.

Monday, August 16, 2010 8:41:27 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In case you missed it, here is some information on Unemployment Insurance Benefit Integrity that you should be aware of.

Tammy Mullin

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 8:15:20 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, August 09, 2010

The following information was released to TALX clients in South Dakota last week.

Situation

The state of South Dakota’s trust fund is no longer insolvent. Their $24 million Title XII Federal loan has been repaid. In addition, the balance in the trust fund as of June 30, 2010 was $15.9 million triggering a reduction in the surcharge that has been in place since the fourth quarter, 2009. The surcharge is decreased from 1.0% to 0.1% effective with the third quarter, 2010.

The trust fund has been increasing as a result of the passage of SB186 and HB1018 during the 2010 legislative session. SB186 reduced the surcharge amount for 2010 and 2011, increased the taxable wage base and created a new tax rate table with higher rates for employers with negative account balances. HB1018 brought $11.7 million in federal funds to the trust fund while expanding benefits for workers in state-approved training for high-demand occupations.

What Employers Need to Know

This increase in the trust fund balance means employers’ tax rates for the third quarter, 2010 are decreased by 0.9%. The balance in the trust fund is projected to increase above $16.5 million as of September 30, 2010 eliminating the surcharge all together and reducing employers’ tax rates another 0.1% for the fourth quarter, 2010. This fourth quarter change will not be official until sometime in early October. Another notification will be issued at that time.

The lower surcharge rate will appear on your paper quarterly unemployment report or when you file on the internet.

Tammy Mullin

 

Monday, August 09, 2010 8:32:36 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, August 05, 2010

Identity theft is a major problem in the U.S., worldwide actually.  Who hasn’t received one of those emails saying “I’ve decided to leave my fortune to you”?  I get at least a couple a day.  It’s a shame that there are people out there who prey on the unsuspecting that way.  Recently, we have been seeing more of a new twist on identity theft, stealing a person’s identity to collect unemployment benefits.  Four people in New York recently stole the identities of more than 100 former workers in order to file for and collect unemployment which resulted in close to $95,000 in false payments. 

Scamming the unemployment system isn’t new, but it has become more lucrative.  Since most states have triggered extended benefits and with the federal unemployment extensions, someone making a fraudulent claims could theoretically collect as much as $30,000 per identity stolen which seems to make it more worth the risk to some.  We are definitely seeing and hearing more about identity theft issues these days.

This rise in identity theft fraud is putting further strain on an unemployment system where more than half of the state funds today are insolvent.  They are borrowing from the federal government in order to pay out benefits which come at a high cost to employers who start to lose FUTA credits if loans aren’t paid back in time and also could see interest costs start to accrue.  All of this ends up coming out of the employer’s pockets and frankly out of the claimant’s pockets as well.  Given the poor state of unemployment trust fund affairs these days, legislators are forced to not only increase employer taxes to bring in new revenue, but start to decrease benefits by reducing payments or making them harder to qualify for.

What can employers do to help?  Fraud is hard to catch, particularly when 2 or more individuals are colluding, but employers can very carefully check their charge statements and if anything does look out of the ordinary, contact their state’s unemployment office to report it.  It won’t stop identity theft fraud in the unemployment system, but in these tough times, every little bit helps, right?!!

Tammy Mullin

 

Thursday, August 05, 2010 3:19:23 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Find out how in this article from the Journal of State Taxation.  While this is a tax publication, many of the recommendations are relevant for reimbursing employers and is definitely worth a read.

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, August 03, 2010 2:33:49 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Reemployment | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, August 02, 2010

The following information was released to TALX clients this past week -

Situation

On July 22, 2010, President Obama signed legislation to extend Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) for an additional 6-month period. This extension is retroactive to the beginning of June, when the program last expired.

What Employers Need to Know

The bill does not add any new weeks of benefits; it simply extends the time period in which claims for EUC may be established. The deadline to apply for EUC benefits is now November 30, 2010, with no EUC payments after April 30, 2011. The program continues to provide up to 53 weeks of 100% federally funded (meaning no employer bears the cost of these payments) benefits through four separate EUC tiers.

A review of the EUC tiers is as follows:

EUC Program

Available Weeks

Trigger

Tier I

Up to 20 weeks

All States

Tier II

Up to 14 weeks

All States

Tier III

Up to 13 weeks

*States with TUR > 6% or IUR > 4%

Tier IV

Up to 6 weeks

*States with TUR >8.5% or IUR > 6%

*TUR = Total Unemployment Rate; IUR = Insured Unemployment Rate

Persons must exhaust 26 weeks of regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in order to be eligible for any EUC payments.

The recently signed legislation also extends the 100% federal funding of state extended benefits (EB) to December 1, 2010. Most employers (excluding government entities and Indian tribes) will not be liable for any EB paid, because of this federal funding. Individuals who exhaust regular UI and EUC may be eligible for up to 20 weeks of state EB.

The additional $25 currently being added to claimants’ weekly benefits – known as Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) - was not included in the extension legislation, so it will end December 7, 2010.

What You Can Expect

State UI agencies will continue to notify claimants of any EUC or EB eligibility. They are working diligently to process EUC payments as quickly as possible. However, certain factors, such as the extension being nearly two months retroactive, add new administrative challenges, so the agencies appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding.

Updated information regarding the impact of the new extension legislation is being posted to state UI websites. To link to any state’s UI site, input the following address into your Web browser and select a state: http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp

Keep in mind that many individuals have exhausted all available UI, EUC and EB benefits. More will continue to exhaust in the coming weeks and months. Sometimes referred to as the “unemployment 99ers,” there are currently no new or additional benefits available to these exhaustees.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, August 02, 2010 8:18:35 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, July 22, 2010

Be sure to check out “Reimbursing vs. Taxpaying?  Financing your Unemployment Benefit Costs” to learn more about unemployment benefit payment options available for non-profit organizations.

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, July 22, 2010 8:46:16 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another great tip from the TALX Client Service Team.

 

Quantifying Employee Turnover

 

There are many widely published studies available that attempt to quantify the costs to employers of turnover. Most use the formula turnover costs = costs of hiring new employees + cost of training new employees. What is commonly missed in the equation is that higher turnover means higher unemployment taxes. It is the “hidden” cost of employee turnover.

 

How Unemployment Taxes are Calculated

 

When the unemployment compensation laws were originally enacted in the 1930s, the intent was to provide a supplement to individuals who were unemployed through no fault of their own. Individual states have been free to enact and administer their own unemployment compensation regulations, provided they comply with established federal rules and guidelines.

 

Employers bear the cost of unemployment compensation through a payroll tax paid to the states in which they pay wages. The taxes go into a state fund specifically earmarked for the payment of unemployment benefits. Like other business taxes, unemployment compensation taxes are additional overhead to the employer. However, there is a major difference between unemployment and other business taxes. Most business tax rates are fixed by law. Unemployment tax rates fluctuate based on the employer’s payroll and the amount of unemployment benefits charged against its account.

 

An employer’s unemployment tax rate determines how much UI taxes are paid per employee. Contrary to what many believe, unemployment taxes are paid on EVERY employee, not only the ones who file for benefits. An employer’s state unemployment tax rate is determined by a combination of state factors (health of the state trust fund balance) and individual employer factors (payroll and benefit charges attributed to the employer). An employer’s assigned tax rate is applied to each employee’s earnings until the state taxable “wage base” (amount subject to the tax) is reached. State unemployment tax rates range from 0% to 12.27%. State taxable “wage bases” range from $7,000 to $36,800. For example, an employer’s assigned unemployment tax rate is 2.10% and the state wage base is $12,000. The employer’s annual unemployment tax cost for employees earning $12,000 and above is $252 per employee.

 

How Does Turnover Increase Taxes?

 

Turnover impacts unemployment taxes in two ways. First, the separations may result in claim filings that can result in an increase in benefit charges which in turn impacts experience rating. Second, the taxable wage is “re-started” so that the employer does not realize the benefit of the cap on employee earnings for the collection of unemployment taxes.

 

Turnover’s Impact on Unemployment Taxes: Re-Starting the Wage Base

 

Employer A and Employer B hire a customer service representative January 1, 2010, to begin work in their Los Angeles, California, offices. California’s taxable wage base is $7,000. Both employers have a 2010 tax rate of 2.30%. Employer A uses hiring and retention best practices and retains the new hire the entire year. Employer A’s annual unemployment costs (taxes) for this position are $161. Employer B has a high rate of turnover and has to re-hire for the same position three times during 2010. Each employee earned over $7,000 prior to leaving the business. Employer B’s annual unemployment costs (taxes) for the customer service position are $483. The cost of the turnover to Employer B is $322 for just the one position.

 

Conclusion

 

Unemployment taxes are one of the few taxes employers can directly control. One way employers can effectively minimize unemployment costs is to utilize best practices in hiring and retention.

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, July 15, 2010 8:42:28 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I don’t think anyone can help feeling disheartened by the tragic stories that are constantly circulating about how current economic conditions and unemployment have impacted families throughout the US.  Stories ranging from families not being able to keep their homes, or pay their rent, or feed their children foster a general sense of hopelessness by the media and population at large.  The Unemployment Insurance Systems help those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, but even with benefits, families struggle.

Recently though I’ve seen an increasing number of stories about how individuals are turning adversity around and striking out on their own to try to capture a part of that increasingly elusive American dream. 

New business growth in Long Island, NY is up 25% over last year and a man who was laid off after 15 years turns an idea into a lucrative new business for himself and his family in Springfield, OH.  Other stories include:

·         A mom of 5 who uses her kid’s antics to author a children’s book,

·         A man in Danville, VA who says that losing his job helped him realize his dream,

·         A blogger in New York City who insists the while he and some of his friends aren’t working at actual jobs, they are not unemployed, they are entrepreneurs, and

·         A former reporter in Portland, OR who took out a $9,000 loan to buy factory-second mattress and after selling out he rented space and opened up The Mattress Lot, which turned a profit after only 6 months.  (By the way, they deliver by bicycle – check it out!!)

Stories like these make me think we just might get through this mess yet!!

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 11:27:59 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, July 12, 2010

The experienced and expert team from TALX speaks out to help employers manage their unemployment costs.  Here's what Roberta Wright, one of our dedicated Unemployment Insurance Consultants has to say:

One of the things we see every day in the unemployment world is:  Discharged for violation of company policy.  Along with this we receive some warnings/write ups and maybe the pages of the policy.   I have noticed that employers have a lot of detail in the final written warning, but very little detail regarding the incident that caused termination.  The final incident is not fully documented.   A termination form is filled out with violation of company policy and maybe a couple of sentences, but that is about all.   The incident/situation that caused termination is the information that the state considers when making their decision to allow or deny benefits.   

So, if I could recommend one thing to help you be more successful in providing an adequate response for your unemployment claims, that would be to write up an incident report on the reason for discharge.   On this report you will want to include the date you terminated the employee .   Provide the date the incident occurred.   If an investigation was done, the start and end date of the investigation.  Then write up exactly what happened, be very detailed in what the claimant's actions were, what you believe were the causing factors for his/her actions and document the names of the possible witnesses for an unemployment hearing.  Who discovered the situation?  Who witnessed the actions?  Who did the investigation?   Who actually advised the claimant of the discharge? 

Writing this document at the time of the discharge gives any HR/Manager the details that will be needed if that former employee files for unemployment benefits.   This is especially important in the retail world where your HR/management staff experiences more turn over.   There can be a large gap in time between the discharge and an unemployment hearing.   If you have a document with the names of the potential witnesses, the specific details of what happened, the new manager can gather the necessary individuals, if they are still with the company, faster and the document with the details will refresh the memory of the witnesses.  I cannot stress strongly enough how important writing this out when it happens is so you can provide an adequate response to the state.  This will help the state by giving them all the information they need to decide the case.

Roberta Wright

 

Monday, July 12, 2010 8:51:26 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, July 08, 2010

The experienced and expert team from TALX speaks out to help employers manage their unemployment costs.  Here's what Jonathan Beretta, one of our fantastic Appellate Managers has to say:

Reasonable Assurance always seems to have a stigma of being obfuscated and difficult to understand.  First of all, reasonable assurance only applies to School Districts which are classified as reimbursement Employers with the State.  Reasonable Assurance arises during break periods between academic terms.  Reasonable assurance occurs when the Employer and the Employee agree that following the academic break the Employer will re-hire the Employee.  Where Employers run into trouble is in determining when to notify their employees that they do in fact have reasonable assurance to return to work following an academic break.  The exact format and/or venue that the Employer can utilize to accomplish this can differ by state, but the substance of what the Employer needs to tell their employees and the basic mutual understanding of the assurance requirement is the same across the U.S.  The essence of reasonable assurance is that the Employer is educating its staff that following the current academic break, their jobs will be available.  Where the understanding of reasonable assurance gets obfuscated is in the area of what is “reasonable” assurance; and when does the Employer believe that it can provide its employees with reasonable assurance.

There is a famous quote, “whatever is reasonable is true; and whatever is true is reasonable.”  The best way to understand the reasonable aspect is to look at the requirement as two facets: that of the Employer’s responsibilities as the Employer; and that of the Employee’s responsibilities as an employee.  To explain in more detail, I will use the fictional school of TALX Elementary, located within the TALX County School District.  When reasonable assurance is provided, TALX Elementary is indicating that as long as everything remains the same TALX will re-employ its staff at the end of the current school break.  TALX Elementary is indicating in this communication that provided everything stays the same: budgets, funding, state and local laws, student base, accreditation, etc. that TALX Elementary will be able to re-hire the employees following the break.  Many districts get concerned about providing reasonable assurance if they don’t in fact know exactly what will happen in the future with one or several of these categories during the break.  The act of notifying the employees does not indicate that the Employer knows what the outcome of these issues will be, but that they reasonably believe they will remain unchanged to the extent that the employees will be re-hired after the break.  Reasonable assurance is not telling the employee that the Employer knows they will be able to rehire the employee at the beginning of the next academic year, but only that they believe if everything remains the same they will be able to rehire the employee.

The second part of this reasonableness lies squarely at the feet of the employee.  Because employment is a two way street, TALX Elementary School’s staff also has to meet certain requirements.  For example, if the employee is a teacher they are reciprocating the reasonable assurance by assuring to TALX Elementary that they will reasonably continue to maintain their certification as a teacher in good standing.  So if the teacher does not renew their certification (which may be expiring) then the Employer does not have to honor its assurances with the teacher after the academic break has ended.  Thus, if the employee does not keep up their side of the assurances, then TALX Elementary does not have to rehire the employee following the completion of the academic break.  Therefore, the essence of reasonable assurance is a mutual understanding between the Employer and the Employee that if I do what I am supposed to do and you do what you are supposed to do then we can re-engage our employment relationship after the academic break.

Often the question that arises out of an explanation of reasonableness is why is it so important to provide employees with Reasonable Assurance at the beginning of an academic break period.  To understand why reasonable assurance exists, one needs to understand the three fundamental requirements a person must meet to be awarded unemployment benefits.  Those are:

1.    Be unemployed

2.    Be able and available to work while unemployed, and

3.    Have made sufficient wages within the benefit year

In looking at these requirements you may think, well a teacher which is not working during a summer break meets these requirements; and most of the time they meet the first two requirements.  The essence of reasonable assurance is that it creates an exception to the third requirement of sufficient wages.  If an employee is found to have reasonable assurance, then the states find that the educational wages they received from the school district during the last academic year cannot be used in the determination of sufficient wages.  So the state does not use those wages and usually finds that the Claimant then did not make enough to qualify to receive benefits from the school district.  Thus, the claimant is found to have reasonable assurance, and therefore, with no wages the employee is ineligible to receive benefits during the academic break.

The essence of the reasonableness requirement is to remember that you can provide reasonable assurance to the employees as soon as the district reasonably believes that they can rehire the employees following the break. 

Jonathan Beretta

Thursday, July 08, 2010 9:50:04 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The experienced and expert team from TALX speaks out to help employers manage their unemployment costs.  Here's what Steve Solovic, one of our incredible Hearing Representatives has to say:

The evidentiary threshold which must be satisfied at an unemployment hearing is called "preponderance of the evidence" – basically, this means that the evidence shows that one version of events is the most logical, likely version that occurred. The party that must satisfy this threshold is the party that holds the "burden of proof". In a discharge case, the employer has the burden of proof to show that the claimant was discharged for employment misconduct. In a voluntary quit case, the claimant has the burden of proof to show that the quit was for good cause attributable to the employer or that the quit falls within some exception to good cause under the law.

In a discharge case, it is important for the employer to present multiple witnesses if these witnesses have relevant testimony. Claimants may deny receiving warnings that were never signed for, deny certain things that were said during conversations, deny the conversation ever took place at all, and of course deny the conduct that led to the termination. If the employer only provides one witness to the above type of events, and the credibility of both the employer and the claimant is not damaged at the hearing, the administrative law judge may rule that the employer didn’t satisfy its burden of proof because both versions of events are equally plausible. This type of situation is when it is necessary to be able to provide multiple witnesses that were present for the conduct, conversations, and prior disciplinary actions that ultimately led to the discharge. This type of testimony may seem repetitive but corroborating the employer’s version of events with a second witness will give the employer’s case that extra push that is needed to satisfy the evidentiary standard.

Likewise, in a quit case, the employer should present multiple witnesses when available in order to play stronger defense. It’s important, though, not to "pile on". Bringing 4 or 5 witnesses that all will say the same thing will unnecessarily drag out the procedures and quite possibly irritate the judge. Keep testimony truthful, simple, credible, and consistent.

Steve Solovic

Wednesday, July 07, 2010 9:59:45 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, July 06, 2010

On November 20, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13520. The purpose of this order is to reduce improper payments by intensifying efforts to eliminate payment error, waste, fraud, and abuse in the major programs administered by the Federal Government, while continuing to ensure that Federal programs serve and provide access to their intended beneficiaries. The order adopts a comprehensive set of policies, including transparency and public scrutiny of significant payment errors throughout the Federal Government.

States Emphasize Reducing Overpayment and Fraud: The Impact on Employers

All state unemployment agencies require complete details be provided at the initial level of the unemployment claim. States no longer tolerate insufficient details with the initial claim response, in part because of the focus on reducing unemployment overpayments to claimants and fraud. From the State’s perspective, the employer and claimant are the knowledgeable parties and should have the facts at hand; therefore, the state looks to the employer for professional and complete information on a separation. When an employer fails to provide complete supporting separation information the state must rely on the available information provided to them to make a determination of benefits. 

Penalties for Employers Supplying Late or Insufficient Information

Some states are applying monetary penalties and/or penalties that could remove an employer’s rights to pursue the claim further. In addition, some states are penalizing the employer for insufficient or inaccurate responses at the claim level. This climate is ever-changing and due to demands made to increase efficiencies and reduce costs, several states are anticipated to follow suit by the end of the calendar year.

Penalties should not be the only incentive to provide separation information up front. It is good business practice to provide all the separation information, details and documents with the initial claim response for a number of reasons including:

1.   Shortening or mitigating the appeals and hearings process, saving time and money for both the State and the employer.

2.   Building good rapport with the state and being a good steward of best practices. Having proper documentation readily available is good business practice for employers and the documentation may be needed in other areas than unemployment like Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) matters.

States Require Detailed, Accurate Information to Make an Accurate Determination

Many states penalize the employer for insufficient responses. Sufficiency is defined as information that is timely, provides complete details, and includes supporting documentation. States will frequently indicate in their determination that the “protest of the claim was not timely” when they mean “sufficient” information was not received timely.

States will focus on the final incident that initiated the claimant’s separation and they need supporting documentation to understand the complete picture. Employers should supply copies of: written warnings, company policies, resignation letters, admission statements, and any other documents that support the reason for separation and substantiate “the burden of proof.” A reason for separation alone is not sufficient.

Information States Typically Require:

      Dates of employment

      Details and date of the final incident that caused the separation

      Description of the events that led to the final incident

      Documents that show:

§  Claimant knew his job was in jeopardy

§  Claimant received warnings and knew the consequences of further incidents

§  Proof the claimant’s actions were intentional (not beyond his/her control).

§  Resignation letter in the event of a voluntary termination

Three Penalties States Impose:

      Loss of appeal rights

      Loss of non-charge rights: In cases where the claimant is later ruled ineligible to receive unemployment benefits, employers lose their protection and can be charged for that unemployment claim.

      Monetary penalties: This could include charging the employer’s account for overpayments made or assessing a flat monetary amount.

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, July 06, 2010 10:14:19 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, June 25, 2010

Situation

 

The state of Kentucky recently enacted HB5 which among other things changes the computation date for the calculation of unemployment tax rates from September 30th to June 30th.  It also increases the taxable wage base from $8,000 to $9,000 starting in 2012 and will increase $300 every year through 2022.

 

What Employers Need to Know

 

The change in the computation date will allow the agency to issue tax rate notices earlier.  Agency officials have told us they plan to issue the notices in December instead of February or March as in previous years.

 

Tammy Mullin

Friday, June 25, 2010 11:35:49 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Employer Tax Services | Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, June 24, 2010

The experienced and expert team from TALX speaks out to help employers manage their unemployment costs.  Here's what Julie Satory, one of our fantastic Unemployment Insurance Consultants has to say:

 

Temporary agencies can be at a disadvantage in contesting attendance issues because absences may not be reported directly or tracked by the agency.   As a rule with temporary assignments, the employee reports to an offsite location and often only reports their absences to the offsite supervisor. 

 

A little foresight can dramatically increase an agency's odds of winning an attendance protest that comes a few months after termination.  At the time the client offsite reaches out to the agency and requests termination, the agency should obtain as much documented information as possible about the absences and keep the information accessible for when an unemployment claim follows.

 

Whenever a claimant has been terminated for absenteeism, the state does not view it as misconduct unless the employer is able to show that the absences rose to the level of misconduct.  If a claimant has had just a few sporadic occurrences, it’s not likely that the state will disqualify the claimant for misconduct attendance.

 

At the time of termination, the agency should reach out to the client and obtain the following information:

  1. Dates of absences for at least 3-6 months prior to termination.  Please also track the reasons the claimant called out each time and document whether the absences were reported.
  2. Documentation of when the claimant was warned about the attendance.  Take note of verbal warnings and issue written warnings at counseling sessions.
  3. Copy of attendance policy (For point system policies- the state will assess whether the policy was reasonable and that the claimant was made aware of the policy)
  4. Documentation and specifics for the reason for final absence and whether it was reported correctly.

Documentation is crucial in contesting attendance issues.  Simply stating they were ended for absenteeism will not result in disqualification as the burden of proof falls on the employer.  The unfortunate reality of staffing agencies is that client offsite locations at times will not have tracked attendance occurrences.  Try to advise your customers to keep track of the attendance.  Also issue disciplinary warning when your clients advise there are attendance problems.  The states want to see that the claimant was made aware the job was in jeopardy prior to termination.

 

Finally, absences are not considered misconduct if they are considered unpreventable or with good cause (i.e.: court dates, funeral).  As a rule, the states place more importance and weight on the reason for the final absence and whether the claimant had good cause for this absence.

 

Julie Satory

Thursday, June 24, 2010 8:47:43 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Did you know that the timing of a staff reduction has a tremendous impact on the unemployment cost of the reduction.  In some cases, the additional benefits paid in the current year will force a company into the next higher tax bracket which, depending on the state and a company’s current tax rate, could end up costing more than what is being saved in payroll dollars as a result of the actual reduction. 

 

Tax teams and Human Resource departments need to work closely together to determine how decisions made related to a staff reduction will impact unemployment costs.  Tax rate projections should be prepared at each key decision point and with the final plan to show the overall expected impact.  While having to implement a staff reduction is a difficult decision to make, there is much that can be done to minimize the impact to both employer and exiting employee, at least from an unemployment perspective. 

 

Tammy Mullin 

 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 8:25:33 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Establishing a rehire policy and mechanism for determining rehire eligibility can help reduce not only UI benefit charges, but also keep employers from paying additional unemployment taxes on payroll dollars.  If an individual is rehired within the year a new wage base is not established.  Taxes are generally calculated on a state defined dollar amount of wages for the year regardless of whether there is a break in service for that individual.  Rehire programs also reduce other rehire costs such as recruiting and training.

Rehire programs can be extremely beneficial in industries such as retail, where turnover is high and staffing requirements fluctuate dramatically based on consumer demand.

So if you haven't considered your rehire policies as part your your unemployment cost management program, it might be time to start.

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 10:18:14 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, June 21, 2010

Situation

When HB 2676 was enacted earlier this year, it gave employers a 90 day grace period for making their unemployment tax payments without accruing interest for the first, second and third quarters of 2010 and 2011.

What Employers Need to Know

Employers should be cautioned that taking advantage of this grace period for the second quarter of 2010 payment could have a detrimental affect on their 2011 tax rate assignment. Any payments made after July 31, 2010 will NOT be included in the account balance used to calculate the 2011 tax rate. A lower account balance could result in a higher tax rate.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, June 21, 2010 9:43:28 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, June 17, 2010

So what impact does severance have on your unemployment costs as an employer?  Well, state regulation determines whether the type and amount of severance provided will be qualifying or disqualifying when evaluating monetary eligibility for the UI claimant.    But, generally speaking, the amount of severance paid is used to reduce the weekly benefit amount paid through the UI system based on a state defined calculation.  Providing severance benefits could very well reduce overall costs for the employer without negatively impacting the ongoing income in severance and UI benefits a former employee receives to support them through their transition period.

Continuing payments are those that are paid out over a period of time and are thus allocated to specific weeks.  Lump sum payments can also be allocated to certain weeks even though paid all at one time. If the employer makes a lump sum severance payment and does not allocate that severance payment to a specific week or weeks, then the severance payment will reduce the unemployment benefits only in the week in which the lump sum severance payment is made.  

Again, the rules vary by state, so check with your unemployment cost management service or with your state agency for rules where you operate.  Also, payments made along with allocation methods need to be reported to the state agency in order for them to be considered when determining monetary eligibility. 

A good portion of benefit charge errors come from failure to properly allocate severance when determining monetary eligibility so be sure to also check those charge reports to ensure your company has been properly charged by the state agency.

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, June 17, 2010 9:55:20 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Click here to learn more about how to avoid unnecessary Unemployment appeals & hearings.

Tammy Mullin

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 3:17:07 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, June 14, 2010

Another great TIP from our client service team -

Warnings are an aspect of progressive discipline that effectively ensures an employee understands what is expected of them. Warnings or corrective actions help an employee understand that a performance problem or opportunity for improvement exists and help the employee overcome those performance problems and satisfy job expectations.

State unemployment agencies look for warnings, in most instances, to determine if the claimant was discharged for misconduct—a deliberate or willful violation of company rules. Effective documentation is crucial, as many times the employer will have the burden of proof with the state agency.  States consider it the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all employees are aware of company rules, policies, and procedures.  Proper documentation can make a difference in the outcome of your case.  Missing or incomplete documentation will lead to a failure to prove misconduct. 

Preparing for the Warning

·         Set aside time to review the problem

·         Investigate the events surrounding the problem

·         Interview any witnesses

·         Review policies/procedures/work rules

·         Define the expectation

·         Define the alternative choices—are there any?

Good Documentation Procedures

·         When an employer issues an employee handbook or rules, retain an acknowledgement of receipt in the employee’s file. When changes are made to policies, another signed acknowledgement of the update must be obtained.

·         Special policies and procedures should, if possible, be posted.

·         Be consistent: enforce rules and policies uniformly and ensure that disciplinary action being taken is in accordance with the company policy and/or prior disciplinary action.

·         All counseling sessions and warnings should be documented in writing—even if only informal or verbal.

·         All disciplinary action should be administered by authorized personnel in a timely manner.

·         Retain documentation for at least 18 months and keep it readily available to ensure timely responses to the state.

Elements of a Good Written Warning

The Violation - Provide a detailed synopsis of the event which occurred including all facts, dates/times and witnesses. Clearly state what the observed behavior was and why it was unacceptable. Clearly outline exactly what policy was violated.

Expected Action or How to Improve - State or reaffirm what the expected behavior or standard is and what changes are expected.

The Consequences - Inform the worker what the consequences will be if the standard is not consistently adhered to. For example, state “further violations will result in more severe discipline, which may include discharge.” Include expected time period to rectify (e.g., 30 days to improve) and consequences and next steps should there be no improvement.

Employee’s Action Plan and Comments

Signature of Employee - Ensure the employee acknowledges having received the warning (signs and dates).

Signature of Witness - Whenever possible, involve a witness so two people will be able to testify with firsthand knowledge regarding the counseling session should an unemployment hearing arise.

Signature of Issuer

A good written warning is clear and legible and does not use opinion or judgment words. Focus is placed on words which indicate violation of rules. Avoid using general statements, e.g., “poor performance,” to describe willful or deliberate violations of rules within the employee’s control. Remember, you know what happened but the state does not.

What to Do If An Employee Won’t Sign the Warning

The employee’s signature is not an admission of guilt or an agreement with everything on the form. Its primary purpose is to show that the employee was aware of the possible consequences for a future incident.  Here are some alternatives if the employee refuses to sign the form.

·         Explain that the employee is admitting nothing only showing an understanding of possible consequences.  Offer the employee a chance to tell their side of the story which they can sign and date.

·         Put a line on the form and simply ask the employee to initial the form showing they received it.

·         Have a witness present who can attest to the fact that the employee was given the form and had the consequences explained to them. Then have the witness sign the form and note “employee refused to sign.”

Tammy Mullin

Monday, June 14, 2010 12:25:26 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, June 11, 2010

Another great TIP from our fantastic service team:

 

Unemployment Eligibility Determinations: When Should You Appeal?

 

The Purpose of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Process

 

Eligibility for unemployment insurance, benefit amounts, and the length of time benefits are available are determined by the State law under which unemployment insurance claims are established. The appeal process affords both employers and claimants the opportunity to request a review of how those eligibility rules were applied to a specific employment separation or change in employment status.

 

Claim Responses vs. Appeals

 

Responding to unemployment claims with information describing a separation of employment or a change in status is necessary to assist state agencies in making accurate eligibility decisions. While you may respond to a claim with all the facts in your possession, the facts of your separation may not be sufficient to meet the state guidelines for a disqualification or a non-charge to your account.

 

In contrast to the claim response, an appeal is your request for the state to assign a hearing officer to review the facts of a particular case because you believe the eligibility rules have not been properly applied. Requesting an appeal is not appropriate for every eligibility determination.

 

When to Appeal

 

If you disagree with a decision that the claimant is allowed benefits or that your unemployment account is subject to charges on a particular claim and wish to file an appeal, you must be prepared to present facts and evidence to support your argument that the state’s decision to allow benefits is incorrect.

 

In Voluntary Quit cases, you must be prepared to argue that the claimant did not have good cause to quit. In a Discharge case, you must be prepared to prove the employee’s discharge was for misconduct. As the appealing party, you bear the responsibility to provide the evidence that supports your position. This can be done effectively with:

  • First-hand witness testimony
  • A written resignation
  • Warning notices
  • An admission by the claimant
  • Written policy prohibiting the claimant's actions
  • The claimant's acknowledgement of receipt of the policy

In some situations, you may not have one or more of these proof sources available to you and in this appeal environment, what you think may have happened is not nearly as important as what you can prove. 

 

Keep in mind that witness statements, even if properly authenticated, are hearsay and may not be sufficient to meet the burden of proof. If a claimant appears and denies the contents, the claimant’s first-hand testimony will typically outweigh the employer’s written statements. First hand testimony is always the strongest evidence.

 

Voluntary Resignations (Good Cause)

 

Good cause is generally defined as "such cause, connected with the work, as would lead a reasonable person who is otherwise interested in remaining employed to nonetheless leave the job." While the burden for showing good cause rests with the claimant, you must be prepared to offer an argument that good cause did not exist or evidence that the reason the claimant

gave for quitting is not factually correct.

 

Following are some common issues that make winning quit cases more difficult:

  • No documentation regarding the reason the claimant left employment
  • An employer significantly changed the claimant's work hours, pay, or job duties
  • An employer took no action to investigate employee complaints of unsafe work conditions or harassment
  • An employer gave an employee the choice of resigning or being discharged 

Discharges (Misconduct)

 

Misconduct has been defined as a “willful, substantial breach of a material duty owed the employer which tends to damage the employer’s interests.” For purposes of unemployment eligibility, this means that a single instance of most policy violations will not be considered misconduct, but rather repeated violations of the same rule or policy after being warned. Not all violations of company policy are misconduct. Claimants who are discharged for poor job performance are rarely denied benefits unless you can prove the claimant was able to do the job to your satisfaction and did not.

 

Following are some common issues that result in employers losing discharge cases:

  • No final warning
  • Not following stated company discipline policy
  • No documentation of past policy violations
  • Not taking disciplinary action within a reasonable time after the policy violation
  • Discharge for an accumulation of incidents as opposed to for a specific final incident 

Deciding to Appeal

 

If you disagree with the eligibility decision from the state and you have documentation and testimony to support your argument, a formal appeal and request for hearing should be filed.

 

If all relevant documentary evidence was not already submitted with the claim response, it should be submitted with the appeal. Remember, in some states evidence not submitted with your original response will not be considered.

 

Understanding when to file an appeal will help to conserve your organization’s time and resources while achieving the best possible results.

 

Tammy Mullin

 

Friday, June 11, 2010 8:13:16 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, June 10, 2010

We recently issued the following TIP to our clients which I thought I'd share.  It highlights how important it is to understand the definition of misconduct and what facts and documentation are required to prove misconduct in your state. 

Absenteeism and Tardiness Are Not Always Misconduct

When an employer discharges an employee for excessive absenteeism and/or tardiness the employee is not automatically disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits. The employer must prove the employee’s absences and/or tardiness were misconduct and this can be very difficult to do.

Disregard of procedures or failure to call in may constitute misconduct regardless of the reason for absence or lateness. For example, while an employee may allege illness, this will not usually excuse a no call, no show.  However the employee’s failure to follow an employer’s policies will do no good in a protest unless the conduct and the efforts to reach the employee are documented.

To establish misconduct when an employee is discharged for absenteeism or tardiness, there are certain basic guidelines that should be followed.

Documentation

Maintain absence or tardiness records; note reasons given and related infractions, e.g., failure to produce required medical documentation.

Disciplinary Action

Progressive disciplinary action should be initiated in accordance with work rules and policies.  Warnings should be issued and reviewed with an employee where appropriate.

A delay in initiating progressive discipline might result in the state unemployment agency ruling that the employee’s conduct was being tolerated and, in effect, approved by the employer.

Final Incident

The last incident of absenteeism or tardiness prior to discharge should involve conduct or behavior within the employee’s control. (If an employee, for example, is ill, calls in as instructed, and furnishes required medical documentation, there is no misconduct despite warnings.)

Caution about Point Systems

Many employers use a “point” system to manage employee absences. These systems provide a substantially simplified way to handle employee absences, but employers should remember the requirement about the final incident. The final incident must be within the employee’s control, so former employees frequently collect benefits even if their absences justify dismissal under a point system.

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, June 10, 2010 1:22:43 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Reimbursing employers follow different rules than merit-rated employers when it comes to benefit charges.  Click here to find out why it is so important for reimbursing employers to win their cases up front.

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, June 08, 2010 5:42:44 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Click here for Critical Guidance to Employers on the Unemployment Hearing.

Tammy Mullin

Tuesday, June 01, 2010 11:21:21 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The following joint press release was issued today by the Idaho Department of Labor and TALX:

For Immediate Release:

Idaho Department of Labor and TALX Hold Joint Meetings to Improve Unemployment Insurance Processes

St. Louis, May 25, 2010 – The Idaho Department of Labor and TALX have announced a number of key initiatives resulting from joint meetings held in St. Louis, May 24 and 25, 2010.

The meetings were in response to a letter from Mr. Roger Madsen, Director Idaho Department of Labor, outlining concerns about the role of TALX in the unemployment insurance system.

"We were very pleased to meet with the executive team from TALX to review our relationship as we work together to process the unemployment claims in the state of Idaho," said Mr. Madsen. The group identified a number of key action items to improve the system including:

  • Collaboration on training for Idaho employers on the state unemployment insurance system;
  • Modification of documents used by both TALX and the state in the unemployment claims process;
  • Development of performance expectations subject to ongoing review and analysis; and
  • Continuation of dialogue with a follow-up meeting scheduled for July in Idaho.

Madsen continued "The state of Idaho and TALX have made excellent progress toward resolving outstanding concerns, and we have concluded that TALX has no reason or intent to delay benefits to those eligible under Idaho Employment Security Law."

"TALX would like to thank Mr. Madsen for contacting us regarding our relationship with the state of Idaho and we were honored to host him and two of his colleagues," said Joyce Dear, Senior Vice President and General Manager, TALX.

Dear continued, "Our meetings underscored our commitment to a strong relationship and will allow us to better achieve our common goals. We especially value Idaho’s input as it has been recognized for excellence."

The Idaho Department of Labor received the 2007 Pinnacle award from the US Department of Labor which recognized the agency for outstanding performance in unemployment insurance administration.

Both Madsen and Dear said, "A successful collaboration between Idaho’s Department of Labor and TALX can serve as a model for partnerships with other state workforce agencies."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 5:31:51 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt

Dear UI Director,

By now, you are aware our company was the primary target of biased and grossly inaccurate reporting in an article that was published in the April 4, 2010 issue of The New York Times. They did not fact-check their article with us; instead, they relied on dated hearsay and rumors to create sensationalism about a highly emotional topic for unemployed Americans. This same article has been circulated and used by others as the foundation for decision making. We’d like to take a moment of your time to clarify some of the most pertinent inaccuracies.

We know that the high volume of claims resulting from the recession has created a challenging time for all of us involved in the UI process (states, employers, TPAs and claimants). TALX’s role in this process is to assist employers by managing the workflow related to unemployment filings. We want to assure you that at no time has TALX intentionally thwarted the claim process or encouraged unnecessary appeals. In fact, our experience shows that claimants are currently driving more appeals than employers. Contrary to what the article implied, we work to meet state deadlines to ensure that people who deserve their benefits receive them in a timely manner. In addition:

  • TALX handles millions of UI claims accurately, timely and efficiently every year, which benefits claimants, employers and states.
  • TALX spends countless hours training employers on how the UI process works and keeps them up-to-date on the latest regulations.
  • Our State Agency Response Center (SARC), established in 2004, leads the industry in providing service to each state UI agency and was created specifically to provide follow-up information quickly to the state.
  • TALX is strongly committed to supporting state initiatives towards efficiency and quality – such as SIDES, electronic data exchange and other state-specific process enhancements.

At TALX, we have great respect for state unemployment agencies and know you were also unfairly portrayed by the same New York Times journalist last year. We value our relationship with you but also recognize there is always room for improvement. As always, our goal is to serve our clients in accordance with your state regulations, but we also want to make sure your needs are being met by TALX. To that end, I encourage you to contact me with any concerns at (314) 684-2885. I would be delighted to hear from you.

With best regards,

Joyce Dear
Senior Vice President and General Manager
Tax Management Services

Tuesday, May 25, 2010 2:10:44 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, May 24, 2010

Contributing employers with positive account balances can now apply for the Michigan Tax Credit. Click here to link to the state’s website where you can find instructions on how to complete the application and other pertinent information.

The credit is 50% of the additional FUTA tax paid by the employer on the 2009 Federal 940 or the employer’s taxable wages for calendar year 2009 multiplied by the Nonchargeable Benefits Component (NBC) of the employer’s unemployment tax rate for 2009, whichever is lower.

You will need your 2009 Federal Form 940 to complete the required portion of the application. If you want to compute the amount of your credit, you will also need your 2009 Michigan Unemployment Tax Rate Determination and your total 2009 unemployment taxable wages as reported on UIA quarterly reports.

Once your application is approved, the amount of your credit will appear during the electronic filing process if you use EWAM to file your quarterly returns or be pre-printed on the blank hard copy contribution report.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, May 24, 2010 7:55:43 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, May 21, 2010

In addition to the tax credit provided under the Hire Act, Hawaii employers could qualify for an additional tax credit under the Premium Plus Program to help offset the cost of healthcare preimiums for new qualified employees who had been unemployed for 6 weeks or longer prior to their hire date.

Click here to enroll or obtain additional information.

Tammy Mullin

Friday, May 21, 2010 9:19:23 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Department of Labor recently issued their annual comparison of state unemployment laws.  It is a great resource for employers operating in more than one state.  Click here to view.

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, May 20, 2010 12:08:05 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, April 26, 2010

Click here to find out how to craft one.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, April 26, 2010 7:20:01 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hearsay testimony is testimony at the hearing, under oath, from someone who heard about what happened from another person or who saw or heard an incident on tape after-the-fact. Some states are prohibited by law from making a finding of fact based on only hearsay evidence. Hearsay testimony is not as credible as first-hand testimony because the person who actually witnessed what happened at the time is not testifying under oath at the hearing and therefore cannot be questioned by the hearing officer.

 

If the claimant appears at the hearing and denies everything, the claimant's first-hand denial almost always outweighs hearsay testimony.  End result - the claimant probably wins.

 

Hearsay Evidence Includes:

  • Testimony about an interview of the people who saw what happened
  • Testimony about what was seen on video or heard on tape, unless the tape itself is presented as evidence
  • A written statement by someone who does not appear to testify
  • Documentation created by someone who does not appear to testify
  • Testimony about a complaint made by a customer
  • Testimony by anyone who did not see what happened, but who made a conclusion about the claimant's activities based on what they saw or heard later

As we discussed before, hearing decisions often come down to a question of credibility and greater weight will always be given to first-hand witness testimony. The hearing officer needs to decide who is the most credible to make his findings of fact. He/she uses the findings of fact to decide whether the facts support the claimant's eligibility for benefits in accordance with state law. 

 

Tammy Mullin

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 7:51:18 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, April 19, 2010

Situation

Recent flooding in Rhode Island has created special unemployment insurance circumstances. In accordance with the unemployment statutes, impacted employers may be relieved of benefit charges and affected workers may have the one-week waiting period waived.

What Employers Need to Know

Employers incurring layoffs, due to the floods, must complete a "waiver and relief" form in order to be granted relief from unemployment benefit charges. This statutory relief applies to both tax contributing and reimbursing employers. Completion of the form is also necessary for a worker’s UI claim waiting week to be waived.

A copy of the "Employer Application for Relief of Benefit Charges and Waiting Period Waiver Due to a Natural Disaster/State of Emergency" can be found at http://www.dlt.ri.gov/ui/FloodInfo.htm - scroll down and click on "waiver and relief application".

Waivers are not automatic and must be completed by the employer, not an agent. The completed form should be faxed to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8413

What You Can Expect

Employers are encouraged to document the completion and proper submission of the "waiver and relief" application for future reference.

The state agency has established a dedicated phone number and e-mail address to assist employers with the UI relief and waiver process: Phone – (401) 462-8999; E-mail – uiemployerhelp@dlt.ri.gov.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, April 19, 2010 10:31:00 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, April 15, 2010

Click here to find out more.

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, April 15, 2010 12:36:51 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Looks like we may see another 30 days of extended benefits as this article from ABC news indicates.  While I personally believe that deficit spending is generally a bad thing, at this point, what choice do we have?  We have a huge population of workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own and they need support. 

My concern is that we seem to spend a lot of energy bantering back and forth on 30 day extensions while we have a much larger problem to address.  The economy is in a state of flux.  We are seeing old technologies and ways of doing things dying out to make room for the new, (see "Are There Jobs Out There?"). 

We need to do a better job of preparing our unemployed workforce to take on new challenges.  We need to be doing things to promote innovation.  I think employers can have a great impact in this area.  I've talked about the importance of having a Reemployment Strategy in the past, but I don't think I've talked about making sure that as an employer, that strategy is aligned with what is happening in today's economy. 

It is not enough to offer resume writing support.  Workers need to be taught to think differently.  They need to learn to look at their experiences and see a skill set.  They need help understanding how that skill set could translate into new opportunities.  And, they need to learn how to market themselves differently.  Times are tough and competition is fierce for those open positions that do exist. 

I'll get off my soapbox here shortly, but I encourage employers to really think about what they do to support exiting employees.  Getting these folks back to work as quickly as possible is a win/win situation for both the employer and the employee.  Whether you choose to use an outside service such as the TALX Reemployment Service or do it in house, just do it.  Not only will you save some unemployment costs, but it feels great knowing that you helped someone in such a meaningful way.

Tammy Mullin

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 8:37:31 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Saturday, April 10, 2010

Situation

Michigan employers with a positive account balance, who were subject to the FUTA tax increase of 0.3% in 2009, can receive a tax credit for 2010. The credit amount will be either 50% of the additional FUTA tax paid by the employer or the employer’s taxable wages for the previous calendar year multiplied by the non-chargeable benefits component (NBC) of the employer’s unemployment tax rate for that year, whichever is the lesser amount.

What Employers Need to Know

To qualify for this credit employers must meet all the following requirements:

• A contributing employer has applied for the state tax credit and has paid Michigan unemployment taxes for five years or more and has a tax rate for the year of the Michigan tax credit.

• Has a positive reserve balance in its experience account as of June 30th of the previous year.

• Has filed all required quarterly tax reports for the year prior to the year of the credit

• Has paid the additional FUTA taxes on IRS form 940 no later the December 31, 2010.

• Has paid its FUTA taxes prior to submitting the Michigan Tax Credit application.

• Has certified the amount of additional 2009 FUTA taxes paid when it applies for the credit.

Employers can apply for this credit through the UIA Employer Web Account Manager (EWAM) at www.michigan.gov/uia or by completing Form UIA 1110, "Application for Michigan Unemployment Tax Credit". Both application options will be available soon. The credit can be used against your Michigan unemployment liability beginning in the quarter ending 6/30/2010.

Tammy Mullin

Saturday, April 10, 2010 12:25:21 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The New York Times published an article about TALX on April 4, 2010. Many of the points within the article were inaccurate.  As a result, readers may have drawn conclusions that are not fact-based. TALX stands by our outstanding employees and expertise as well as the important role that we play in the unemployment insurance industry. 

 

The unemployment insurance system is run and administered by states though it is funded by employers.  This system, by law, provides unemployment benefits in certain circumstances for the under-employed and unemployed workers.  This includes lack of work issues. 

 

When a former employee believes he/she is eligible to collect unemployment insurance, that individual goes to the state to file a claim.  The state then processes that claim and then sends it to the former employer to see if the reasons for separation supplied by the individual and the employer are in agreement.  There is agreement with the majority of claims and benefits are subsequently granted by the state.  However, in some cases, there is disagreement.  When that occurs, the states may collect more detailed information from the employer and the individual to make a determination on his or her eligibility. 

 

TALX is fully committed to aiding the communications process between states and the employers we serve in order to help ensure individuals get the unemployment benefits they deserve.  TALX handles millions of claims accurately and efficiently every year, which benefits consumers, employers and states.  Our State Agency Response Team leads the industry in providing service to each state. 

 

Our process helps protect the individuals for whom the unemployment insurance system is designed to assist.  Despite what The New York Times article reported, TALX participates in the process but does not make judgments regarding benefits.

 

We invite you to direct your questions to the TALX hotline 314-684-2599.

 

Wednesday, April 07, 2010 2:35:39 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [1] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt

In 2009, there were approximately 29.3 million unemployment claims filed in the US.  A source within the Department of Labor tells us that nationally, in 94% of the cases, benefit eligibility was determined at this initial claim level and no appeals were filed.  Of the 6% that were appealed and went to a hearing, claimants filed for appeal three times more often than employers did. 

 

So who wins?  Interestingly enough, regardless of whether it was the claimant who filed the appeal or the employer who filed the appeal the win % is generally 36% in favor of the appellant with claimants having slightly more success. 

 

These trends haven’t changed much over the past 5 years.  The appeal rate has gone up slightly and the % of the appeals by claimants has increased slightly while those filed by employers has decreased slightly.  Not an unexpected outcome given the current economic climate.

 

So what does this mean to you the employer?  Well, the unemployment system was established to help employees who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.  As an employer, you should continue to appeal decisions where you feel your former employee should not be eligible for benefits.  However, since the majority of people filing a claim for unemployment are eligible to collect, employers can have a greater impact on controlling their unemployment costs by helping to control the duration of an unemployment claim.  The best way to do that is to provide former workers with the tools and assistance they need to get back to work more quickly.  

 

Whether you choose to use an outside resource such as the TALX Reemployment Service or do it yourself in-house, having a Reemployment Strategy for former workers is an essential part of any Unemployment Cost Management program.  The right strategy can get former workers back to work 33% faster than those that are provided no assistance at all.

 

Tammy Mullin

Wednesday, April 07, 2010 8:27:36 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, April 05, 2010

Kansas

In the state of Kansas Governor Parkinson recently signed House Bill 2676 that lowered unemployment insurance tax rates and provided additional time to submit their tax contribution payment.

Indiana

In the state of Indiana; Governor Mitch Daniels recently signed Senate Bill 23 that postpones scheduled unemployment tax changes to take effect on January 1, 2011, rather than January 1, 2010.

What Employers Need to Know

Kansas

Kansas HB 2676 sets tax rates for 2010 and 2011. The Kansas agency immediately mailed revised 2010 rate notices to the employers impacted by the bill which was signed by Governor Parkinson on March 24, 2010.

In addition, all employers are given an additional 90 days in which to make their contribution payments for the first three quarters of 2010 and 2011 without accruing interest. However if the payments are not made within that 90-day window, interest will be assessed from the original due date.

The 90-day grace period provided to all employers does not apply to submission of the quarterly wage report, only to the payment of UI tax contributions. Quarterly wage reports are still due the last day of the month following quarter end. Reports submitted past the due date are subject to a penalty.

Indiana

Indiana SB 23 postpones from January 1, 2010 to January 1, 2011 the increase in the taxable wage base from $7,000 to $9,500. In addition, it postpones the increase in the maximum rate from 5.6% to 12.0% and decreases the rate for certain employers, from 2.7% to 2.5%. Changes to the fund ratio and rate schedules were also delayed to take effect in 2011 rather than in 2010.

Tammy Mullin

Monday, April 05, 2010 10:44:43 AM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, March 15, 2010

Aimee Cernik, a member of the TALX Unemployment Product Management team, is our guest blogger again today with some insight into how the insured unemployment rate is calculated. 

Last week I discussed what is involved with computing the national unemployment rate (NUR), an essential published monthly rate that helps determine the overall health of our economy.  Why is the NUR so important in projecting the health of the economy? Because a low rate of unemployment shows signs of economic prosperity, as well as the potential for inflation, and conversely a high rate of unemployment reveals signs of a recession or a depressed economy. 

Almost of equal importance is another unemployment number used as an economic health gauge is the insured unemployment rate (IUR), or the volume and length in which unemployment claims are filed.

What is insured unemployment? The unemployment insurance program was created to provide temporary financial assistance to those who became unemployed through no fault of their own (as determined by individual State law). This system was designed to hold significant funds during upswings in the economy, and to ultimately pay out in the downswings, and it is typically funded through a tax on employers.  It is important to note that each State has their own separate unemployment insurance programs, and each program may vary slightly, but all are designed within the Federal law guidelines.  

What does IUR mean to you? The IUR is often used as an indicator of labor market conditions across the Nation and within each State.  This rate is solely collected and calculated from the number of unemployment claims filed, across all states’ unemployment insurance programs, and is posted weekly by the Employment and Training Administration. 

There are two rate classifications for the IUR, initial claims and continued claims.  Those that file for unemployment for the very first time are counted as “initial”, which is treated as a notice that a person is starting a period of unemployment.  Since filing for unemployment is a weekly to biweekly process, those that continue to qualify and receive the benefits after the initial week are counted towards the insured unemployment figures as “continued”.

So why two rates?  The initial claims rate gives a snapshot of the emerging employment market.  A rise in the initial claim rate may signal a weakened economy, while the continued claims rate may expose how enduring the current state of the economy may last, as well as an overall lack of available employment.

Why is filed unemployment claims data not included in the national unemployment rate? Both the NUR and the IUR are important sources that help economists’ trend the economy as a whole and within States; however, the IUR exclusively focuses on filed unemployment claims, which results in the exclusion of several key groups to consider in the total unemployment rate such as:  self-employed workers, unpaid family workers, certain not-for-profit organizations, workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits, and individuals that simply do not file for unemployment benefits.  Because of these limitations, data on IUR cannot be used towards total unemployment in the United States.  Although the IUR is not included in the NUR, it still lends itself quite readily in trending the state of the economy.

To learn more about the insured unemployment rate, please visit the Employment and Training Administration website at http://workforcesecurity.doleta.gov/unemploy/claims.asp.

Aimee Cernik

Monday, March 15, 2010 3:12:30 PM (Central Daylight Time, UTC-05:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, March 12, 2010

Aimee Cernik, a member of the TALX Unemployment Product Management team, is our guest blogger today with some insight into how the national unemployment rate is calculated. 

Did you ever wonder how one arrives at a number that is responsible for determining the overall health trajectory of the economy?  In fact, every month a division of the United States Department of Labor called the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases the previous month’s information on the position of the national unemployment rate.  Now, one may assume the BLS bases the national unemployment rate on the total number of unemployment claims filed across all the states, but there are many more factors to consider in calculating the rate such as those who are unemployed and have not filed for unemployment, those that are not eligible for benefits, and those whose benefits have already been exhausted.   And, this information is not available by exclusively looking at filed unemployment claims.

So if you cannot get the complete picture from filed unemployment claims- how does the BLS evaluate and determine the national unemployment rate? Since it is nearly impossible to account for the entire employed and unemployed population, the BLS conducts a sample study titled “Current Population Study” (CPS).  This CPS consists of 60,000 households (approx. 110, 000 individuals) that will participate in a structured interview, which is conducted by 2,200 trained interviewers…every month.

60,000 may not seem like a comparative number to the entire national population, but this sample is statistically sound and large enough to result in a representative and reliable estimate of the true unemployed population.  To ensure accuracy and remove any bias and sampling error the BLS has built in measures to keep the information clean, fresh and up to date. According to the BLS, “25% of the households in the sample are changed on a monthly basis for the specific purpose that no household in the sample will be interviewed more than four times consecutively. After a household is rotated out of the survey, it is not interviewed again for 8 months”.  The BLS has stated that the monthly estimate of unemployment from the sample is within 290,000 of the total census, and the any error resulting from sampling is not significant enough to alter the total and true unemployment rate.  

So who is actually included in the survey?  The BLS is selective of who can participate in the CPS, and has set criteria as to who is considered part of the United States labor force, which includes anyone of 16 years or older who is employed, or is actively seeking employment.  Those who are NOT included in the survey population are those under the age of 16, those that choose not to enter the labor market or not actively seeking employment, and those serving in the armed forces.  

Since the CPS is collecting data that is the foundation for the national unemployment rate, the information gathered must be done correctly, administered the same way-every time, to obtain the facts. Participants are never asked directly if they are unemployed, but rather are asked a series of questions to help conclude their status within the labor force. Moreover, the interviewers solely gather the information, and never determine a respondent’s employment classification. Rather the employment classification is determined by inputing the information into a computer program, and in turn, the program classifies the respondents as unemployed, employed, or simply not in the labor force. 

Certain questions are asked of those not in the labor force to obtain additional information as described by the BSL as , “their desire for work, the reasons why they had not looked for work in the last 4 weeks, their prior job search, and their availability for work.” Finally the interviews and the information collected are then compared to the number of people in the labor force, thus resulting in the national unemployment rate percentage.

Who knew there was so much work involved to produce such an important economic benchmark! To learn more about the CPS or the information provided by the BLS, please visit their website at: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm#why

Aimee Cernik

Friday, March 12, 2010 8:43:56 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, March 11, 2010

To prove at an unemployment hearing that a claimant’s separation is disqualifying, it is not enough to simply tell the hearing officer what happened. In the case of a discharge, the employer must prove misconduct in order for the claimant to be disqualified from benefits. If the claimant quit, he has to prove he quit with good cause to be allowed benefits. In either case, the key to winning at hearing is first-hand evidence.

 

First–hand evidence includes:

  • First-hand witness testimony
  • A video or audio recording
  • Time sheets or schedules
  • Warning notices
  • An admission by the claimant
  • A written resignation 

First-hand witness testimony is testimony at the hearing, under oath, from someone who saw what happened or who was present at the time of the final incident

 

If the claimant was discharged, the best witnesses are the people who saw or heard the final incident at the time it happened.

 

If the claimant quit, the best witnesses are the people who know the most about the reason the claimant gave for quitting. The best first-hand evidence is a written resignation submitted by the claimant.

 

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, March 11, 2010 4:23:39 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, March 05, 2010

Situation

The unemployment tax increase for Florida employers this year turned out to be much bigger than expected due to the soaring unemployment rate and a law change passed last year. Tax rate notices issued in December 2009 reflected this increase. Florida lawmakers acted quickly this week to pass legislation to rollback that increase for two years. Governor Crist signed the bills immediately.

What Employers Need to Know

The legislation delays the increase of the taxable wage base from $7,000 to $8,500 until 2012 when it will increase to $8,500. It will also change the factors used to calculate employers’ tax rates for 2010 and 2011 resulting in lower rates. The minimum rate for 2010 will decrease but the maximum rate will remain 5.4%.

The law change also contains a special installment payment plan option which allows employers to spread their 2010 and 2011 payments out over a designated period of time. An annual $5.00 administrative fee will be charged employers that want to take advantage of the installment plan. Information on how to take advantage of this option will be on the state electronic filing website and the blank quarterly reports.

The payment of interest on the federal advances will be made through an employer assessment. Barring a federal law change, interest will be due beginning in 2011.

What You Can Expect

The state will be issuing revised tax rate notices on March 22nd to reflect the lower factors.

Tammy Mullin

Friday, March 05, 2010 10:41:22 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, March 04, 2010

Situation

Late on March 2, 2010, Congress passed and President Obama quickly signed a one-month extension to expiring unemployment insurance (UI) benefits provisions.

What Employers Need to Know

The legislation does not create any additional or new UI benefits. It simply pushes back the expiration date of current benefit provisions, from February 28, 2010 to April 5, 2010. These UI assistance measures are:

• Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) – These are 100% federally funded benefits available to persons who exhaust their regular UI benefits.

• State Extended Benefits (EB) Full Federal Funding – The federal government will pick up 100% of the cost of state extended benefits. By law, the feds cannot cover the cost of state EB for government entities and Indian tribes, so these employers are liable for any EB paid to their unemployed workers.

• Federal Additional Compensation (FAC) – This is a 100% federally funded supplement of $25 added to all weekly UI benefits paid, be they regular, EUC or EB.

Next Steps

Despite this temporary extension, thousands of individuals are beginning to exhaust the maximum 99 weeks of combined state and federal UI benefits. Therefore, it is expected Congress will work on additional extensions through the end of 2010.

Special Note: The temporary, one-month extension also applies to the COBRA subsidy originally enacted under the 2009 Recovery Act.

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, March 04, 2010 2:53:15 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Yesterday I posted a blog about Vermont legislative activity related to a possible new payroll tax paid by the employee to help fund unemployment benefits.  Decided to do a bit more digging and found out that a couple other states are already assessing a payroll tax for this purpose.  Those states are:

Alaska - charges 0.5% of wages

New Jersey - charges 0.3825% of wages generally and 0.0825% for workers of governmental reimbursers

Pennsylvania - 0.08% of wages in certain instances.

Just thought I'd pass this along. 

Tammy Mullin

Wednesday, March 03, 2010 3:47:24 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A surprising turn of events in Vermont, well, surprising to me at least.  I read today that legislators are proposing an additional payroll tax to help replenish the state's depleted unemployment trust fund.  The 0.2% surcharge would be collected from individuals making over $40,000 a year and bring an additional $100 million in new revenue for the fund over the next four years.

Seems like a pretty bold move that goes way outside the box of the traditional model of employers paying in and benefits getting paid out.  This is sure to cause some serious debate.  Quite possibly even a ruckus. 

It's interesting as there is an ongoing difference of opinion regarding who actually pays for unemployment insurance.  Most say the employer of course (since they write the check), but some say it is the actual worker who pays the insurance in the form of lower wages (if not for the tax, the employer would have paid them more).  Well, if this legislation is passed, at least in Vermont, there will be strong evidence on both sides of this running debate.

Tammy Mullin

 

Tuesday, March 02, 2010 4:20:39 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Monday, March 01, 2010

In addition to figuring out where to get additional revenue, some states are starting to also look at how to adjust policy to cut down on the draws against the unemployment trust fund. 

Check out South Carolina where a "Senate proposal" would "give the agency the right to deny unemployment benefits to workers who are fired for illegal drug use.  Workers also could be denied benefits for gross misconduct, which includes reckless damage to employer property, employee theft, and criminal assault or battery against a fellow employee."

Claimants collecting who were fired for misconduct represented about "10 percent of total benefits [paid] between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2009."

Tammy Mullin

 

Monday, March 01, 2010 11:18:53 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Friday, February 26, 2010

In this economic climate it is no secret that reimbursers are looking for ways to cut unemployment costs. Some best practices to keep in mind include:

 

Send All Details at the Claim Level

 

Winning claims at the first level will save money since reimbursers do not automatically receive benefit credits if a decision is reversed at the hearing level. Hearings can take 4-6 weeks to get scheduled and a decision rendered. This means you would pay 4-6 weeks of benefits you might not get back.

 

For Schools: The Importance of Reasonable Assurance Letters

 

An overriding consideration in determining employees’ eligibility for UI benefits is whether or not they have “reasonable assurance” of returning to work in the next school term. We continue to recommend that the “reasonable assurance” be in written form. Having these letters distributed before the end of the school year can result in more favorable decisions and avoid the need for a hearing.

 

Continue to Manage Your Human Resources Wisely

 

Practices such as performing good reference checks before hiring and following an employee’s progress from the moment the person is hired is critical. See previous blog serious on The Hiring Process - "Part I - Reviewing the Job Application", "Part II - Test Skills" and "Part III - The Interview".

 

Provide Timely Information to the State 

 

An untimely response will result in loss of appeal rights and you being charged for benefits collected. Ensuring timeliness when contesting unemployment claims can save you money. There is usually only a 10-day timeframe to reply before benefits go through.

 

Proper Management of Layoffs

 

It is never a good time to lay someone off. Helping severed employees find another job through coaching or reviewing their resume is beneficial to the employee as well as the employer. The less time individuals remain unemployed the lower the employer’s cost will be.  See previous blog "What Should be the Focus of your Unemployment Cost Management Program".

 

Tammy Mullin 

Friday, February 26, 2010 8:24:56 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt
# Thursday, February 25, 2010

An element of progressive discipline, warnings and corrective actions are an effective way of ensuring an employee understands what is expected of them. State agencies look for warnings, in most instances, to determine if the claimant was discharged for misconduct—a deliberate or willful violation of company rules.

 

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that all employees are aware of company, rules policies and procedures.

 

Guidelines:

  • When your company issues an employee handbook or rules, retain an acknowledgement of receipt in the employee’s file.
  • Special policies and procedures should, if possible, be posted.
  • Be consistent: enforce rules and policies uniformly
  • Be specific and objective when you counsel employees. Avoid using general statements, e.g., “poor performance,” to describe willful or deliberate violations of rules within the employee’s control. Permit the employee to respond in writing.
  • Note witnesses, dates, time, etc. of documented incidents
  • Request employees to sign all warning notices. Witnesses to warnings are recommended. If the employee refuses to sign, write on the notice that the employee refused to sign, and ask the witness to sign his/her name next to the statement. Remember, signing a warning notice does not mean the employee is admitting to the offense; it is simply an acknowledgement of receipt.
  • Follow up. If you warn a suspended employee, document what is expected and note any important timeframes.

Although written warnings are better, notes or verbal warnings are important if documented.

Tammy Mullin

Thursday, February 25, 2010 1:16:39 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Unemployment Cost Mgmt