UI Forum (ADP Unemployment Group)

Second Quarter 2014



UI Cost Management – Helpful “Dos and Don’ts”

The Unemployment Insurance Program is funded by payroll taxes levied against employers, but unlike other payroll taxes, unemployment is unique, because the amount of tax an employer pays can be controlled through human resource and claims management best practices. The following “Dos and Don’ts Checklist” can help ensure successful unemployment claim outcomes, which can help minimize your benefit charge and tax costs.

  • Do periodically review and refresh your employment screening practices, so the best worker candidates are properly matched to jobs.
  • Do monitor the performance progress of new employees, particularly during the probationary period, since unemployment claim costs are often proportional to the length of time he or she is employed.
  • Don’t condone company policy violations – establish clear policies that specify disciplinary steps, up to and including termination; and, be sure to uniformly communicate and apply the policies to all employees.
  • Do keep accurate and detailed documentation of all company policy infractions and disciplinary action taken, including verbal and written warnings, suspensions, pertinent dates, facts, and most importantly for a termination, the final incident.
  • Do conduct an exit interview, whenever possible, in order to document the reason for separation or why a reason could not be obtained.
  • Don’t overlook details for voluntary separations – document any facts associated with the quit, such as conversations, verbal statements, or written letters, emails or text messages.
  • Don’t forget about deadline dates associated with unemployment documents – claims, determinations, appeals, hearing notices, and Referee or Board of Review decisions.
  • Do present factual testimony and supporting evidence at an unemployment hearing, and be certain that any witness has first-hand knowledge of the former employee’s separation.
  • Do respond promptly and completely to requests from your ADP Unemployment Group Representative to ensure compliance with UI Integrity requirements for timely and adequate information.

UI Integrity – States Begin Developing Guidance for Employers

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Program provisions included in The Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAAEA) of 2011 requires state UI agencies to deny benefit charge relief to an employer’s tax account when: 1) unemployment benefits were improperly paid due to failure to respond timely or adequately to the state’s request for information relating to the claim; and, 2) the employer has established a pattern of failing to respond timely or adequately.

All states have met the requirement to enact or amend their unemployment laws by October 21, 2013, to be in conformity with the federal law. Since then, state UI agencies have begun to develop administrative regulations, policies, or guidance, and other “messaging” campaigns for employers, to help them comply in providing timely and complete information to unemployment claims.

The following states have posted UI Integrity guidance on the websites:

We will keep you apprised as more states develop policies and guidance on the subject of UI Integrity.

State Updates

Florida: Because of severe storms and flooding from April 28, 2014 and May 6, 2014, Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) may be available to persons whose unemployment is related to these disasters. A federal disaster declaration was made May 6, 2014, for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, and on May 12, 2014, Okaloosa and Walton counties were included.

DUA benefits are available to affected workers who do not first qualify for unemployment benefits under Florida’s regular reemployment assistance program. To be eligible for either regular state unemployment benefits or federal DUA, the applicant must be a legal resident. DUA is a federally funded program, so employers are not liable for any DUA payments made.

Florida’s unemployment laws contain provisions non-charging an employer’s account for any benefits paid under the regular unemployment program, when the separation is a direct result of a natural disaster. Federal regulations provide that the unemployment of an individual is caused by a disaster if the individual: (1) becomes unemployed as a direct result of the disaster, i.e. the individual was prevented from working due to damage caused by the disaster at the place of employment; or (2) is unable to reach the place of employment as a direct result of the disaster; or (3) was scheduled to begin work and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the disaster; or (4) has become the major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of the disaster; or (5) cannot work because of an injury caused directly by the disaster.

Individuals must file for DUA no later than June 9, 2014 for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, and June 12, 2014 for Okaloosa and Walton counties. To file a DUA claim, persons may call 800-681-8102, Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. EDT. DUA benefits are available for up to 26 weeks from the date of the disaster declaration. This disaster assistance period runs from May 4, 2014 through November 8, 2014.

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity has posted this information at: http://www.floridajobs.org/news-center/news-feed/2014/05/09/disaster-unemployment-assistance-available-to-escambia-and-santa-rosa-counties

Maryland: As of April 10, 2014, the unemployment agency began issuing a new form, DLLR-DUI 330S, Request for Employee’s Weekly Earnings. The purpose of this form is to help to agency detect improper UI payments and possible benefit fraud. It carries a due date of 8 calendar days from the mailing date, as well as a $15 penalty for failure to respond or failure to respond timely. Therefore, it is important for employers to answer requests for information from your ADP Unemployment Group representative expeditiously.

Michigan: Each year, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) holds free seminars around the state so employers may learn more about the unemployment program. These educational sessions are conducted by the Office of Employer Ombudsman and area subject matter experts. Beginning May 21, 2014, ten seminars will be held on topics such as: How Benefits are Charged to Employers, How an Employer’s Tax Rate is Calculated, The Appeals Process, Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM) and many more. For a list complete of the cities and dates, and to register for a seminar, click on the following link or copy and paste it into your browser: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/uia/Web_update_2014_EMPLOYER_SEMINARS_453281_7.pdf?201404251122266. Questions about the seminars may be directed to the Office of Employer Ombudsman at 313-456-2300 or OEO@michigan.gov.

South Dakota: On March 14, 2014, Senate Bill 69 was signed into law by Governor Dennis Daugaard. Effective 7/1/2014, section 61-6-9.1 of the unemployment laws regarding “good cause voluntary quits” will be amended to say an employee who is a corporate officer that exercises substantial control in decisions to take or not take action on behalf of the corporation, will not be precluded from qualifying for benefits if he or she has no other alternative than to leave employment with that corporation, or quits for any of the existing “good cause” reasons: (1) continued employment presents a hazard to the employee's health; (2) the employee is required to relocate in order to keep his or her job; (3) the employer's conduct demonstrates a substantial disregard of the standards of behavior an employee has a right to expect or the employer has breached or substantially altered the employment contract; (4) the individual accepted employment while on layoff and subsequently quit to return to his or her regular employer; (5) the employee's religious belief mandates the leaving (not applicable if the employer offered reasonable accommodations); or (6) voluntarily quits in order to protect himself or herself from domestic abuse.

Wyoming: Effective 7/1/2104, the definition of “misconduct connected with the work” will be codified to mean an act of an employee which indicates an intentional disregard of the employer’s interests or the commonly accepted duties, obligations and responsibilities of that employee. According to Enrolled Act No. 38, provisions in Section 27-3-102 of the unemployment law will also be amended to say misconduct connected with the work does not include: 1) isolated instances of ordinary negligence; 2) good faith errors in judgment or discretion; 3) inefficiency or performance failures due to inability or incapacity.

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