3 Unemployment benefits Filing a claim Initial claims filed: By phone or Internet By mail for Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) and Extended Benefit (EB) claims Approved claimants file every week to continue receiving benefits. Decisions can be appealed.
4 Unemployment benefits Benefit calculations Based on amount of money earned in past year. Weekly benefits Minimum: $135 per week Average: $367 per week Maximum: $570 per week Temporary Benefit Increase (EHB 1091) Adds $25 to benefit checks for claims effective on or after March 6, 2011 and before November 6, 2011.
5 Currently, three types of benefits 1.Regular benefits: up to 26 weeks 100% state-funded 2.Emergency unemployment compensation: up to an additional 53 weeks 100% federally funded 53 weeks, paid out in 4 tiers 3.Extended benefits: up to an additional 20 weeks Federally funded through 2011 Unemployment benefits
6 Cut Off Dates: December 31, 2011 Last date EUC claimants can exhaust their current tier of benefits to be eligible for the next tier December 24, 2011 Last date for UI claimants to exhaust regular benefits and establish Tier 1 EUC June 9, 2012 Final cutoff for EUC Payments Unemployment benefits
7 $9.9 billion paid since July 2008* 54% state funds, 46% federal *As of February 28, 2011
8 Benefit Eligibility Initial eligibility A claimant must: Have worked at least 680 hours in ‘base year.’ Be unemployed through no fault of his/her own. Be able to work. Be available to immediately accept suitable work. Be actively seeking work.
9 Benefit Eligibility Maintaining eligibility A claimant must: Make at least three documented job searches each week, or Participate in WorkSource job-search activities such as résumé writing and interviewing skills. Immediately accept a suitable job offer.
10 Benefit Eligibility Suitable Work Determined on a case-by-case basis. Claimants are only obligated to accept work that is in-line with their training and experience. Claimants do not have to accept work that: Is unreasonably dangerous; Offends the claimant’s religious beliefs or moral conscience; That the claimant cannot physically do; and Others.
11 Benefit Eligibility “Voluntary Quits” There are only 12 limited circumstances that allow employees to voluntarily quit their jobs and still receive UI benefits. 12 reasons are all set by the Legislature. Each case is investigated individually by qualified specialists who gather information from both the employer and the employee.
12 Voluntary Quits 1.A bona fide offer of work; 2.Illness or disability of the claimant or his or her family; 3.To relocate for the spouse's employment that is due to an employer-initiated mandatory transfer; 4.Domestic violence; 5.If the employer reduced the usual pay by 25 percent or more; 6.If the employer reduced the usual hours of work by 25 percent or more;
13 Voluntary Quits 7.If the employer changes the work site, increasing distance, etc.; 8.Deterioration of work site safety; 9.Illegal activities at the work site; 10.If the work changes and becomes work that violates religious convictions or sincere moral beliefs; 11.If the claimant quits to enter approved apprenticeship training; or 12.If the claimant works the full time and part time job simultaneously, and quits the part time job.
14 Discharge Discharging Employees Employers have the right to create standards in the workplace and hold employees to them. Employees may be discharged and still collect benefits. Benefits can only be denied when the employee committed work-related misconduct or gross misconduct.
15 Unemployment taxes “Reimbursable” employers Includes state government (state agencies), cities, counties, political sub-divisions and some non-profits. No taxes paid into trust fund. Benefits paid to laid-off workers are reimbursed dollar for dollar to the trust fund.
16 Misconduct To establish misconduct, an employer must show the employee had a willful or wanton disregard for the interests of the employer or co-workers such as: Dishonestly related to employment Repeated and inexcusable absences Gross Misconduct Conviction of a crime connected to the job Flagrant and wanton disregard of the interests of the employer or co-workers
17 Appeals Interested parties have a legal right to an appeal. Appeals are adjudicated by the Office of Administrative Hearings, a separate and independent state agency. An appeal letter must be in writing, signed by the party, and cannot be accepted over the phone or by e-mail. Specific regulations and standards for timeliness apply.
18 Settlement Agreements Settlement agreements cannot guarantee the granting or denial of benefits to an individual. The agency is statutorily required to make determinations on benefit claims based on laws and rules. Settlement agreements can be written so that parties agree “not to contest” the agency’s decision to grant or deny benefits.
19 Unemployment trust fund Healthy trust fund Washington has the healthiest trust fund in U.S. Dec. 31: $2.4 billion (14.3 mos. of benefits). 35 states went bankrupt during this recession and have borrowed money to pay benefits. More are expected to go bankrupt, with total borrowing of up to $65 billion.