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1 Overview of Unemployment Insurance Neil Gorrell Deputy Director Unemployment Insurance Division April 6, 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Overview of Unemployment Insurance Neil Gorrell Deputy Director Unemployment Insurance Division April 6, 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Overview of Unemployment Insurance Neil Gorrell Deputy Director Unemployment Insurance Division April 6, 2011

2 2  Introduction  Employment Security overview  Unemployment benefits  Unemployment taxes Today’s presentation

3 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 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 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 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 7 $9.9 billion paid since July 2008* 54% state funds, 46% federal *As of February 28, 2011

8 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

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21 21 Questions?

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