Effectively managing unemployment claims can be helpful in protecting the tax rate set by the State Unemployment Tax Act (SUTA), and in turn, protecting company costs from sharp increases.
Unemployment compensation is granted when an individual loses his or her job due to no fault of their own.
Each unemployment claim directly affects a company's SUTA tax rate, so it is in an employer's best interest to pay close attention to every claim they receive.
Every time an unemployment claim is received, a response is legally required within the given time frame. Here are some qualifications for who actually is eligible to receive unemployment benefits and the documentation employers should provide when responding to claims.
Employees will typically receive unemployment if their work hours have been restricted or reduced through no fault of their own, or if they have lost work through a layoff or reduction in force.
The following reasons would generally not qualify an employee for benefits:
- Voluntary resignation
- Willful misconduct
- Intentional violation of company policy
- Failure to follow instructions
- Excessive absenteeism or tardiness (except those that can be excused by a disability or medical condition)
- Failing to meet normal standards of behavior
If an employee is forced to resign or given the choice between termination or resignation, the state will generally view this as an involuntary termination of employment and award benefits to the claimant.
To prove willful misconduct, documentation will be required. It is important to have written evidence of the facts and events leading up to the separation. Documentation of verbal and written warnings are sometimes the most important evidence.
Other useful documentation includes resignation letters, attendance records, witness statements, email correspondence, signed acknowledgment forms for handbooks or procedural documents, performance reviews, and performance improvement plans.
Nextep handles the entire unemployment claim process for our clients, including responding to claims, attending unemployment hearings, gathering documentation, and providing best practices and advisement that will help mitigate issues in the first place. For assistance in effectively responding to and managing unemployment claims at your company, please contact Nextep's HR team.