Employer Unemployment Claim Preparedness

employer unemployment claim preparedness

Unemployment (or “reemployment” as it’s know as in some states) claims are a fact of life in the United States. Even if you do everything right, there will be times when employees are laid off, fired, furloughed, or the organization requires a reduction in force (RIF). In these cases, employees may file for benefits (or the employer can file on behalf of employees in some states), and are encouraged by the government to do so shortly after their termination from employment. If you don’t respond quickly to these claims, you as the employer can lose money and run afoul of state unemployment compliance.

Tips To Eliminate The Unemployment Claim Headaches

The good news is that there are steps you can take to prepare for unemployment claims and to minimize the impact they have on your business. Here are a few tips:

  • Know your state’s unemployment laws. Each state has its own set of rules and regulations governing unemployment benefits. Research and understand these laws so that you can comply with them and avoid any penalties. Bookmark the important links for your state’s unemployment website, both for the employer and the employee.
  • Keep accurate employee records. This includes things like employee timesheets, performance reviews, and disciplinary records. Good records will help you to defend yourself against any claims that an employee may file, and you may be asked by the state to provide information directly when responding to claims or appealing decisions.
  • Document everything. When you have to terminate an employee, be sure to document the process thoroughly. This includes things like the reason for termination (ensure the reason codes in your HRIS are configured and used for all employee terminations), the employee’s performance record, and any warnings or disciplinary actions that were taken.
  • Be prompt in responding to claims. When an employee files for unemployment benefits, you’ll need to respond to the claim within a certain time frame. For example, in the state of Florida, you have only 14 days from the date of receipt of the snail mail claim to respond to a claim. Failure to respond could result in a default judgment against you, which means that you could be liable for some portion of unemployment payments.
  • Work with the state unemployment office. The state unemployment office can provide you with information and assistance about unemployment claims. They can also help you to resolve any disputes that may arise, including technical troubleshooting for the often bulky, roundabout websites where the employer must access the claims. Some of the states don’t actually have a responsive customer service apparatus for employers to get answers you need, just circular content on the website that doesn’t really provide much assistance. This is why it helps to be prepared ahead of time, and know exactly who you need to reach out to in the event of complications, such as, with login information to access your employer account.

By taking these steps, you can help to protect your business and yourself from the financial and legal risks associated with unemployment claims.

In addition to the above, here are some other things you can do to prepare for unemployment claims:

  • Set up a system for tracking employee attendance and performance. This will help you to identify potential problems early on and to take corrective action before they lead to a termination. Generally, this should all be configured in your HRIS, and if you use a separate system, time and attendance.
  • Provide employees with clear expectations and guidelines for their work. This will help to reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings and conflicts.
  • Create a culture of open communication and trust. This will make it easier for employees to come to you with problems before they escalate. This also makes the communication more smooth whenever you must terminate employees for anything other than misconduct. The key is for them to understand whether or not they are eligible to apply for state unemployment insurance disbursements. This may allow you to avoid having to contest claims later on.
  • Offer training and development opportunities to your employees. This will help them to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in their industry and to develop new skills that will make them more marketable. Companies generally conduct reductions in force and “right-sizing” initiatives when the company’s not doing to well, meaning, profitability is declining do to forces which include poor performance and inability to compete in the market for goods and services. That is your direct tie in from people operations (more specifically, employee L&D programs) to the success or failure of the organization.

By taking these steps, you can create a workplace that is less likely to experience unemployment claims.

Employer Links to All 50 States Unemployment/Reemployment Websites

As a courtesy, you can find the employer links to the sites below. These are usually called SIDES (State Information Data Exchange System). You may need to create the employer account if you’ve never had to process a claim before.

Note: The unified SIDES website is here.

  1. Alabama Employer Appeals | Benefits E-Response
  2. Alaska Benefits E-Response
  3. Arizona Benefits E-Response
  4. Arkansas
  5. California Benefits E-Response
  6. Colorado Benefits E-Response
  7. Connecticut Benefits E-Response
  8. Delaware Employer Services Portal
  9. District of Columbia Benefits E-Response
  10. Florida Reemployment Assistance
  11. Georgia Employer Portal
  12. Hawaii Benefits E-Response
  13. Idaho Benefits E-Response
  14. Illinois Unemployment Employer Resources
  15. Indiana Benefits E-Response
  16. Iowa Workforce Development – SIDES Instructions
  17. Kansas Dept of Labor Login
  18. Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance
  19. Louisiana Apply for Unemployment Employer Account
  20. Maine Benefits E-Response
  21. Maryland SIDES Information
  22. Massachusetts
  23. Michigan
  24. Minnesota
  25. Mississippi
  26. Missouri Benefits E-Response
  27. Montana Unemployment eServices
  28. Nebraska Login for Employer Services
  29. Nevada SIDES E-Response Registration
  30. New Hampshire Unemployment Insurance Login
  31. New Jersey
  32. New Mexico Benefits E-Response
  33. New York Unemployment Online Services for Employers
  34. North Carolina
  35. North Dakota
  36. Ohio
  37. Oklahoma
  38. Oregon
  39. Pennsylvania SIDES E-Response Information
  40. Rhode Island Benefits E-Response
  41. South Carolina Unemployment Employer Response
  42. South Dakota Reemployment Assistance
  43. Tennessee Layoffs & Unemployment Information
  44. Texas
  45. Utah Unemployment Insurance Reporting
  46. Vermont
  47. Virginia SIDES Registration
  48. Washington E-Services Login
  49. West Virginia SIDES Information
  50. Wisconsin Benefit E-Response
  51. Wyoming Unemployment Insurance Login for Employers

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