Although many employers are dealing with COVID-19 related unemployment claims, there are still general unemployment claims coming across many employers’ desks. Whether or not the reason for separation was due to employee misconduct or factors outside their control, an employer can challenge the claim, or accept it. Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that an employer’s state unemployment tax rate can be greatly impacted by the number of employees who successfully claim and collect unemployment insurance, and their tax rate could increase in future years. So, employers must be informed and prepared. Here are some employer best practices for employers when it comes to managing unemployment claims.
Managing Unemployment Claims Best Practices
Keep Detailed Records
It is always a good idea to document everything concerning employee relations. While layoffs may more likely be a result of the current economic state and not necessarily due to an employee’s performance, it is still important to keep accurate and detailed records of employee data, performance reviews, and workplace conduct. In the event a layoff is not due to measures outside of the employee’s control, such as misconduct, the quality of the documentation can be the deciding factor in whether the unemployment claim is won or lost.
When an employer receives an unemployment claim, there is always a date for when the employer needs to respond. If the employer doesn’t respond within the timeframe noted, it could result in an accepted claim for the employee—even if they are ineligible to receive unemployment benefits, and especially if the employee who filed was separated without cause.
Pay Attention to Probationary Period
Many states have certain probationary periods that will vary depending on the state. Probationary periods begin when an employee is informed of their misconduct and placed into a probationary period, and continue until the time when they are terminated. For employers operating in states that require probationary periods, unemployment benefits received by the employee are not charged to the employers’ unemployment account if the separation occurred after the probationary period and the employee was properly informed. Employers should have a policy in their employee handbook surrounding any probationary periods. They should also ensure all employees are familiar with this policy.
No matter the reason for any termination, managing unemployment claims can be a headache for business owners.
Partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) like QBS can take this responsibility off your plate. When utilizing PEO services, unemployment claims are managed by the PEO through the PEO’s unemployment account. QBS’s team of payroll and human resource professionals will have all the necessary documentation to accept or deny an unemployment claim, and our HR experts will assist you with recordkeeping, establishing policies around probationary periods, and how to manage employee relations before, during, and after a separation. Contact QBS to learn more about our services.