Managing Unemployment Forms

“My business was closed for over 2 months due to the state stay-at-home orders. In the past few weeks, I have been bombarded with various unemployment claims and notices but the deadlines for responding have passed. What do I do with them?”

Your HR Survival Tip

You only had to hear the news of all the layoffs caused by the pandemic to know EDD (California’s Employment Development Department) was swamped with unemployment claims. They are slowly catching up but we’ve seen a lot of forms arriving in June but with March and April dates. So now it’s your turn to be swamped.

The way we like to handle them is to first sort them by employee so you can see if there are multiple documents or a progression in the documents for that employee. The most common are:

  • Notice of Unemployment Insurance Claim Filed — This is the first form you receive. It shows you an employee has filed a claim. The form includes the employee’s name and social security number, the effective date of the claim, the last day of work, and the reason the employee gave them for not working. If the information is correct, you can just file this in the employee’s personnel file. If the information has errors (or you want to fight their eligibility), you provide the correct information on the back of the form and return it to EDD. Normally you have 10 days from the “Mail Date” on the form but, right now, just return it as soon as possible. Once things have settled down, EDD will hold firm to that 10 days and you could lose your chance to fight the claim if your response is late.
  • New Employee Registry Benefit Audit — Receiving this form means they want to confirm the information they have on this employee. Questions 1-3 are easy to understand. Question 4 is asking for the most recent pay period start and end dates (this is the period worked) and the employee’s usual pay. Question 5 includes a chart where you must break down their earnings by week, include the hours paid each day and state what type of hours they were (regular, vacation, etc.). The form lists the weeks they are interested in so you only have to complete those lines. In most cases, the employee may not have worked at all during some or all of the weeks they list.
  • Notice of Unemployment Wages — This document informs you of how much your company’s unemployment reserve account will be charged for this employee. EDD looks at the employee’s earnings for each of the last four full quarters. This information is in the chart on the form. Below that they state the percentage of those earnings that came from your company. If it states your company’s percentage is 50%, your account will be charged for 50% of the employee’s weekly amount, up to 50% of the maximum benefit. You may request a ruling if you don’t agree with EDD’s calculation but you’ll need to submit that request at the bottom of the form and submit it prior to the request deadline at the top of the form.

California loves to provide unemployment and it’s easier to qualify than most people think. An employee is unlikely to receive unemployment if they resign, if they destroy property on their way out the door, or if they are insubordinate in front of others. Unfortunately, being bad at their job doesn’t prevent employees from getting unemployment.

Your unemployment reserve account is filled with money you paid in as part of your payroll taxes. Right now, everyone’s unemployment reserve account is taking a beating and you may see your unemployment tax rate increase a bit. Some of you may run it dry. If you have nothing left in your reserve account, you could receive a notice from EDD that allows you to voluntarily add money to your account. We haven’t yet heard a good reason to do this but it’s up to you. Your employees will still be able to receive unemployment, even if your reserve account is empty.

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