PASBO – Triple Play Unemployment Compensation Issues and Updates By Geoffrey D. Moomaw, President Interstate Tax Service, Inc. (ITS) What’s New for 2015 • Timely and adequate response to UCSC Failure could result it no credits being issued to your account • Using retirees to fill vacancies is OK • Section 402(k) – separated in order to perseve entitlement to pension Quit in lieu of possible discharge • Fishel vs. UCBR – Recommendation – Explain how the process will work – Employee has two options – resign or go through termination process • Managers/supervisors must be aware that they do NOT have the authority to fire someone. Strategies • What else can be done in lieu of simply furloughing an employee to reduce payroll costs? – Outsourcing • Pros – – Reductions of PSERS payments » other associated payroll taxes » health care costs NO UC exposure after two years. Strategies – Outsourcing • Cons – UC exposure for the first two years – Assume those outsourced will collect 26 weeks of UC for budget purposes for the next 2 fiscal years – Lack of control over hiring firing • Is the department unionized? – Yes – consult with legal counsel » Unfair labor practice? – No – legal counsel still advisable Strategies Reduction in hours/days of work • If an employee’s normal work week is 5 days and they are reduced to 4 days a week, the general rule indicates that they will not be entitled to UC benefits. This option could be available for administrative/clerical positions. • Salaried employee paid over 12 months – reduce their salary Example - $18/hr rate of pay & works 40 hours in a week. • Work week reduced one day $406 +$122 $528 -$576 -$48 WBR Partial Benefit Credit (30% of WBR) Combined Total Less wages by working 32 hours @ $18 Zero paid in UC Why is he/she collecting? • Subs • Coach/supplemental contract • He/she quit 6 months ago • What is your example/question? Hot Topics • RA letters should be provided to all employees who do not work during the summer or receive no pay over the summer • RA letters aren’t necessary for holiday breaks Permanent/One Time RA Letter Notice of Reasonable Assurance of Continued Employment To:_______________________ From: <enter whoever is appropriate> Date: ____ According to policy of the <enter educational institution’s name>, “employees will continue to be employed from year to year unless notified to the contrary.” Therefore, please be advised that you can be reasonably assured that your position will be available to you for the remainder of the current school year. Furthermore, you can be reasonably assured that your position will be available to you after all holiday breaks occurring during the current school year. If you do not receive notice that your position/employment will be terminated or modified, then you may be reasonably assured that the <enter educational institution’s name> intends to retain your services in the same capacity for the following school years and after all holiday breaks contained therein. Please note that this notice is not a contract of employment, but is issued for the purpose of meeting the provisions of the PA Unemployment Compensation Law and its related regulations. Acknowledgment: (Signature, Printed Name and Date) My signature above indicates ONLY that I have received and read the above statement. Hearing Process • Last chance to provide evidence/testimony • Hearings are recorded - audio • Testimony must be from first hand witness – No notarized statements!! • Formal/Informal Willful Misconduct Hearings • The EMPLOYER bears the burden of proof. • Try to limit the reason for discharge to a specific issue rather than taking a “shotgun” approach. • You must present your case with first hand witnesses to the incident that resulted in the claimant’s discharge. • Written statements will be considered hearsay. • Where necessary, present evidence of progressive discipline – prior warnings are generally considered matters of record and need not be proved to the referee by way of first hand testimony. • Where necessary, present policy in question and any acknowledgement that claimant was made aware of said policy. • Take only the witnesses you need to the hearing – referees appreciate concise presentations. This will enhance your credibility with the referee over time. Voluntary Separation Hearings • The CLAIMANT bears the burden of proof. • Both resignations and leaves of absence are considered voluntary separations. • The claimant must show that they exhausted all alternatives to leaving their position prior to severing the employment relationship. • The employer must show that the claimant did not exhaust all alternatives to severing the employment relationship and that continuing work remained available to the claimant as of the last day of work. • Examples of qualifying voluntary separations include health considerations, sexual harassment, hostile work environment and a spouse’s mandatory transfer to a distant work location requiring a family to move. Questions & Answers What are your gripes about the UC system?