FileUnemployment

The Real Cost of Unemployment Claims to Companies

Employers are financially responsible for the unemployment benefits paid to the unemployed.  That is, each state taxes its employers for the unemployment benefits it gives out.  Not for profit entities often pay on a per claim basis:  they pay a tax which equals what claimants receives at the time they receive it. For profit, businesses pay through a payroll tax. Significantly, this tax varies from year to year, depending mostly on the experience an employer has with former employees collecting unemployment benefits.

Many employers figure that unemployment taxes are just a cost of doing business. They don’t realize that many of their former employees are likely ineligible for unemployment benefits. They don’t realize that they can fight many claims and keep their unemployment taxes low by denying unemployment benefits to people who should be judged ineligible for them.  Meanwhile, the cost of these claims causes the employers tax rates to rise.

The Costs of Unemployment Claims: Increased Tax Rates

Awarded unemployment claims cause a company’s unemployment tax rate to rise in future years.

Your company’s unemployment tax rate, therefore, is experience rated:  it goes up or down over time depending on your company’s history with awarded unemployment claims.

In Illinois, for example, rates vary between 1.0% and 8.2%.  The first $12,000 of each employee’s wages will be taxed in 2008. So, a million dollar taxable payroll can have unemployment taxes between $10,000 and $82,000. Obviously, lower tax rates make a difference to your bottom line.

Many companies have very high rates, and even companies with lower rates could pay less unemployment taxes if fewer employees collected benefits that were chargeable to the company.

The actual cost of a claim may vary, since claimants may collect just 2 weeks or 26.  The average claim costs an employer $4200 but claims can cost a company in excess of $10,000.

Each claim can affect 3 years of unemployment tax rates since state formulas used to assign rates ordinarily use a 3 year moving period to assign a tax rate. This is one reason why employers don’t realize the expense involved in a single claim. The expense is spread over a three or four year period.

Smaller employers are hit harder by single claims than larger ones, though the different impact of a claim on a tax rate does not change the actual cost to the employer significantly. The average cost, big firm or small, of an unemployment claim is 4200.

Employers can contest the cost of these claims by fighting unwarranted applications for benefits.  Employees terminated for misconduct or employees who quit for reasons not attributable to the employer are legally not entitled to unemployment benefits.

Is it Fair for a Business to Deny Unemployment Claims?

The unemployment system basically exists to award benefits to the unemployed but it only wants to give money to people who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If someone is at fault for being unemployed, they should be denied. People are at fault if they have committed misconduct at work or have quit by their own choice.

When people collect benefits after they have been fired for misconduct or quit for personal reasons not attributable to the company, they cost their employer lots of money. It is a fair guess to say that each awarded unemployment claim costs the former employer more than $5,000. That is, the charges for their claims raise an employer’s unemployment taxes unnecessarily.

How much are the Employer Taxes?

Taxable employers pay a certain percentage on the taxable earnings of their employees. Most states tax the first ten or fifteen thousand dollars of earnings. Tax rates often vary between one percent and ten percent. Tax rates are established by a formula that calculates total unemployment charges and compares that to the size of a company’s taxable payroll over a three year period to give a tax rate.

How can a Company Get a Lower Rate?

If a company has a million dollar taxable payroll, a one percent difference in unemployment taxes means a savings of ten thousand dollars. It is in a company’s financial interest to get the lowest rate possible.

In simple English, if a company has fewer unemployment charges, the lower the tax rate. The employer can even get lower charges by fighting unwarranted claims.

If employers do not fight unemployment claims, they are meekly acquiescing to their costs. This permits claimants who behaved badly at work to collect a reward for their bad behavior and it insures that the employer pays an unreasonable tax expense.

If a company fights claims where former employees were fired for misconduct or quit, the company likely will get a lower rate. Often, a company is more successful if it uses a third party claims administrator to do this work. Third party administrators often charge very low fees.

 

This is a guest post written by David Prosnitz of “Personnel Planners”. His company provides unemployment cost control services to employers. When the claim comes, they write protest letters, make appeals to unemployment hearings, represent at these unemployment hearings, appeal those decisions when they seem reversible and audit the quarterly unemployment charges a company may get for awarded unemployment claims. You can get more information on their website: www.unemploymentclaims.com where there is free information and training on how to make a defensible employee termination.

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  1. I am in a unique situation. I would like to know if even though I work for a church that does not pay into unemployment, I have only been here a year and my job previous did pay into unemployment. Would I be eligible for unemployment benefits if I were laid off? This is in the state of Nevada. If so, how long do I have before that is NOT the case? In other words, I know that benefits usually go back 18 months. Would it be the same in this case?

    1. Leslee,

      As much as I am aware, church employees do not qualify to receive UI benefits. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  2. The unemployment office in Nevada doesn’t answer the phone. They have a recording that says they only take new claims on Monday, and Tuesday, from 8am to 4pm. But if you call at 8am, they tell you that the “Que is already full for the day.” How can that be possible if they don’t start accepting calls until 8am? No wonder unemployment in the United States is DOWN! They don’t accept phone calls after they tell you online that you “have to call to confirm your information” and then they don’t take the calls.

  3. I have called as soon as they open and they just say please call on the next business day I DID and you still didn’t answer

  4. Could you please provide a reference for the following statement in your article – please see below. Thanks.
    “You may also be qualified for unemployment benefits if:
    …You entered Commission-Approved Training and the job is not considered suitable under Section 20 relating to your availability for work, active search for work or refusal to accept suitable work”.

  5. If I exhausted all my benefits last year 2019 and my new benefit year starts back up in Jan. 2020 can I reapply? I still should have money in other quarters from my previous job.

    1. Yvette,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  6. Can i receive unemployment if my car broke down and i couldnt work cause i work outta my car and i couldnt afford to get it fixed so i ended up not working there anymore cause the car situation

    1. Willie,

      I can understand your situation. However, I am not sure if you can claim for voluntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

      1. Hello,

        I have been unemployed since this past July. My regular unemployment benefits are running out. Can I apply for Emergency Unemployment Benefits after this claim expires? What can I do?

        Thank you,D. ANDERSON

  7. I filed my first bi-weekly claim today but it only took my first week. Are there only certain weeks I can file 2 weeks worth of unemployment?

    1. How strict are they on the school program being less than 2 years for CTB training extension? I have an interview next week for a Training Extension. I started school this week, I am set to finish just a few months over the 2 year mark. Finishing in May 2022.

  8. What if it’s an employer that is threatening over it being personal home life and nothing to do with work or the work place??

    1. Kelly,

      You can be eligible to claim if you resign due to hostile working conditions. Please make sure to check with the Unemployment Office before making a decision.

        1. Paula,

          A copy should be available on the department’s website. You will be able to download after logging in.

  9. I finally start new job on Monday. My work hours are 6;30-6:30pm.
    How can I file my last two weeks if I’m working

    Can I. Call Tuesday? What number?

      1. Hello, I live in the state of Pennsylvania, for reference. I was told on 1/9/2020 I am being let go because of financial issues my employer and office is having. With that, my employer said I can work for the next two weeks to give me time to find another job and if circumstances change they will call me back to work. My question is, Where do I go to figure out my quarter dollar amount earnings for my highest 4 out of 5 quarters. I’ve been with this employer for 7 months, started June 2019. Before that I was unemployed for 5 months and before that I was employed for years up until Feb 2019.

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