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Michigan Unemployment QuestionsAs the owner of a corporation, am I liable under the Michigan Employment Security (MES) Act?
Yes. You are an employee of the corporation and assuming all other requirements are met, the corporation is liable.
What is the tax rate and tax base for new employers in Michigan?
The tax rate for all new employers except certain construction companies involved in large projects is 2.7%. That rate is paid on the first $9,000 of wages during the calendar year for each employee.
If I have a positive balance in my reserve account, can that money be refunded to me?
No. The unemployment taxes paid are like automobile insurance premiums. They are used to protect your employees against them becoming unemployed through no fault of their own. Likewise, if an employer terminates his/her business with a negative balance in the reserve account, he/she is not billed for the balance.
How is an employer's tax rate determined?
There are three separate components that determine a fully experienced employer's tax rate. (A fully experienced employer is an employer who is in his/her fifth year or more of business.)
- The Chargeable Benefit Component (CBC) is made up of the total unemployment charges against the employer for the most recent 5 years.
- The Account Building Component (ABC) is a reserve account for possible payment of future benefits. The amount required in this component is based on the payroll for the most recent year.
- The Non-Chargeable Benefits Component (NBC) is used to pay benefits that cannot be charged to a specific employer's account.
Why can a fired worker still collect unemployment benefits?
A worker is disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if he or she is fired for misconduct in connection with the work. If a worker is fired for incompetence or inability, rather than for willful misconduct, the worker will not be denied unemployment benefits.
Even if a worker is fired for misconduct and disqualified from drawing unemployment benefits, he or she may requalify for benefits by going back to work and earning a certain required amount. The worker will then be able to collect benefits, but the UIA account of the employer involved in the firing will not be charged for the benefits.
How do special payments (such as holiday and vacation pay) affect a worker's entitlement to UI benefits and are the payments taxable to the employer for UI tax purposes?
If vacation pay and holiday pay vest within 14 days of the vacation or holiday, and if such pay is allocated by the employer to a specific week or weeks, it will be used for credit week and average weekly wage purposes for that week or those weeks, and will be taxable to the employer. It will also be used to reduce the worker's unemployment benefits for that week or those weeks. However, the employer cannot assign the payments to particular weeks if the employment contract prevents the employer from doing so.
Severance pay and wage continuation pay are taxable to the employer but will not be used as base period wages to establish a claim. Severance pay will reduce a worker's entitlement to unemployment benefits during the week(s) designated by the employer or during the week(s) paid if not allocated to a specific period by the employer.
Sick pay paid due to actual illness, and paid under an employer plan, will not be taxable to the employer, and will not be counted as part of a worker's average weekly wage nor used to establish a credit week.
Can a temporary or probationary employee receive unemployment benefits?
Wages paid to a temporary or probationary employee can be used to establish a claim for unemployment benefits. To set up a claim for unemployment benefits, a worker generally needs to be paid sufficient wages in the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. The first four of the last five completed calendar quarters is called the Standard Base Period. During the base period, the person must have been paid wages in more than one quarter. In addition, the person needs to have high quarter wages of at least:
- $1,998 for benefit years beginning prior to 4/1/2007
- $2,697 for benefit years beginning 4/1/2007 through 1/5/2008
- $2,774 bor benefit years beginning 1/6/2008 through 1/3/2009
- $2,871 for benefit years beginning on or after 1/4/2009
The applicant's total base period wages must equal at least 1.5 times the high quarter wages. If the employee was not paid enough wages in the Standard Base period, wages can be used from the Alternate Base Period, which is the last four completed calendar quarters.
If a business employs a temporary or probationary employee during the base period and the worker is paid sufficient wages by one or more other employers, the worker could set up a claim for unemployment benefits and the employer who provided the temporary or probationary work could be one of the chargeable employers on that claim.
Do I need a UIA tax clearance when purchasing an existing business?
If you purchase or acquire an existing business that is liable for unemployment taxes, the purchaser can be liable for tax debts incurred by the previous owner. The seller should request the tax clearance prior to the sale. The seller should contact Collections to obtain this.
Registering for Work: After the claim is filed, you must register for work by filing a resume application at the Michigan Works! Agency (MWA) service center. To locate the nearest MWA center, go to www.michiganworks.org. You can also file your resume online, but you must still report in person to an MWA center to have your registration for work verified. MWA then notifies UIA that you have registered for work.