Common HR Challenges That Companies Face

Despite its ever-evolving nature, HR remains one of the most significant challenges for businesses. Ensuring an efficient HR operation requires intense resources, time, and money. However, a sufficient supply of these resources isn’t always enough to help businesses succeed at human resource management.

Affluent companies are lucky in this regard, as they have the ability to outsource their HR tasks to other reputable organizations. However, small businesses or those that are just starting out often can’t afford such luxuries.

The HR challenges facing small-to-medium-sized organizations are far different from the ones larger enterprises face. The first step in tackling these challenges is to be aware of them beforehand. Below are some common HR challenges facing small-to-medium-sized firms, as well as some practical solutions for these businesses to consider.

Managerial and Operational Changes

Change is pertinent to a business’s growth and success. As a business and its operations evolve, changes at the operational level should be fast and rigorous. These changes can bring about more profitability and efficient processes for the enterprise, they are often a hard pill to swallow for the staff.

For example, your employees might have a difficult time understanding and getting along with new software, or changes at the management level might seem demotivating and stressful to those working in a specific department. Challenges like these are often directed toward your HR department; any such changes would increase your HR team’s workload.

Solution

An effective way to institute a major change is to introduce the change to your staff ahead of time. Then, you can slowly integrate the change, rather than forcing it upon your employees all at once.

Make sure that the staff is clear on why you are introducing this change and how the change is beneficial to them. With this knowledge, they are more likely to accept the change, regardless of how massive it is.

Ensuring a Value-Adding Hiring Process

In today’s competitive business environment, it’s exceptionally difficult for businesses to find, hire, and retain top talent. This is one of the biggest challenges for HR professionals.

Businesses constantly evolve. You need employees who give their all despite the changes and reforms in a business’s working model. Hiring such people remains a challenge no matter how excellent your recruitment process is.

However, the challenge intensifies if your HR managers do not follow a hiring process. For a business trying to minimize challenges for its HR, sticking to an effective and consistent hiring method is the only resort.

Solution

Making sure your hiring process is consistent and fool-proof is the only way to guarantee that you’ll find top talent. Your HR department should begin working on the hiring process as soon as there is a vacancy. Choose platforms where the job posts reach only the best people.

Limiting those who apply for your position enables your HR department to put less effort into its screening process. Once the screening process is complete, your HR department should only interview the people who would fit perfectly in your position and culture.

Experts believe that HR departments can cut down on their resources easily when they only focus on the best people and only call those candidates for the interview who are the most ideal match for the overall organizational circle.

Unawareness of Regulations and Laws

Employment laws constantly change. It seems that every other month brings new extensions to existing laws. Busy with their businesses, owners and stakeholders often tend to ignore these laws and unintentionally end up breaching them. On the other hand, some owners believe they don’t have to follow every law to the letter.

This lack of responsibility is an enormous mishap for any HR department. Understanding these walls and tackling them with grace is the key to success

Solution

Regardless of your business’s size and the nature of its operations, make sure to stay aware of all regulations and the changes that these regulations undergo.

You need to understand local, state, tax, and labor laws that could inflict some change in your business and its operation. Also, make sure you know everything regarding national labor wages and the political rights of the workers.

Workforce Training and Management

Workforce and leadership development is often swept under the rug as businesses grow busier. Acquiring the resources and time needed to train and develop the workforce is a substantial task. Your laborers might be so busy that they don’t have time to learn anything at all. A failure to tackle such issues can lead to serious problems with your team members’ quality of work.

Solution

Try to come up with training and development programs that don’t take a lot of your time and resources. Also, never take up the responsibility of training the entire labor force on yourself. Rather, assign different training tasks to different heads and departments.

You can also divide your massive workforce into groups and arrange for their training at different times. If the workers aren’t interested in training, try to lure them with some incentives. Another great way to train your labor force without wasting a lot of your resources is to use a virtual training methodology.

Design courses that the people from your workforce can grasp and complete at their paces. Lastly, never forget to value and reward the workforce because they are the ones who contribute the most to your business.

Keep pushing the top management to take initiatives for the welfare of the workforce as it can be an excellent way to ensure loyalty and high working morale.

Managing Unemployment Claims

Another significant issue that HR departments have to contend with is unemployment claims management. Some companies receive hundreds of unemployment claims. It can be a massive undertaking to try and keep track of these claims, much less discern which ones are valid and which ones are not.

With Unemployment Tracker’s claims administration services, you can save up to thousands of dollars thanks to our advanced unemployment management software, expertise, and knowledge of UI laws and regulations.

Taking advantage of our services will free up your company’s time and human resources to work on tasks that are critical to your company’s success. If you are interested in our services, give us a call at (810) 201-4933 or email us at info@unemploymenttracker.com!

Why Your Business Should Outsource Unemployment Claims Management

If you own a business, outsourcing your unemployment claims management procedures can be a game-changer. For most employers with a sizeable workforce, handling unemployment insurance (UI) claims is exceptionally challenging, even for companies with a team of employees devoted exclusively to managing UI paperwork.

When dealing with UI claims procedures, companies have to contend with a myriad of multifaceted and ever-changing compliance regulations along with rising operating costs. In addition, businesses typically lack an adequate understanding of the direct links connecting their UI tax levels with the number of their UI claims.

Whether a business is large or small, the intricacies of administering UI are not easy to grasp, particularly for employers running multi-state operations.

Knowledge of Unemployment Laws and Requirements Is Hard to Maintain

Managing growing unemployment expenses is a serious and essential task in today’s complex and ever-changing economic environment, no matter how lengthy and mind-numbing the process may be.

Very few employers are acquainted with the ins and outs of unemployment laws and conditions, and most lack the time and resources to defend themselves and contest claims effectively. For these reasons, handling UI claims can be extremely taxing and expensive.

A single claim can result in a business paying massive taxes due to an increased tax rate. Over and above the already high expense of unemployment claims, many employers inadvertently pay more for unemployment insurance costs than is necessary.

However, while business owners cannot control an employee’s decision to file a UI claim, they can decrease the threat of illegitimate claims being imposed on them by taking advantage of outsourced unemployment claims management.

The following are some of the many ways in which outsourced unemployment claims management can benefit businesses large and small.

Cost Reduction Is a Major Advantage

Dealing with unemployment claims can be a drawn-out and expensive course of action that consumes much of a company’s precious revenue.

To facilitate a cost-efficient system for handling unemployment compliance, you need to establish and develop a set of controls to administer and check the system, train team members in issues related to unemployment claims, and organize the whole process.

To this end, outsourcing your unemployment claims management work can help to reduce the costs of taking on more managerial staff and ultimately lead to greater efficiency for your business.

When you outsource your company’s unemployment claims administration procedures you’ll save money both on administrative costs and your ex-employees’ claims as well. Outsourcing your unemployment benefits processing is much less costly than paying an internal staff member to do it.

Suppose you’ve been using an internal employee to process your unemployment claims or have been dealing with them yourself. In that case, you’ll gain precious company time that you can spend on more essential duties, namely, those involved directly with your core business operations.

You’ll also receive help with auditing claims and determining which are warranted and which are not, thus allowing you only to pay what you owe on genuine claims. This will, in turn, save you funds that you can use in other areas of your business.

Top-Quality UI Expertise Is Critical to Your Success

One of the most significant difficulties when dealing with UI claims is that each state in the US has a unique set of regulations and guidelines pertaining to UI. When combined with the constantly changing state of UI compliance conditions, employers face a significant challenge.

Among the many advantages of outsourcing unemployment claims management is that businesses get the chance to operate with a group of experts who possess many years of UI management know-how, are familiar with countrywide UI laws and regulations, and understand how to conduct hearings in all 50 states.

In addition, they can keep your company up to date with the latest regulations and revise your systems to ensure compliance and prevent the risk of fines or legal problems. The outsourced UI team can also counsel you on the current tax rates and the best strategies for your state.

Identifying Procedural Errors Through Auditing

Many companies struggle to keep pace with continuing unemployment claims and frequently lack sufficient time or staff to review claims history. Doing so can lead to missed opportunities since state governments may commit errors in their computations, employers may overpay claims, or the government may charge companies the wrong tax rate.

Most employers lack the know-how, internal structures, or funds necessary to audit their taxes and government charges. However, outsourcing UI enables employers to notice errors and cases where they overpaid through systematic auditing procedures.

Additionally, outsourcing assists companies by creating new control methods to keep such slip-ups from happening again in the future.

Technology Improves the Speed and Accuracy of the Claims-handling Process

Using advanced technology through outsourcing can transform claims processing, enhance company productivity, and improve overall conditions in the workplace. Using outsourced unemployment claims management gives companies access to advanced systems explicitly created to administer UI claims to help manage the whole process.

Computerized unemployment claims-management procedures (1) permit employers to assemble and administer claim information from diverse sources; (2) designate tasks and check performance in all phases of the process; and (3) facilitate quick data retrieval while at the same time enhancing speed and accuracy.

Moreover, they preserve data security and privacy, thus adhering to federal and state confidentiality and retention rules.

A Proactive Way to Handle Unemployment Insurance Claims Is Essential

No matter what size or type your business may be, the processing of unemployment claims may be a daunting task. Just one employee making a claim can cost you a great deal of money, mainly when considering overpayments. On the other hand, outsourced unemployment claims management can save you both revenue and time.

Having the needed skills and resources, you can process UI claims in the least costly and most proficient way possible. You can direct and supervise your claims, appeal adverse decisions, get ready for unemployment hearings, review charges, and produce reports in whatever manner and as often as you choose.

In this way, you can control your unemployment expenditures in a trouble-free, cost-effective, and resourceful fashion and, in turn, improve your company’s productivity and bottom line.

Unemployment Claims Management Services from Unemployment Tracker

With Unemployment Tracker’s claims administration services, you can save up to thousands of dollars thanks to our advanced unemployment management software, expertise, and knowledge of UI laws and regulations.

Taking advantage of our services will free up your company’s time and human resources to work on tasks that are critical to your company’s success. If you are interested in our services, give us a call at (810) 201-4933 or email us at info@unemploymenttracker.com!

How to Lay Off Employees Legally

During the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment soared to 14.7% at its peak in April of 2020, and in the 15 weeks from mid-March to the end of June, another 49 million people filed for unemployment in the United States. When you come face to face with a layoff, here’s how you should proceed in order to be on firm legal and emotional footing.

Consider the Alternatives

Before you commit to laying off some or all of your employees, you need to consider whether it is actually the best decision for your business. There are alternatives to layoffs that are less extreme and could have the same desired effect: getting your business back on the right track.

Alternatives to laying off employees include the following.

  • Reducing employee hours
  • Eliminating overtime pay
  • Declaring a moratorium on raises or bonuses
  • Implementing a furlough

These alternatives could provide you with the boost you need without having to completely let go of your employees. There are also assistance programs designed to help businesses in need.

It’s important to be aware that going through with a layoff, while it may be the right thing to do, can have an adverse effect on your customers, remaining staff, investors, and even your reputation. You should consider these things before making a final decision.

Create a Concrete Layoff Plan

If you decide that going through with the layoff is the best thing for your business, you need to make sure you have thought through all the important details. Announcing the layoff to your employees before you have a concrete plan in place could cause problems and panic amongst your staff members.

Keep in mind that layoffs can be temporary. Temporary layoffs are yet another alternative to a permanent layoff. You should decide whether or not the layoff is permanent before announcing it to the company.

Of course, you also need to determine how many employees you are letting go of. Do you have enough resources to hold onto a few key employees, or do you need to lay off every employee? Once you have made this decision, you need to deliver the news to your employees in a compassionate and sympathetic manner.

You should also consider the following details before going through with the layoff.

  • Do you plan on offering any kind of financial support to your laid-off employees? If so, what will be the extent of this support?
  • When will the layoff begin?
  • If the layoff is temporary, how long will it last?

We would advise that you lay off everybody you need to in the first go-around. Going through with a second layoff can be a significant hassle.

WARN Compliance

There are legal complications associated with layoffs too. You need to understand that you are significantly affecting people’s lives, and you need to be within specific legal parameters to go through with the layoff.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Act was passed in 1988 to provide laid-off employees with adequate time to seek other jobs or make a career transition.

For one, if you have at least 100 workers in your company, you need to deliver a written notice of the layoff at least 60 days prior to the event. If your business has less than 100 employees, the WARN Act does not apply to you.

In addition, there are other exceptions to the WARN Act. Employees who have not worked for at least six months of the past twelve are exempt from the WARN Act, as well as employees who work fewer than 20 hours per week.

If a layoff is caused by a natural disaster or some other unforeseen circumstance, it is also excluded from the terms of the WARN Act. If a temporary facility is being shut down, or workers were hired on the basis of completing a single project, these circumstances do not constitute layoffs either.

Deliver the News to Employees

Now it’s time for the hard part. The more information you can provide to your employees, the smoother the process will be. Once again, it is important to be compassionate and sympathetic. Some or all of your employees may not react well to the news, and you will likely encounter lots of disappointment, sadness, and anger.

It is important to allow people to voice their concerns and show their emotions, but you should also make sure that things do not get out of hand. Keep a calm and collected manner during the entire process, as this will set a good example for your staff.

It may help to assure your employees that the layoff has nothing to do with their performance or character and it is outside of everyone’s control. You may want to provide letters of recommendation to some or all of your employees, as well. Most importantly, make sure to provide written notices of the layoff describing the details of the situation.

Manage Your Unemployment Claims with Help from Unemployment Tracker

Layoffs can be a very stressful, unhappy time period for everyone involved, so if you can be as supportive and considerate as possible during the process, it will most likely go more smoothly. Needless to say, once the layoff is complete, your claim volume will go up.

Managing all of these unemployment claims can be serious business, especially if you run a large-sized company. Unemployment Tracker’s unemployment claims management services can help make the process more manageable. Contact us today!

7 Employee Retention Strategies to Help Reduce Turnover

Any company that has a high employee turnover rate will undoubtedly have to spend more time and money to attract high-quality candidates to work for it. A report prepared in 2017 by the Work Institute declared that every time a skilled worker leaves a company, it will cost it somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000 to replace that person.

If you were to lose several employees in a short period of time, you can multiply that figure by the number of employees lost, and you will see that it can be a very significant expense. On the other hand, if you were to take steps to retain your best employees, you could save a considerable amount of money, and your bottom line would be much healthier.

Here are some effective strategies you can implement right away that won’t cost your business an arm and a leg and will almost undoubtedly improve your team member retention rates.

Hire appropriate individuals

One good way to avoid a high turnover rate is to hire the right individuals in the first place. In exit interviews, employees often declare that they would have stayed longer if they’d had a better idea about what their role in the company was expected to be. Make sure that you accurately describe the requirements for any open position you have and be clear about what you expect from each individual employee.

Don’t leave out any of the important details about a position just because you’re trying to quickly fill an opening. You may find yourself back at square one very quickly. Finding the right fit for any employee in an open position involves being as transparent as possible about what the job entails, as well as what skills are necessary to do the job effectively.

Recommended Read: How Pandemic Unemployment Is Impacting Business Owners

Prepare a good onboarding process

You can start a new employee off on the right foot by providing a really solid onboarding process. After explaining a new hire’s role and responsibilities, you should also inform them about your company’s culture, mission, vision, and how the employee will fit into those overall objectives and goals.

Make sure your expectations are clear about their performance and try to provide an accurate picture of what the first few months of their employment will be like. Ensure that they have access to appropriate personnel whenever they have any questions or issues that need to be addressed. This is a good way to prevent a new employee from being overwhelmed by the details of an entirely new position.

Offer useful training

In order for any employee to be successful on the job, they will need to possess the knowledge and skills required by the position. It may be necessary for you to provide a combination of online training, classroom training, and hands-on opportunities in order to clearly convey what company policies and procedures are.

When an employee can be better informed about what’s expected of them and is equipped with the appropriate tools to succeed, they will have a better chance of making a good contribution to the company. Continue any training until a new employee demonstrates that they have mastered the skills necessary to perform their new duties. Then, provide opportunities for professional development so that employees can continue to learn and grow.

Provide appropriate compensation

One of the primary reasons why employees leave a company is that they don’t feel they’re being compensated fairly or because a competitor is offering a significantly better salary. Of course, it’s not just money that keeps an employee in place. Healthcare and insurance can be major factors as well, and all of that falls under the compensation package.

Whatever you offer in the way of compensation to your employees, it should at least be in line with what other companies in your field are providing. If your pay scale is below that of other organizations in the area, you should either improve your pay scale or find other ways of compensating an employee to make up the difference.

Monitor manager performance

If you’ve ever talked to a disgruntled employee and asked the reason that they left a company, one of the recurring stories you’ll hear is that they couldn’t get along with a particular manager. If you have a bad manager in place in your company, that individual can be a source of employee turnover, just like a really good manager can provide positive appeal for your company.

Don’t assume that your managers are all carrying out their responsibilities in the most effective way, and be especially careful about managers whose personalities are sometimes socially suspect. This is a case where soft skills come into play in a major way. If you have managers who don’t deal well with people, they could be pushing away great employees in droves.

Recognize achievements

Many people like to be recognized when they achieve something exceptional, and employees are certainly included in this group. Whenever someone has performed far beyond expectations, you should take the time to celebrate it and recognize their accomplishments throughout the company.

Not only will this demonstrate your gratitude for superior performance, but it also shows others that they can also achieve this kind of recognition for excellence. One of the largest reasons that employees leave a company is because they don’t feel appreciated, so you should take every opportunity to reward outstanding performance with some kind of worthwhile recognition.

Make your employees proud

We live in an age where people want to contribute to positive solutions, rather than contributing to some kind of world problem. You can make your team members proud to be part of your workforce in any number of ways, and this will contribute toward employee job satisfaction in a significant way.

For instance, your company might be heavily involved with contributing to charities and other worthwhile organizations. Your company might also have established a family-oriented workplace, which makes employees feel very comfortable and satisfied with employment there. More than at any time in the past, employees want to know that they’re working for a company that is a positive force, and when they find that company, they are more likely to stay in place and continue to support it.

Need help managing unemployment claims?

For mid-to-large-sized companies, having to fire or lay off employees or having them quit on you altogether is, unfortunately, unavoidable, even despite your best efforts. Of course, some of these ex-employees will file unemployment claims against you, and depending on the number of employees you’ve had, managing these unemployment claims can be very difficult.

Unemployment Tracker is here to help. We help businesses with a large number of employees more effectively manage their unemployment claims and even dispute fraudulent claims that are based on false information. If you need help managing your unemployment claims, give us a call at (810) 279-0501.

Take a look at our unemployment tracking solutions!

How Does Unemployment Insurance Work? A Guide for C-Suite Executives

Over the last year, unemployment insurance has become very important to Americans who were thrown out of work as the economy took a nosedive in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Even companies that had historically low rates of unemployment were forced to deal with the reality of massive layoffs because various segments of the national economy had shut down.

Then too, supply chains were disrupted all over the country, and this added to the unemployment crisis. In 2021, it is hoped that the economy will begin to recover, as more businesses are able to open up again.

However, that will likely be a slow process, and it certainly won’t happen in a week or even a month. In the meantime, it may be wise to update yourself on just how unemployment insurance works, and how it impacts both you the employer and your employees.

The Federal/State Unemployment Insurance Program 

This program was signed into federal law in 1935 and was designed to replace at least some portion of the wages that an employee was earning before he or she was laid off.

The program requires that the person must be unemployed through no fault of their own, eligible to work, and actively seeking gainful employment during the layoff period.

Each state has its own policy regarding unemployment insurance benefits, but most states provide up to 26 weeks (one half-year) of weekly benefits to employees who have been laid off from work.

These 26 weeks are considered the base period and can be extended in specific instances. In most cases, the reimbursement through unemployment insurance (UI) covers about half of what an employee was earning while still working.

Most major layoffs occur during general downturns of the economy, so providing laid-off workers with a portion of their wages acts as a stimulus to the economy and helps to keep commerce going (relatively) strong.

Who Pays for Unemployment Insurance?

business finances

In ordinary times, unemployment insurance is paid for by a tax that is levied on employers by the specific state they operate in and by the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA). This amounts to 6% of the first $7,000 earned by any employee.

State spending on unemployment insurance is exempt from balanced budget rules, and states are allowed to take loans out from the Federal Treasury in the event that their own reserves become exhausted.

However, any state borrowing from the Treasury is obliged to repay that sum within three years, or the federal government will automatically increase taxes on those companies until the debt has been repaid.

The federal government does not impose standards on how much money laid-off workers should be entitled to, and that leaves a broad range for states to interpret and make their own determination on reimbursements.

All states are allowed to impose their own level of unemployment tax rates on employers, as well as the amount of reimbursement, and the duration of benefits supplied.

States are also free to establish their own eligibility requirements, for instance, the period of time that someone must be employed prior to being laid off.

Recommended Read How Pandemic Unemployment Is Impacting Business Owners

Eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits

In ordinary times, the majority of unemployed workers do not receive UI benefits. This is because unemployment insurance does not cover situations where a person is looking for their very first job, nor does it cover individuals who voluntarily leave their jobs.

It also does not cover people who intend to re-enter the workforce after having voluntarily left it. In addition, students, self-employed workers, undocumented workers, and gig workers are not eligible to receive benefits under current guidelines.

Depending on the state, workers are required to have been gainfully employed for a minimum amount of time prior to being laid off.

For instance, if your state requires that people be employed for at least six months prior to a layoff, and a person has only worked for three months, they would not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Furthermore, many states also have minimum requirements for wages earned prior to a layoff, so if the threshold in your state is $10,000, and an employee only earned $5,000 before being laid off, they would again not be eligible for benefits.

This system operates decidedly against low-wage earners because they are the least likely to earn enough to meet the earnings threshold, yet they are the most likely to be laid off.

During the Great Depression, only about 25% of low-wage-earners were actually eligible for unemployment benefits, which meant most had absolutely no income at all.

Recommended Read What Should Employers Do If They Receive False Unemployment Claims?

Improvements to the unemployment benefits system

improvements vector

The extraordinarily high numbers of unemployed workers which the country has seen since the invasion of the coronavirus have pointed out some very obvious deficiencies in the system.

For instance, in the immediate aftermath of COVID-19 early last year, the system was completely swamped with unemployment claims for benefits, and it bogged down the entire system.

Most applicants were paid very late, and in the meantime, they had no income to support themselves.

Only around half of unemployment claims filed in March of last year were paid by the middle of May, and that left millions of Americans with no money to help themselves or their families.

This created hardships all around the country, and it became apparent that an upgrade to the processing system was sorely needed.

It is likely that this will be addressed at the earliest opportunity, and hopefully, that will be before a similar avalanche of claims inundates state processing centers. Another change that has growing support is in the area of eligibility requirements.

There were huge numbers of undocumented workers and individuals seeking their first jobs after graduating from high school or college, who were not eligible to receive benefits over the past year.

While this might be a difficult modification to enact, it seems likely that some tweaking of the eligibility rules might be made to provide at least some level of assistance to individuals falling into these categories.

One last change that might be enacted by the federal government is to relax the current requirement on states to repay money borrowed from the Treasury within three years.

In practice, this has served to raise the burden on employers and hinder the recovery. If this requirement was less stringent, it seems likely that the economy would make a faster recovery, and that there would be less stress on employers.

Manage your unemployment claims with help from Unemployment Tracker!

For mid-to-large-sized companies, handling all the unemployment claims they receive, especially in the middle of a pandemic can be a huge undertaking. Not to mention all the false claims that employers receive from people trying to take advantage of UI benefits.

Our unemployment tracking software provides you a cost-effective means of managing your unemployment claims in-house. Additionally, we also offer outsourced unemployment management services for those who don’t have the manpower to handle it themselves.

 

Take a look at our unemployment management services!

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Take a look at our unemployment tracking software solutions!

What Should Employers Do if They Receive False Unemployment Claims?

When an employee files an unemployment claim, you will receive a notice of their request for unemployment compensation

It is at this point that you have the option of protesting the claim, provided that you file your protest within the allotted timeframe listed on the notice.

It’s important that you provide the unemployment office with all relevant facts to your case, including pension, vacation pay, holiday pay, and all dates where issues took place. 

Once the unemployment commission makes a decision, you will have the option to appeal it if you feel it was made in error.

Common Grounds for Employer Protests 

If the employee quit working for your company, inform your state’s unemployment office exactly what they said or did to indicate their intention to stop working. If they simply stopped reporting to work, you should inform the office of the last day they did do any work. 

If the employee refused work that was offered, you should include information about how the offer was made to the claimant and why the claimant refused to do the work.

If your employee was discharged for issues related to drugs or alcohol, make sure that your discharge reason is in compliance with state laws regarding the subject.

notice-of-employee-termination

If you fired the claimant, you should note the date and reason for the firing. Provide a list of all the incidents and behaviors that lead to your firing of the employee. Particularly any violations of company policy.

If there is any question about the employee’s ability to work, this must be documented by your company. Unemployment insurance benefits will be paid if the individual is capable of working, is available for work, and is actively searching for work. 

One reason that cannot be used to protest unemployment claims is the lack of work in your company. Laying off an employee because there isn’t any available work is not grounds for protesting an unemployment claim.

Recommended Read: Know When and How to Protest Unemployment Claims

Avoiding Unemployment Claims in the Future 

There are several things you can do to prevent having unemployment claims filed against you.

Most of these actions should be taken long before employees have the opportunity to apply for unemployment compensation. In other words, right from the start of your association with an employee.

Place Employees in Their Ideal Roles

Probably the single most important thing you can do to avoid fraudulent claims is to ensure that the employee is positioned in the right role (i.e., one that he or she is completely capable of performing). 

This means you should avoid temporarily hiring people to fulfill a need that won’t last long. If you notice that employees are frequently being hired but then don’t work out, it might be worth your while to review your hiring practices. 

It may be that you need to implement some kind of proficiency test or a behavioral assessment. These can be better indicators of future employee success.

Communicate Expectations and Responsibilities from the Get-Go

Anytime you hire a new employee, you should set clear expectations of them from the outset. This way they have a good understanding of what kind of standard they will be measured against.

meeding-with-the-boss

When you do this, it will be clear to both parties whether or not the employee is actually living up to those expectations. 

If you don’t provide clear expectations for employees, then you can’t fault them for not living up to your vision of what makes a great employee. 

You need to explicitly state what the employee’s job responsibilities will be, what you expect from their behavior, and what kind of performance standards are in place in your organization.

Follow Through on Company Policies

Another thing that’s important to do is following through on any company policies you have set. You cannot simply look the other way when violations occur because that will send the wrong message to employees. 

Instead, when employees violate company policies, there should be some type of disciplinary action talent. This way the employee has a clear understanding that such behavior is unacceptable. 

It’s not enough to just distribute employee handbooks. Policies don’t carry any weight with employees when they see that they’re not being enforced or that the enforcement is inconsistent. 

This will always come back to bite you in any type of unemployment hearing.

Establish Effective Communication with Your Employees

You should also get into the habit of establishing good communication with your employees, so they are aware of company goals and how they fit into the big picture.

When employees have this kind of understanding, they tend to be more motivated and more productive.

Effectively Document Situations When They Arise

Whenever an employee does exhibit behaviors that are deemed undesirable, or when violations of company policy occur, you should definitely document these situations clearly and carefully.

heated-work-discussion

If precise details are required to document these kinds of events, you will have a written description of what occurred and on what date it occurred. 

This kind of documentation can support your protest if a fraudulent claim has been filed against you. Make sure to stay in compliance with all regulations regarding employer-employee relations, so that you’re not at fault as an employer. 

Keep in mind that if you were to cross the line in your relationship with an employee, then they can use that against you. They can negate your protest by claiming improper employer behavior, which can lead to you paying for their unemployment benefits.

Ally Your Business with Unemployment Tracker!

Dealing with unemployment fraud, especially if you own a large company, is a major hassle. Failure to track your unemployment claims can lead to you having to compensate people who don’t deserve it!

Sometimes, fraudulent unemployment claims are filed by people who never worked for your company. Unfortunately, these claims can fall through the cracks and take hard-earned money out of your pocket.

By partnering with Unemployment Tracker, you’ll be able to manage your unemployment claims more effectively than ever before. Additionally, we can help you protest unemployment claims filed against you, whether they are fraudulent or not. Don’t let people steal money from you! 

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How Pandemic Unemployment Is Impacting Business Owners

As the global pandemic approaches the one-year mark, there is no question that it has had a major impact on business owners all over the United States. It has even forced some businesses to close their doors altogether.

Due to restrictions centered around gatherings, in-person visits have diminished, opening up the way for online commerce instead.

Many business owners have been forced to lay off employees because the volume of business they once enjoyed has declined, and they can no longer justify having those workers on hand.

Here are some of the other significant impacts that unemployment is having on business owners as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Pandemic Unemployment Impacts Business Owners 

When business begins to taper off, as it has for many owners due to COVID-19, it becomes a necessity to let some employees go. 

There’s not really any action required on your part aside from responding to the claim that will be made to your state for extended benefits.

The money that you are required to pay for unemployment taxes then becomes the source used by the state to provide unemployment benefits to those individuals filing claims.

In the event new layoffs result in an unemployment claim, the state will contact you to verify the details of employment. When a former employee files for unemployment benefits, you are required to respond to their claim notice, but you also have the option of contesting it.

business-contract-signing

Employees who are fired for just cause are typically not eligible for regular unemployment benefits, since the program was set up to assist workers who were laid off through no fault of their own or are unable to work due to reasons outside of their control.

Anyone who is terminated for violation of company policy, poor performance, or for any kind of misconduct will most likely not qualify for regular benefits.

In this scenario, you need to provide evidence that the employee violated company policy or provide some proof of misconduct on their part.

Once this is done, the state will make a determination on whether or not the employee should receive benefits.

Employees, however, have experienced a significant windfall, as they are now receiving an extra $600 per week on top of the standard weekly benefit amount that normally would have been awarded to them.

Recommended Read: Know When and How to Protest Unemployment Claims

The CARES Act 

Prior to the passage of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security), it was not possible for business owners to collect unemployment for themselves if they fell into any of the following camps.

  • They were self-employed
  • They were a gig worker
  • They were an independent contractor

That was changed when the Act when into effect, and the business owners that were hit the hardest finally became eligible for regular unemployment benefits.

For owners who were prevented from earning a living during the COVID-19 pandemic, at least some relief was made available.

The only individuals not eligible for relief from this stimulus package are those who are still able to work from home or those who closed their doors for reasons other than the coronavirus.

Most self-employed individuals who were put out of business by the pandemic were able to obtain relief through the CARES Act.

Resources Available to Business Owners

Many businesses and business owners have found themselves struggling with the implementation of government restrictions and social distancing requirements brought on as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has given rise to a number of resources that are intended to lessen the impact of coronavirus and to help business owners recover from it.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

One of the latest programs to be put into effect is called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, and it went into effect during the latter part of 2020.

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Under this program, individuals who were previously not eligible for regular unemployment benefits are able to qualify for PUA are finally able to receive the payments that others have already been awarded.

Recipients will be entitled to as many as 39 weeks of benefits, and they can receive PUA payments retroactively, dating back to January of 2020.

This program is similar to unemployment in that it’s administered by individual states, so claimants are obliged to submit their PUA applications through their state channels.

In addition to the PUA program, business owners received economic impact payments in 2020 which that intended to help taxpayers survive the hardships imposed by the coronavirus.

Single taxpayers received $1,200, couples received $2,400, and couples were paid $500 for each dependent child in their custody.

Families First Coronovirus Response Act

A measure called the Families First Coronavirus Response Act was also enacted to reimburse business owners that employed fewer than 500 employees.

Its intent was to ensure that workers would not have to choose between staying employed and complying with safe behaviors during coronavirus.

It also reimbursed the businesses where these employees worked to relieve some of the pressure off them as well.

The Small Business Association Loan Program

Other guidelines were issued by the federal government with regard to programs already in place. For instance, the Small Business Association (SBA) loan program.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan was made available to businesses that have suffered serious economic damage as a result of a federally declared disaster.

The SBA also initiated the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) last year which was intended to help businesses keep their employees working and avoid laying them off.

disaster-loan-assistance-form

By forgiving loans, it sought to help employers keep workers on their payroll since it would relieve the pressure of having to make loan payments, thus freeing up capital that could be used for payroll.

Applying for assistance through the PPP was made simple, and it could be carried out through any SBA 7(a) outlet where applications were normally submitted, as well as any federal credit union.

Another resource available to business owners during the time of the pandemic is the SBA’s Local Assistance Directory, which provides locations of local offices where assistance may be obtained.

The federal government is aware of the stress that the pandemic has placed on the shoulders of small business owners and has reacted as quickly as possible to provide help in many different forms.

It is worth your while to make use of the loans and programs described above and to educate yourself about as many other possibilities as possible. Surviving the pandemic as a business owner will prove to be difficult, but you won’t have to do it all on your own.

Need Help Managing Your Unemployment Claims?

Have you been hit hard by unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Despite the fact that you have probably had justified cause for laying off or firing your employees, you may still be getting hammered by unemployment claims, especially if you are a mid to large-sized business.

Trying to handle all of these unemployment claims and respond to them within the allotted time can put an enormous amount of stress on your HR department.

Unemployment Tracker can help you manage your unemployment claims, relieve some of the burdens off your shoulders, and help you contest any claims that you believe were filed without proper justification.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already proved to be a difficult time, so let us help relieve the burden of unemployment claims off your shoulders.

Take a look at our full range of unemployment management solutions!

Know When and How to Protest Unemployment Claims

Unemployment compensation is typically awarded to individuals who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. It is designed to provide temporary income to those people while they search for a new job. However, as an employer, it is your right to protest unemployment claims. If you believe your former employee is not a candidate for unemployment, this guide will help you contest it.

Key Takeaways

  • If one of your former employees is filing a claim, and you believe they don’t meet the criteria for benefits, it is in your best interest to protest it as soon as possible.
  • If you fail to protest the claim, you will have to pay the employee unemployment compensation. Unemployment claims will also raise your tax rates.
  • Filing a protest does not mean you are off the hook, but it initiates the legal process of contesting the claim.
  • After filing a protest, it is crucial that you gather the proper documentation needed to effectively combat the unemployment claim.
  • Employees who quit of their own volition or were fired due to wilful misconduct are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
  • The more unemployment claims you have, the more opportunities for errors there are. This can be especially difficult for larger employers.
  • Unemployment Tracker can help you manage your claims and effectively protest them!

The Initial Process of Protesting an Unemployment Claim

unemployment-insurance-rate-calculation

If you receive a notice that a former employee has filed for unemployment benefits and you think the claimant should be disqualified from receiving benefits, you can file a protest. The deadline for you to file the protest will be present on the notice.

If you file a late or incomplete response, you will forgo your right to protest the claim. You may also be fined, as well. It is crucial that you file the protest correctly and in a timely fashion. The process of the unemployment claim can be broken down into the following steps:

1. Receiving Notification of the Claim

When one of your former employees files an unemployment benefits claim, you will receive a notification. The information will include a questionnaire asking for additional details from the employer.

This will help the state and employment commission determine the eligibility of unemployment income benefits. This questionnaire is sometimes referred to as a separation report.

2. Verifying the Claim Details

You will need to check if the individual was actually employed by your business. However, this does not include temporary staff or independent contractors. You will need to verify all information on the report, such as dates of employment and wages. You will also need to provide the details surrounding the event that resulted in the claim. Make sure that you report all of this information to the unemployment officer.

Deciding to Protest the Unemployment Claim

paperwork

If you determine that the person filing the unemployment claim should not be eligible to receive benefits, then it is in your best interest to file a protest. If you decide not to protest the claim, you will have to pay the employee compensation, and it will also raise your tax rates.

Keep in mind that the unemployment commission will likely rule in the employee’s favor if their work hours were restricted or they were fired through no fault of their own.

An employee does not have a right to unemployment assistance if any of the following circumstances apply.

The Employee Left Their Job Voluntarily

If the employee indicated an intention to quit or did not show up when they were scheduled to work, these aspects need to be documented. In addition, if they gave a formal notice, this disqualifies them from receiving unemployment benefits.

The Employee Engaged in Wilful Misconduct

Wilful misconduct means that the employee failed to meet the normal standards of behavior. This includes being intoxicated, falsifying information, sleeping on the job, or stealing. There are also other examples, such as failure to follow instructions, excessive absences, or an intentional violation of the company’s rules and policies.

What to Do if You Decide to Protest

The most important part of the process is gathering the appropriate documentation. This will be used as evidence to substantiate your case. This documentation should include the following.

  • Proof of attendance.
  • A letter from the employee if they requested a reduction in work hours.
  • A resignation letter from the employee.
  • Documents relating to any disciplinary actions that resulted in a termination.
  • Additional documentation with regards to the event leading to termination.

Upon gathering all the relevant documentation, copies should be sent to the unemployment officer that is conducting the investigation. It is vital to respond on time to the state agency’s requests for information and provide this separation documentation.

What Happens Next?

Once the proper documentation has been submitted to the unemployment commission, it is up to them to make a decision. This is known as the determination, and it could take a while for the commission to respond back with their determination.

If the commission rules in your favor, then the unemployment claim is rendered invalid, and you will not have to suffer the consequences. However, if the determination has sided in favor of the claimant, you will be given instructions on how to appeal this.

The information will explain clearly how and why they came to this determination, and it is up to you to decide if it is relevant enough to appeal the process once again. The number of times you can appeal varies from state to state.

If you decide to appeal the determination, a hearing may need to be held where the case will be reviewed again. Upon the conclusion of this hearing, the commission will make a determination once again.

Manage Your Unemployment Claims with Help from Unemployment Tracker

As you can see, dealing with all of the steps to protest and keep track of unemployment claim can be a headache for any organization. It can be frustrating and time-consuming to gather the information needed to protest an unemployment claim. It is always in your best interest to appeal any unwarranted claims, as you may have to pay a higher tax rate.

If you are looking for a solution that can help you manage your unemployment insurance claims and make sure you meet deadlines, Unemployment Tracker can help you.

From our easy to use software solution for internal teams to Unemployment Tracker Complete that provides you with a dedicated team of experts who will take the whole process off your plate, we are here to help. If you are overwhelmed by unemployment claims and aren’t sure where to turn, reach out to us today or click below to take our free assessment.

Take the Unemployment Tracker Free Assessment

“October Unemployment Numbers by State”

Recent jobs data from the Department of Labor reported that US employers added solid 161,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent. With the focus being on the overall Unemployment rate we often neglect to remember that unemployment effects some states and local economies more than others. Also, it’s important to point out that while we discuss Unemployment as a national issue the Unemployment programs vary by state and it’s the states that determine minimum and maximum benefits, the number of weeks and so forth.

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“September 2016 Jobs Report”

As election season draws to an end, the American economy is cruising right along despite some charged campaign rhetoric. It will be interesting to see how the candidates put their opposing spins on this report during the next debate. Analysts also think the outcome of the debate will inform the market reaction to these numbers. 156,000 jobs were added in September while unemployment is also up slightly to 5%. The labor force growth this represents is a good sign of continued economic recovery.

A broader measure of unemployment that includes those who have stopped looking for jobs as well as those working part-time for economic reasons was unchanged at 9.7 percent.

The number of workers considered not in the labor force fell by 207,000 to 94.2 million, the number in the labor population surged by 444,000 and the level of the employed jumped by 354,000, according to the household survey. The employment-to-population ratio rose to 59.8 percent, a half-percentage point gain from a year ago.

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