Employer Handbooks – Part 2 – Helping You Decrease Your Unemployment Insurance Costs
Frustrated by losing most of your unemployment claims protests? So are most employers across the U.S. – who only win about half of the protests that they file with the various State UI Agencies. Why do employers lose so many of their protests? There are many reasons employers don’t win protests, including poor claims management, lack of specific unemployment knowledge, among others. One of the most common reasons employers don’t win their protests because their employee handbooks and their unemployment policies do not help them win – and in many cases they actually hurt them.
An employee handbook is essentially a list of policies and processes setting the expectation of the performance and behavior of an organization’s employees. Many of these policies are guided by state and federal employment laws and others are guided by the employer’s expectations and needs. Where employers can get into trouble is when they either do not have an employee handbook, have one that has not been updated every 18 to 24 months, or when an employer chooses to follow their own wants and needs instead of the laws.
So how can a handbook hurt your ability to win unemployment protests? Well, the answer lies in whether or not an employer’s policies follow the rules of unemployment – for example, unemployment examiners look for patterns of offense and patterns of disciplinary documentation. So, if your policies are overly strict and you terminate employees without building your case through progressive discipline (and there are many employers who fall in this category), you will not win your protest.
Your attendance policy can be another area that hurts your ability to win UI protests
- Do you actually have an attendance policy?
- Do you properly track and document violations of this policy?
- Is your policy too strict or too lax?
- Do you have a policy regarding “no-call/no-show” absences – does that policy consider those absences to be job abandonment or does your policy use the word termination or discharge in regard to these types of absences? If your policy uses that language then the agency will consider those no call/no shows to be terminations instead of voluntary quits – and you will lose your protest.
- Are you consistently following your attendance policy? If you answer “no” then you will continue to have problems.
Is your handbook complete? Do you have policies in regard to…
- employee behavior,
- progressive discipline,
- drug and alcohol free workplace,
- conflict of interest,
- falsifying employment information, etc.?
These are the types of policies that help you win unemployment insurance claim protests. Do employee sign off on the employee handbook? Do you keep these acknowledgements on file? These are questions that all employers should be asking themselves.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider regarding your employee handbook and how it affects your ability to win Unemployment Protests. A poor or out-of-date employee handbook can also get you in trouble with a variety of state and federal agencies as well. Be certain to seek help in building and maintaining a strong handbook. It will keep you out of trouble and help you become more successful with UI claims protests.