Clients are growing increasingly worried that due to the Federal unemployment subsidy of $600 per week, employees may refuse to show for work or return to work once “work is available”. We have laid out some facts to help if you find your business in a similar situation.
While California is rushing to process unemployment claims, the EDD is not actively confirming eligibility at this time. As a result, employees may be claiming benefits when they do not meet the requirements. The key requirement is, if work is available for the employee they are not eligible for unemployment. To be eligible for unemployment the employee must experience a reduction in work hours or loss of employment. Simply “not wanting to work” is not a qualified reason for unemployment. The employer will be notified of the benefits employees received and through notice at a later time, the employer will need to provide information to confirm eligibility.
Beginning the week of April 6, the EDD began paying an additional $600 in addition to the weekly benefit amount, the funding comes from the federal CARES act. This program is currently in effect until July 31, 2020.
California’s UI program provides payments to workers who’ve lost their jobs or had their hours reduced, and who meet the program’s eligibility requirements.
UI eligibility requires that the displaced worker be:
* Totally or partially unemployed.
* Unemployed through no fault of their own. l Physically able to work.
* Available for work.
* Ready and willing to accept work immediately.
If an employee has refused to return to work they may not be eligible to continue unemployment based on the eligibility requirements. The offer to reinstate an employee should be in writing or in an email to document the reinstatement and the employees’ response. Every 2 weeks when reporting claim eligibility a “TRUE” response is required to question #4. “Did you refuse any work?”
UI claimants are legally responsible to follow the requirements set by state law. Collecting Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits based on false, misreported, or unreported information to the EDD is considered fraud.
The EDD actively prosecutes fraud, fraud penalties can include:
l Repaying the UI benefits collected, plus penalties and fines.
* Loss of future income tax refunds.
* Losing eligibility to collect UI benefits in the future.
* Possible jail or prison sentences.
* Prosecution by government authorities.
If you have questions regarding this or any other HR matter call the experts at MCDA CCG, INC. we would be more than happy to help. We offer 100% free no obligation consultations.