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5 Facts about Unemployment Benefits

This month, as 2014 comes to a close, we are taking a look back at some of the most important blog topics we have covered both in case you missed them, and to help you prepare for 2015!

If you lose your job or your employer lays you off, you may be able to get unemployment benefits. The payments may be a welcomed relief. But you should know that they’re taxable.

Here are five important facts from the IRS about unemployment compensation:

  1. You must include all unemployment compensation in your income for the year. You should receive a Form 1099-G, Certain Government Payments. It will show the amount paid to you and the amount of any federal income taxes withheld.
  2. There are several types of unemployment compensation. They generally include any amount received under an unemployment compensation law of the U.S. or a state. For more about the various types, see Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income.
  3. You must include benefits paid to you from regular union dues in your income. Different rules may apply if you contribute to a special union fund and those contributions are not deductible. In that case, only include as income any amount you get that is more than the contributions you made.
  4. You can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your unemployment. You make this choice using Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. If you do not choose to have tax withheld, you may have to make estimated tax payments during the year.
  5. If you are facing financial difficulties, you should visit IRS.gov. “What Ifs” for Struggling Taxpayers explains the tax effect of events such as the loss of a job. For example, if your income decreased, you may be eligible for some tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. If you owe federal taxes and can’t pay your bill, contact the IRS as soon as possible. In many cases, the IRS can take steps to help ease your financial burden.

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DOL Proof Your Documentation

This month, as 2014 comes to a close, we are taking a look back at some of the most important blog topics we have covered both in case you missed them, and to help you prepare for 2015!

THINNER lady with documentation

The following information will help your company save money by winning more unemployment claims! Look for disciplinary tips during the next few weeks and always call HR Strategies for answers to questions or for assistance. Be proactive with documentation & progressive discipline!

Common Questions Found on DOL Questionnaires When a Former Employee File for UI Benefits: 

  1. What was the reason this person was discharged on this particular day? Give full details.
  2. Explain in detail the effect this employee’s actions had on your business.
  3. Explain the policy, order, rule or instruction this employee failed to follow.
    1. What date did the above incident occur?
    2. When was this employee advised of the rule or policy?
    3. How would this employee have known about the rule or policy?
  4. Give exact dates and details about any warnings given to this employee: who told him/her, whether warning was written or verbal and the nature of the warning.
  5. Was the employee advised he/she was in danger of losing his/her job?
  6. Did the discharge occur within a reasonable time from the date of the incident?
  7. Describe the employee’s job duties and how long he/she performed the job.
  8. Was the required standard ever met?

Denying undeserving employees of unemployment benefits starts at the first sign of trouble. You need to be able to answer these questions truthfully and completely. This initial response is generally all the DOL utilizes to allow or deny benefits.

Key Element: Documentation

  • Document all instances when employee fails to do his/her job.
  • Probationary period is not an excuse for terminations. You must document failed or substandard performance.
  • Employment-at-will does not preclude an employee from unemployment benefits or suing – it is in fact an “admission” by the employer that they may have not had a reason to terminate or that the employer failed to do their job!

Remember: HR Strategies is always available to answer questions and guide you through progressive discipline and terminations. We handle all steps of the UI claims process and help you win more unemployment claims, thus saving you time and money!

Call us at 770-339-0000, option 3 or email:

ClientServices@hr-strategies.com

Documentation Must Be A Habit, Be Done Early, Done On All Employees, and Be Balanced; At the End of The Day, It’s What the Courts Analyze for Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claims.

What Have You Missed in 2014?

This month, as 2014 comes to a close, we are taking a look back at some of the most important blog topics we have covered both in case you missed them, and to help you prepare for 2015!

Some of the topics of greatest interest and importance have covered the rise in regulatory compliance and employment laws, and the crack down of various government agencies to make sure your company is in compliance. Beyond that we have also been able to provide you with insight into taxable and non-taxable income, employee relations, and employer policies. Be sure to check back throughout the month as we highlight the following topics, through our Best of the Best Blog Topics for 2014!

Best of the Best Blog Topics of 2014:

  • DOL Proof Your Documentation
  • Employee Discipline
  • Unemployment Benefits
  • Taxable & Non-Taxable Income
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Affordable Care Act Coverage
  • Bullying
  • Diversity
  • Ghost Employees
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Handbooks

The Disciplinary Meeting & Discussion

serious-discussion

The following steps are important to follow every time you begin disciplinary action with an employee.

  • State the standard or policy.
    • It is important to the DOL that upon hire, the employee is made aware of the standard of work that is required of all employees. 
    • It is equally important to the DOL that the employee is aware of all company policies upon hire. 
    • Because of this expectation, when a former employee files a claim for unemployment benefits, the DOL always asks the employer whether or not the claimant was aware of the company policy they violated. The employee should already understand standards and policies. During a disiplinary discussion, it is important to reiterate this information.
  • Refer to specific conducts and incidents, not “attitude” or “opinions”.
    • When reviewing unemployment insurance (UI) claims, DOL Claims Examiners only look at relative ‘incidents’ when determining eligibility of benefits. 
    • Whether or not a claimant is awarded UI benefits has nothing to do with attitude or opinions.
  • Describe the effect of the violation on the business and/or other employees.
    • This is important, the DOL always wants to know how the employee’s actions affected the business.
    • If the employee merely annoys you, but can perform their duties up to standards and have no direct effect on the business; if you terminate them without just cause, they can be awarded benefits. 
  • Make clear the consequences of future violations. Will further poor performance put their job in jeopardy?
    • Whether or not the employee knew their job was in jeopardy is an important factor in a Claims Examiner’s determination.
    • It’s important that the employee understands that they could lose thier job, otherwise, they have no chance to change the behavior and improve-thus becoming eligible for UI benefits.
    • They need to understand that they may lose their job, and then you must allow an adequate amount of time for improvement. Ask your HR Strategies Human Resources Consultant more about that time period. 
  • Review the Disciplinary Report with the employee.
    • These forms show that there was a disciplinary session, that the employer put an action change plan into place, and that the employee understood that they needed to improve and agreed to follow the action plan. 
    • These forms are MAIN FORMS OF DOCUMENTATION that are essential during unemployment insurance cases.
  • Have the employee sign the report to acknowledge the discipline.
    • This proves understanding and shows the employee agrees with the changes they will have to make to keep their job.
    • Keep these in the employee’s file.

Call HR Strategies Today at 770-339-0000 or

Click Here to Visit our Website!

DOL Proof Your Documentation

THINNER lady with documentationThe following information will help your company save money by winning more unemployment claims! Look for disciplinary tips during the next few weeks and always call HR Strategies for answers to questions or for assistance. Be proactive with documentation & progressive discipline!

Common Questions Found on DOL Questionnaires When a Former Employee File for UI Benefits: 

  1. What was the reason this person was discharged on this particular day? Give full details.
  2. Explain in detail the effect this employee’s actions had on your business.
  3. Explain the policy, order, rule or instruction this employee failed to follow.
    1. What date did the above incident occur?
    2. When was this employee advised of the rule or policy?
    3. How would this employee have known about the rule or policy?
  4. Give exact dates and details about any warnings given to this employee: who told him/her, whether warning was written or verbal and the nature of the warning.
  5. Was the employee advised he/she was in danger of losing his/her job?
  6. Did the discharge occur within a reasonable time from the date of the incident?
  7. Describe the employee’s job duties and how long he/she performed the job.
  8. Was the required standard ever met?

Denying undeserving employees of unemployment benefits starts at the first sign of trouble. You need to be able to answer these questions truthfully and completely. This initial response is generally all the DOL utilizes to allow or deny benefits.

Key Element: Documentation

  • Document all instances when employee fails to do his/her job.
  • Probationary period is not an excuse for terminations. You must document failed or substandard performance.
  • Employment-at-will does not preclude an employee from unemployment benefits or suing – it is in fact an “admission” by the employer that they may have not had a reason to terminate or that the employer failed to do their job!

Remember: HR Strategies is always available to answer questions and guide you through progressive discipline and terminations. We handle all steps of the UI claims process and help you win more unemployment claims, thus saving you time and money!

Call us at 770-339-0000, option 3 or email:

ClientServices@hr-strategies.com

Documentation Must Be A Habit, Be Done Early, Done On All Employees, and Be Balanced; At the End of The Day, It’s What the Courts Analyze for Unemployment Insurance (UI) Claims.

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