The Siouxland Employers’ Council and Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) periodically host meetings for employers to learn about updates regarding Iowa unemployment insurance. The workshops cover a variety of changes in unemployment laws and practices.
Speakers at a recent workshop included Todd McGee, a Marketing Specialist with Iowa Workforce Development. McGee is assigned to the Tax Redesign Project. Sessions were also conducted by Dan Anderson, Chief Administrative Law Judge for the Iowa Workforce Development.
These Iowa unemployment insurance workshops are ideal for new employers, small business owners and newly hired or recently promoted managers. However, since they cover the latest updates to law, they are also ideal for seasoned employers. All employers, human resource professionals, accounting personnel and payroll staff are urged to attend.
Many new employers report that administrative issues such as Iowa unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, payroll and taxes are more confusing and time-consuming than any other part of their job.
At a recent meeting, McGee discussed the new process for filing quarterly and annual unemployment reports and payments online. Topics covered included:
- Electronically file your unemployment quarterly reports
- Automatic computation of taxable wages and contributions
- Interactive screens and help features of the new system
During Anderson’s part of the program, he discussed recent changes to Iowa employment laws and practices including:
Discharges, quits, refusal of work or refusal of recall
Issues involving part time employees
Health related issues, drug testing
Pensions, vacation, severance and holiday pay
Special challenges in handling unemployment insurance cases
There is a $25 registration fee to attend these informative workshops. If you’re interested in the next workshop, contact Iowa Workforce Development in your area. The Siouxland Employers’ Council is an employer group in Region 12, supported locally by Iowa Workforce Development, and is part of the statewide Employers’ Council of Iowa system. This employers group addresses workforce issues, and provides both educational and networking opportunities for employers.
In the state of Iowa, part of the unemployment system works by the state charging each employer a so called Benefit Charge. This Benefit Charge is a charge to the employer’s account with the unemployment insurance system, and is based on a tax rate that is relative to how much the state has paid benefits to your former employers. In other words, the more former employees you have taking in unemployment insurance, the higher your Benefit Charge will be.
You should know how many former employees are out there collecting benefits under your name. The state contacts you each and every time one of your former employees, or a supposed former employee, claims unemployment benefits. And if that employee fits into that “supposed” category, it is up to you the employer to stop the state from charging your account for them. You have to protect that charge.
About 40 days after the close of every calendar quarter, the state of Iowa sends to every employer a list of benefits that have been charged under your account. This is called a Statement of Charges, and basically tallies all of your former employees and how much the Iowa Workforce Development department is paying them in unemployment benefits.
After you receive this Statement of Charges, you have another 30 days from the date that the Statement of Charges was mailed to you to protest and appeal any of the itemized charges on the statement. In order to appeal, you must send back the Statement of Charges with your name and business name on it accurately, as well as your Iowa Unemployment Tax account number. You must also include the name and social security number of the particular former employee that you are protesting.
Also provide the separation date that the employee left your company (or didn’t leave the company for that matter), along with the reason for them leaving. Remember—if an employee quits, resigns, or is fired because of disciplinary action, they do not warrant unemployment benefits.
If an employee becomes unemployed, they may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. If they are still employed but working fewer hours than a regular full-time work week and are earning less than a regular full-time wage, they may be entitled to partial benefits.
Unemployment insurance benefits are made possible by taxes paid by this employer. No deductions are made from a worker’s paycheck for unemployment insurance.
In order to qualify for unemployment insurance, a worker must:
- Be totally or partially unemployment;
- Have worked and earned a minimum amount of wages in work covered by unemployment insurance in the last 15 to 18 months (Iowa Workforce Development will determine this);
- Have lost their job through no fault of their own;
- Be able and available for work;
- Be registered for work at a local Workforce Development Center; and
- Be actively seeking work.
A worker may be denied benefits because they:
- Quit a job without good cause attributable to an employer.
- Were discharged or suspended for misconduct in connection with a job.
- Refused suitable work with an employer or recall to suitable work by a former employer
- Are not able to work, not available to work or not actively seeking work as required.
- Are unemployed due to a strike or labor dispute.
- Have set unrealistic limitations on the wages, hours or days, types of work or locations of a job they will accept.
- Fail to report to the Workforce Development Center or satisfactorily participate in reemployment services when told to do so.
- Are a school employee with either a contract or reasonable assurance of returning to work when school resumes the next academic year or term.
- Fail to return the Work Search History form when requested.
As soon as a worker becomes unemployed, they may file a new unemployment insurance claim either online or in person.
Delay in filing an unemployment insurance claim can result in the loss of all or part of the benefits a worker may be entitled to receive.
Employers must post a notice of the Iowa unemployment insurance benefit poster in their workplace.