Get your personnel files handy, new employers in the state of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts unemployment insurance benefit system requires that all employers in the state file an Employer’s Quarterly Contribution Report, also called a “Form 1.” That equals four times a year for you guys who don’t have your accountants around reading this blog with you (har har! Just kidding!).
Each time you file one of these Employer’s Quarterly Contribution forms, they go straight to the Division of Unemployment Assistance in the Department of Labor in Massachusetts. This Division of Unemployment Assistance values timeliness and accuracy on these forms, and they’re not just saying that, folks.
Being timely with your Employer’s Quarterly Contribution forms makes sure that you get all of the credit due to you in the system, as that you account with the Division of Unemployment Assistance is accurate and properly reflects your experience with the department. Remember, once you start getting charged the experience rate for the unemployment insurance in the state of Massachusetts (and anywhere really), you get charged less the better “experience” you have—meaning the fewer former employees that you have on the unemployment benefits pay out.
These forms are due by the end of April for the first quarter of the year, by the end of July for the second quarter of the year, by the end of October for the third quarter of the year, and by the end of January of the following year for the fourth quarter of the previous year.
Another reason to get these forms in to the Massachusetts unemployment insurance system on time: they will fine you otherwise. The Division of Unemployment Assistance withholds the right to fine you from $2500 to $10000 if you don’t file the proper forms. You can even be put in prison for up to a year for the offense.
Unemployment insurance (UI) provides benefits to Massachusetts’ workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. Your employees will learn what “through no fault of their own” means by reading the Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance posters. You are required by law to post Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance posters in an area that are clearly visible to your employees.
Funding for UI benefits comes from contributions paid by the state’s employers; no deductions are made from workers’ salaries. Employers pay quarterly contributions to the Massachusetts Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA). Each employer’s contribution rate is based upon that employer’s experience with layoffs and the UI benefits paid to former workers who collected during the prior year. This is why it is important for you, as an employer, to protest claims for benefits on employees that do not truly qualify for the compensation, such as those that left their job voluntarily or were fired for good cause.
Eligible Massachusetts employers can choose to pay voluntary contributions. This program allows the state’s businesses to manage their unemployment insurance costs by paying additional contributions in order to lower their rate and reduce their UI contributions for the forthcoming calendar year.
Massachusetts employers covered by the Unemployment Insurance Law are also liable for a health insurance contribution. The funds from this contribution provide health insurance for eligible unemployment insurance claimants. This health insurance is called the Medical Security Plan, which is administered by DUA.
Health insurance contributions receipts are deposited in the Medical Security Trust Fund. They are not credited to employers’ UI accounts and are completely independent of the unemployment contribution trust fund.
DUA is responsible for the collection and processing of health insurance contributions which includes employer liability and wage determinations, as well as enforcement and employer auditing.
DUA is responsible for administering the UI program in Massachusetts. All decisions made by DUA staff must be made according to the law as described on the Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance posters.