Knowledge is power- Don’t miss EANE’s Employment Law Conference on 11/2!

Please join us for The Employers Association of the Northeast (EANE) Employment Law Conference  on November 2nd at The Sheraton in Springfield MA! 

You’ll learn valuable best practices on a variety of current HR hot topics like creating a workplace violence prevention plan, collaborating with boomers on retirement and succession planning, stay interviews to improve retention and communicating with your team about high deductible insurance plans. UTCA will be a featured presenter providing attendees with valuable guidance to manage their unemployment programs more effectively. Early bird discount ends 10/13/17, so take advantage of this great resource. For more information on the program and registration click here !

UTCA Celebrates 20th Annual Client Update!

This year marked a special milestone for UTCA: The 20th Annual Client Update! The event, held October 5th at the Sheraton Springfield, was an outstanding success with excellent turnout and a fun and educational program enjoyed by all. Employers from across the region gathered for the conference which included guest speakers and a year in review of UI legislative trends, projections, and employment law updates.

A perennial hit, UTCA staff performed their interactive game show  “Are You Smarter Than A Review Examiner?” The show was emceed by Director of Operations Meghan Avery and VP of Client Services Tim Phelan and even featured music from Disney’s Frozen.

In addition to the featured program content, attendees engaged with the key partners sponsoring this year’s update. Offering their own unique value and advice to the participants, these respected employer service providers added a new dimension to the event. The valued sponsors included Checkwriters Payroll, Employer’s Association of New England, Paragus Strategic IT, and Johnson & Hill Staffing Services.

Event speakers included Attorney Meghan Sullivan, a highly regarded employment law attorney from the firm Sullivan, Hayes, & Quinn. Atty. Sullivan closed the event with her annual Employment Law Update which featured insight on medical marijuana, the American’s with Disabilities Act, and evolving legal trends important for all employers.

UTCA would like to thank all who attended and hope to see you back for the 21st Annual Update next fall!

Arkansas’ Employers Could See Significant Reductions in Their Unemployment Taxes

Effective January 2018, most of the provisions in House Bill 1405 will take effect – one of those being the reduction of the unemployment insurance benefits claim period from five months to four months. The combined efforts of this provision and others noted in this bill plan to reduce Arkansas’ Employers’ insurance taxes by $50 million annually. The local Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce hopes that it will also encourage those drawing unemployment benefits to look for work faster.

Click here for a summary of HB 1405: https://openstates.org/ar/bills/2017/HB1405/ 

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Georgia’s Jobless Rate Decreases as Job Creation Rate Rises

The jobless rate in Georgia has fallen to its lowest levels in almost 10 years as the State’s Labor Industry is creating jobs and putting a record number of people back to work. In the month of June alone, over 27,000 jobs were created which is almost double the state’s normal job creation rate.

Read the full story here:  http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/opinion/article163369158.html

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Tennessee Sets Internal Unemployment Rate Record

The state of Tennessee’s Department of Labor is setting records within their unemployment compensation program. Not only did they announce an historically low unemployment rate of 3.6%, but they are also paying out approved unemployment claims at a record rate due to recent system upgrades. According to the Department of Labor, the majority of people waiting for benefits are receiving their first payment within 10 days.

Read more about this story here: http://www.wsmv.com/story/35935559/tn-unemployment-rate-lowest-in-history-system-paying-people-faster

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UTCA enhances industry-first claims management software

AdventiaUI affords increased compatibility, intuitive functionality and more robust reporting

Unemployment Tax Control Associates, Inc. (UTCA), a national unemployment insurance service provider based in Springfield, Mass. announced the successful launch of their proprietary claims software, AdventiaUI, noting many features and benefits for an improved user experience. The software allows for the secure, efficient and timely transmittal of unemployment claims data to meet state guidelines.

Their previous proprietary software solution was revolutionary and remarkable in its own right; still, AdventiaUI is the natural evolution of the software, taking in to account customer feedback, needs and emerging industry and technological advancements. Compatible with all modern web browsers, AdventiaUI affords users intuitive layout and usability for immediate account changes, real-time reporting and improved claim requesting procedures. Perhaps most notably, the software interfaces with State Information Data Exchange (SIDES), allowing UTCA to manage even the largest of programs from national employers. A customized, proprietary interface improves SIDES response and ensures UTCA safeguards employers from unnecessary unemployment costs.

“We pride ourselves at UTCA on offering a client-centric approach to all of our interactions and claims processing,” said Meghan Avery, director of operations at UTCA. “As a highly trusted company, in a confusing industry, nothing pleases us more than reducing the costs and complexities of managing unemployment compensation programs for our clients, and AdventiaUI helps us accomplish both.”

Noreen Mickiewicz Hayes, assistant director of human resources at ServiceNet lauded UTCA and expressed resounding approval of AdventiaUI. “There was a seamless rollout of the new program,” she said. “I received all the information necessary to effectively transition to the new software, and when dealing with an unemployment insurance claim, time is understandably of the essence.”

She furthered, “I found the entire process to be easier, from log-in, data upload and transmission to the final report, every step of the process was easy to understand and follow.”

For more information about Unemployment Tax Control Associates, their service offerings or new software offering, AdventiaUI, contact UTCA today.

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Vermont Ruling Expands Employment Classification of Independent Contractors

In a recent ruling issued by the Vermont Supreme Court, owners of a limited liability company (LLC), can be considered an independent contractor even when they do not have any employees.

In a statement issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor, Lindsay Kurrle noted this ruling “provides a level of clarity that we have not had previously.” She went on to state, “The classification of independent contractors is an issue that the department is committed to — both ensuring that workers are properly protected, and that businesses who want to utilize independent contractors are doing so with confidence and predictability of how the law is applied.”

Read more about this ruling here: http://www.benningtonbanner.com/stories/high-court-widens-pool-of-independent-contractors,511798

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Pennsylvania DOL Announces Amnesty Program

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry announced an unemployment compensation amnesty program entitled “Make it Right” on July 1, 2017. The program runs through September 30, 2017 and will not be an annual occurrence.

Parties eligible to participate in the program are claimants with overpayments established on or before Dec. 31, 2016; employers with unpaid contributions through the third quarter of 2016; and employers with unpaid reimbursements due on or before Oct. 31, 2016.

During the three-month amnesty, at fault claimants (who knowingly gave false information that allowed them to receive more benefits than they were entitled to) will receive a discount of half off interest accrued on their balances. They will be required to pay the full overpayment balance, lien costs, a 15 percent penalty and the remaining 50 percent interest. Non-fault claimants (who unknowingly accepted more compensation than they were entitled to) will receive a half-off discount on their entire overpayment balance. Employers will owe all contribution or reimbursement balances, lien costs and half of the interest accrued.

According to Pennsylvania DOL Secretary Kathy Manderino, “It’s an opportunity for claimants and for employers to do the right thing, to pay what they owe, and to end up with a clean slate.”

Visit the program’s website for more details: http://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/UC-Amnesty.aspx

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Unemployment Compensation for Military Mates Who Quit to Relocate

Ohio is currently one of just four states (including Idaho, North Dakota and Pennsylvania) that does not grant unemployment compensation to military spouses who quit their jobs to relocate with their spouse, but a recent bill that has just passed the Ohio House of Representatives could change that.

The bill (House Bill 158), sponsored by Representative Rick Perales, would bring unemployment compensation to these spouses who must leave their civilian jobs to relocate for an active duty transfer with their military mates and according to Representative Perales, it will not be a cost to the state.

The bill is now making its way to the Senate.

View a Summary of the House Bill Here: https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-158

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Home Health Care Workers and Unemployment

Minnesota – In a recent case a claimant who had been caring for a family member through a home health care staffing agency alleged that she had been discharged from her assignment when her client moved out of the country and as a result she was no longer able to work for him. On the other hand, the employer maintained that ongoing work was available and when offered to the claimant, it was refused.

Under Minnesota’s unemployment compensation laws, when service for a particular patient ends, attendants are only eligible for unemployment compensation benefits if they tell the staffing service they are willing and able to work with another patient. Otherwise, the end of the original assignment doesn’t count as a discharge.

While an Unemployment Law Judge (ULJ) ruled in favor of the claimant, the state Court of Appeals overturned that ruling stating that “In this case, respondent elected to serve one client, her uncle.  She knew, from the beginning of the employment, that there was an option available to be assigned more clients…Further, when respondent communicated that her uncle had left the country, relator offered her the chance to work for a new client; respondent chose not to work.  The end of the employment relationship was not the effect of a policy change or a decision that relator did not want to employ respondent.  Relator gave respondent a chance to stay, and she declined…In view of the entire record as submitted, the ULJ’s decision finding that respondent was discharged and did not quit is unsupported by substantial evidence in the record. Based on these conclusions, we reverse the decision”.

Read the Full Case Details Here: http://law.justia.com/cases/minnesota/court-of-appeals/2017/a16-1316.html

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