July 30, 2020
West Virginia are not charging employer UI accounts with COVID-19 UI benefits
According to a management representative of Workforce West Virginia (WWV), employers are not being charged with COVID-19 unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. In an email response to our inquiry, he stated: "We are not charging taxable employers if the claimant filed due to COVID. With that being said, we have found that some are being charged despite having filed due to COVID and we are working to fix those."
WMV representatives did not provide the date that it will begin once again charging employer accounts with COVID-19 UI benefits, nor did they provide the authority under which they are currently not charging employer accounts.
Nothing posted to the WWV website indicates whether COVID-19 UI benefits will be charged to employer accounts. FAQs posted to the agency's website in March 2020 state only that employers should contact the agency, as follows:
Q. I'm an employer. Will the claims being filed now have any effects on my business's UI account and rate?
A. Employers with questions about their UI Accounts should contact the Contributions and Accounting Office at +1 304 558 2676.
Work-search requirements and one-week waiting period waived for workers filing COVID-19 UI benefit claims; employers must report job refusals
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued Executive Order 4-20 on March 19, 2020, which ordered WWV to provide UI benefits to individuals affected by COVID-19. The order also directed WWV to apply flexibility to UI law provisions that provide for a one-week waiting period and a requirement for UI benefit claimants to conduct work searches and actively seek work.
As a result, on April 19, 2020, WWV issued a news release that provides a waiver of work-search requirements and the one-week waiting period for workers filing COVID-19 UI benefits.
The news release also cautions that workers temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 must return to work if they are called back to work. Failure to return to work is considered a reason to disqualify the worker from future UI benefit eligibility.
Employers are instructed to submit the form "Employer Questionnaire of Refusal of Suitable Work," within seven days of a refusal of a job offer or referral.
Ernst & Young LLP insights
Employers should carefully review benefit charge statements to confirm that WWV removes COVID-19 UI benefit charges from their experience account.
EY Payroll News Flash