August 3, 2020
Wyoming legislation provides for noncharge of COVID-19 UI benefits by executive order
Recently enacted legislation (SF 1002) provides that Governor Mark Gordon may, by executive order, declare that employers will not be charged for COVID-19 UI benefits. Specifically, the bill language provides that:
In addition to the list of benefits that shall not be charged to an employer's unemployment compensation account under W.S. 27-3-504(e), no benefits shall be charged to an employer's unemployment compensation account if the governor, by executive order outlining the basis for the order and with the adoption of adequate standards and safeguards to assure the continued actuarial soundness of the unemployment compensation fund, determines that the charges should not be charged due to circumstances related to the unique coronavirus COVID-19.
Governor Gordon has not yet issued an executive order regarding this issue. We have sent an email to the governor's office asking if such an executive order will be issued.
The Wyoming Department of Workforce Services website states:
Q: Will the pandemic Unemployment Insurance benefits go against my employer Unemployment Insurance rate in the future?
A: At this time we do not have a statute to accommodate benefit non-charging for COVID-19. Director Cooley is working closely with the Attorney General's office, the legislature and U.S. Department of Labor to enact legislation to non-charge for COVID-19 related claims.
Employers must provide notice to separating employees
Employers are required to provide a notice to employees at the time of separation of their rights to unemployment.
Wyoming regulations require that employers keep a record that this notice was individually provided at the time of separation to any employee who separates from employment for any reason. The record of notification must be maintained and made available to the Department upon request
Employers should report worker refusal to return to work
In a news release, the Department emphasizes that workers must return to work when employers offers them employment unless special circumstances apply.
Employers are encouraged to report workers who refuse to return to work:
Q: If you have an employee who was temporarily laid off, and after you try to hire them back they refuse due to receiving more on Unemployment Insurance, how should this be handled?
A: If you have an employee who is refusing to return to work you should notify our agency. You can either call our Benefits Helpline at +1 307 473 3789 or report the issue on ourwebsite(see the Report Fraud link on the right-hand menu bar on the page).
The website further states:
If your employer offers you hours to return to work, be aware you cannot refuse work to continue receiving unemployment insurance benefits without "good cause." This includes all programs, regular unemployment insurance, PEUC, PUA and FPUC. Work Refusal issues must be adjudicated to determine the cause. Quitting work or refusing work without "good cause" to obtain Unemployment Insurance benefits can be considered fraud. You must honestly report any work refusals on your Continued Claim when filing for weeks in the week you refused work. Your adjudicator will determine whether your reason was good cause.
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