August 17, 2020
Delaware won't charge employer accounts for COVID-19 UI benefits
Delaware Secretary of Labor Cerron Cade recently issued an emergency order that provides that employers will not be charged for COVID-19 UI benefits retroactive to March 16, 2020, and through the end of the state's COVID-19 emergency order (most recently extended for the fifth time on August 5, 2020, with no expiration date).
Work-search requirements reinstated — employees must return to work when notified by employer unless good cause can be shown
Under the same emergency order, the Secretary removed the emergency regulation that provided for the waiver of work-search requirements, although the Delaware Department of Labor website still shows (see here and here) that the work-search waiver continues through the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency. As a result, individuals collecting COVID-19 UI benefits may soon be required to be able and available for work and conduct searches for work to continue to be eligible for UI benefits.
The Department has released guidance for individuals receiving COVID-19 UI benefits on how a refusal to return to work when contacted by their employer will affect their UI benefit eligibility.
According to the guidance:
Q: Do I have to report that I refused my employer's offer to return to work?
A: Yes. If your employer has called you back and you did not return to work, you must report that you have refused an offer to work when filing your Weekly Certification. You will have an opportunity to provide more information about your reason for not returning to work and whether that reason constitutes good cause for refusing to return to work during the investigation.
Q: Are there any scenarios where I refuse to return to work and may still qualify for unemployment benefits?
A: Claimants who can show good cause to refuse to return to work may still be ineligible for unemployment benefits if they are unable to work or unavailable to work because of medical reasons, childcare reasons, or family care reasons, even if those reasons are related to COVID-19. In such circumstances, claims will be evaluated for eligibility for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.
The guidance instructs employers to report job refusals on the Department's website. (Department news release; 7-22-2020.)
Ernst & Young LLP insights
Due to the lateness of the order providing for noncharge of COVID-19 UI benefits, employers should review benefit charge statements to confirm the Department removes these charges from their experience accounts.
EY Payroll News Flash