October 12, 2021
Vermont employers must apply by October 31, 2021 for relief of COVID-19 UI benefit charges in the computation of their SUI tax rates
The Vermont Department of Labor has updated procedures for the relief from inclusion of COVID-19 unemployment insurance (UI) claims on the employer's state unemployment insurance (SUI) experience and future SUI tax rates.
According to the Department, although COVID-19 UI benefit charge relief was automatically applied to employer SUI experience rates for calendar year 2020 (affecting employer fiscal year 2022 SUI tax rates), employers must apply for relief from COVID-19 UI benefit charges in 2022. This relief of UI benefit charges from an employer's UI account applies only to COVID-19 UI benefits paid out during Governor Phil Scott's declared state of emergency, which ended on June 15, 2021. (Vermont Department of Labor announcement.)
Employers that wish to apply for COVID-19 UI benefit charge relief for the period of January 1, 2021 through June 15, 2021, must do so on the Department's website by October 31, 2021.
New claims for COVID-19 UI benefits submitted after June 15, 2021 will not be eligible for this special UI benefit charge relief. Note that UI benefit charges applied to employer UI accounts after June 15, 2021, will not affect SUI tax rates until fiscal year 2023 (July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023).
Requirements for relief of 2021 COVID-19 UI benefit charging
Employers are required to submit the following information with their application:
The following criteria must be met for an employer to be eligible for COVID-19 UI benefit charge relief.
To receive COVID-19 UI benefit charge relief for 2021 (through June 15, 2021), employers must demonstrate that the reason for separation was directly related to one of the following COVID-19-related reasons:
To receive COVID-19 UI benefit charge relief for 2021, an employer must demonstrate that it meets one of the following rehiring requirements:
The Department will investigate applications for UI benefit relief and the employer must be able to provide evidence to satisfy both steps identified above if the Department requests information. Failure to provide sufficient documentation when requested will result in COVID-19 UI charges being reapplied to the employer's UI account and may result in additional fraud penalties of up to $5,000 per employee, per application.
Applications will be accepted through October 31, 2021 and must apply to UI benefit charges incurred in 2021 as a direct result of COVID-19.
Employers will receive a determination no later than March 31, 2022 on their request for UI benefit charge relief. This will ensure employers can appeal the determination before the Department performs the calculation of fiscal year 2023 SUI tax rates.
EY Payroll News Flash