Even now, more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, Pennsylvania is still seeing record numbers of requests for Unemployment Benefits. Many industries are still not able to open and run at full capacity, are seeing decreased business, or have shut down permanently. We sympathize with both the business owners and the employees who are struggling with these times. Unfortunately, there are individuals who are choosing to take advantage of these circumstances to avoid working and cash in on these unemployment benefits. This has a cascading effect that hurts business owners and takes away resources from unemployed individuals who truly need these unemployment benefits.
New Procedure for Identifying Ineligible Claimants
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry (L&I) is aware that this is happening and has recently announced a way for employers to help L&I in identifying false or unqualified unemployment benefit claims. If your business has offered suitable work to potential employees and they refuse, you must report these individuals to the L&I using the new form UC-1921W Employer Questionnaire Refusal Suitable Work. The short, one-page, form can be found and submitted online on the L&I website: https://www.uc.pa.gov/Documents/UC_Forms/UC-1921%20Interactive.pdf The form must be submitted within seven days of a job offer or refusal. You will need to provide:
- rate of pay and period of time which such rate represents
- the scheduled working hours during each day of the week
- the location of work
- a description of the duties
- any unusual requirements or conditions of work
Did your business offer suitable work?
How can you know if the employment offer your business makes constitutes suitable work? Well that’s not easy to define. According to the Employer’s Reference Guide to Unemployment Compensation the L&I takes multiple factors into consideration, such as “the claimants’ past training, experience, earnings, the rate of pay of the job offer, how long they have been unemployed, chances of finding a job in the same line of work, distance of the job from home, any risks to health and safety, whether full-time work was available instead of part-time or seasonal, and other factors.” In addition, claimants will not be marked as ineligible if “they are not required to accept the offer under the terms of a labor-management contract or agreement, or an established employer plan, program or policy. Also, claimants will not be ineligible for any week that they are in training approved by the Secretary of Labor & Industry, including training under the Trade Act of 1974” You can read more about that here: https://www.uc.pa.gov/Documents/UCP%20Forms/ucp-36.pdf
In short, there is no quick answer or way for you to identify ahead of time whether the claimant will be considered ineligible. But it is your duty as a business owner to accurately and timely submit the form UC-1921W to L&I so they have all the information necessary to make that judgment call.
L&I also asks that employers have patience with this process. Due to the high number of applications they are currently receiving, you may not receive an update about the outcome for a period of time. They are asking that employers not send duplicate eligibility reports if you don’t hear back for a while as this only slows down the process more.
Calculating Destiny, LLC Can Help
At Calculating Destiny, LLC, our team of knowledgeable and experienced professionals is dedicated to helping your business identify and prevent fraud.
In light of COVID-19, we are not currently seeing any clients in person. We have implemented strict policies and procedures to keep you and our team safe. We now offer contactless pickup or dropoff at a secured and monitored hatch. In addition, our office is equipped with all the latest technology that allows us to virtually communicate and remotely work with a client on their books.
To learn more about how we can help to put your business back on track for financial success, schedule a free consultation by completing our online contact form https://calculatingdestiny.com/contact-us/ or calling us at 215-674-3430 today!