Employers, both throughout the mid-Atlantic area and across the country, are bracing themselves for higher unemployment insurance taxes next year. And with our nation still recovering from recession and still facing long-term high unemployment rates, tax rates are likely to continue climbing for some time. However, unlike most other taxes, unemployment tax is one that employers can actually have some direct control over lowering. Employers who are proactive in their employee hiring, disciplinary and termination processes, as well as in their management of employment claims, stand the best chance of improving their experience rating, the rating that determines each company’s unemployment tax rate.
For most small- to medium-sized businesses – especially those with high employee turnover rates, such as those in the hospitality industry – the process of disputing unemployment claims can be a time-consuming and frustrating process. Losing just one claim dispute can cost thousands of dollars, which can be devastating to many businesses, especially in today’s troubled economic times. This is why it is vital to make sure your company is in best position to dispute any and every wrongful unemployment claim made by your former employees – and the best way to do this is to maintain extensive and thorough written records and to never miss important deadlines associated with filed claims.
When a former employee files a claim for unemployment, the burden falls on the employer to prove that the individual should not be eligible for payment. If you are not able to provide adequate written evidence that the employee was at fault for his or her termination, or if you do not respond to the claim within the designated amount of time, the law will find in favor of the claimant every time. This is why it is paramount to keep clear documentation of your employee policies, changes in these policies, written warnings issued to employees, and any records or evidence of employees breaking your company policies. All of these documents will help you in the event that you need to prove an employee was terminated for misconduct.
Should an unemployment dispute progress to a hearing, the judgment will depend on first-hand testimony from you as the employer and anyone else that can speak to the matter at hand, so it is important for you to be available and well prepared for these hearings. In the event that the decision is not in your favor and you disagree, you have a right to file an appeal and you must be prepared to present your facts and evidence.
With all of this in mind, it is easy to see why many employers – especially those with high employee turnover – lack the resources to properly manage, respond to and dispute their unemployment claims when necessary and ultimately, can end up paying thousands of dollars to claimants who shouldn’t rightfully be receiving money. This is also why you should consider investing in hiring a third party to manage your unemployment claims for you. Today, many human resource, payroll and financial management firms offer unemployment services that can help employers improve their hiring, disciplinary and termination processes and the associated documentation and can also handle all of the paperwork and appeals associated with unemployment claims. Turning these responsibilities over to someone with the resources and expertise to properly handle them may save you valuable time, stress and cost.
At Deluxe Payroll, we have recently added unemployment cost management to our list of human resource and payroll services. Now our clients can rely on Deluxe Payroll to handle the administration of all of their unemployment claims, provide consultation and representation at all hearings, audit every benefit charge, and provide Web-based management reports that allow the progress of all existing claims, hearings and appeals to be viewed and tracked online. We aim to help all of our customers achieve significant cost savings by making sure every unemployment claim is accurately accessed, documented and protested when appropriate.
To learn more about unemployment cost management from Deluxe Payroll, please call us at 1-800-729-5910 or email us @ firstname.lastname@example.org.