Unemployment compensation law




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Compiler's Note: Section 18(2) of Act 60 of 2012, which amended section 301.6, provided that the amendment of section 301.6 shall apply to calculation of the interest factor for calendar year 2013 and thereafter.

Section 301.7.  Trigger Determination.--(a)  On July 1 of every year, the secretary shall calculate the trigger percentage to be used in setting surcharge and contribution rates for the contributions required under sections 301.2, 301.4 and 301.5 and in setting the benefit reduction required under section 404(e)(4) for the following calendar year. The secretary shall:

(1)  add the principal amount of outstanding bonds under Article XIV and the amount of outstanding advances under Title XII of the Social Security Act (58 Stat. 790, 42 U.S.C. § 1321 et seq.) and subtract that sum from the balance in the Unemployment Compensation Fund;

(2)  determine the average of the benefit costs for the three immediately preceding fiscal years; and

(3)  calculate the percentage that the amount determined under paragraph (1) represents of the average of the benefit costs.

((a) amended June 12, 2012, P.L.577, No.60)

(b)  Surcharge and contribution rates shall be announced by the secretary on July 1 of every year in accordance with the following schedule:

(1)  When the trigger percentage is one hundred fifty per centum (150%) or higher, the rate of the surcharge assessed under section 301.5 shall be a negative one and one-half per centum (-1.5%).

(2)  When the trigger percentage is at least one hundred twenty-five per centum (125%), but less than one hundred fifty per centum (150%), there shall be no surcharge or contribution under section 301.2, 301.4 or 301.5.

(3)  When the trigger percentage is at least one hundred ten per centum (110%), but less than one hundred twenty-five per centum (125%):

(i)  the rate of the surcharge assessed under section 301.5 shall be four per centum (4%); and

(ii)  the rate of contributions assessed under section 301.4 shall be five-hundredths of one per centum (0.05%).

(4)  When the trigger percentage is at least ninety-five per centum (95%), but less than one hundred ten per centum (110%):

(i)  the rate of the surcharge assessed under section 301.5 shall be eight per centum (8%); and

(ii)  the rate of contributions assessed under section 301.4 shall be one-tenth of one per centum (0.1%).

(5)  When the trigger percentage is at least seventy-five per centum (75%), but less than ninety-five per centum (95%):

(i)  the rate of the surcharge assessed under section 301.5 shall be eight per centum (8%);

(ii)  the rate of contributions assessed under section 301.4 shall be fifteen-hundredths of one per centum (0.15%); and

(iii)  the rate of additional contributions assessed under section 301.2 shall be twenty-five hundredths of one per centum (0.25%).

(6)  When the trigger percentage is at least fifty per centum (50%), but less than seventy-five per centum (75%):

(i)  the rate of the surcharge assessed under section 301.5 shall be eight per centum (8%);

(ii)  the rate of contributions assessed under section 301.4 shall be two-tenths of one per centum (0.2%); and

(iii)  the rate of additional contribution assessed under section 301.2 shall be five-tenths of one per centum (0.5%).

(7)  When the trigger percentage is less than fifty per centum (50%):

(i)  the rate of the surcharge assessed under section 301.5 shall be eight per centum (8%);

(ii)  the rate of additional contribution assessed under section 301.2 shall be seventy-five hundredths of one per centum (0.75%); and

(iii)  the rate of contributions assessed under section 301.4 shall be two-tenths of one per centum (0.2%).

(c)  Whenever the trigger percentage determined under subsection (a) is less than fifty per centum (50%), the secretary shall announce a reduction in the weekly benefit rate under section 404(e)(4).

(d)  Whenever the trigger percentage is less than twenty-five per centum (25%), any balance remaining in the Unemployment Compensation Trigger Reserve Account shall be transferred to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.

(301.7 added Oct. 19, 1988, P.L.818, No.109)

 

Compiler's Note: Section 18(3) of Act 60 of 2012, which amended subsec. (a), provided that the amendment of subsec. (a) shall apply to the calculation of the trigger percentage in 2012 and subsequent calendar years for purposes of contribution rates and benefit reductions for calendar year 2013 and thereafter, respectively.

Section 301.8.  Trigger Rate Redeterminations.--(a)  Beginning in 1992 and each fifth year thereafter, the secretary shall redetermine the rates of the surcharge, employe tax, additional contributions and benefit reduction otherwise applicable under sections 301.7 and 404(e)(4). The secretary shall redetermine the rates so that the unrounded rates yield contribution increases and benefit reductions, on a calendar year basis, approximately equal to the dollar amounts specified in subsection (b). The rates as redetermined shall take effect on January 1 of the following calendar year and shall remain in effect for five years.

(b)  (1)  For calendar years 2013 through the year determined under paragraph (4), if the trigger percentage as of July 1 of the preceding calendar year is less than two hundred fifty per centum (250%), the rates determined under paragraph (2) shall apply. For calendar years following the year determined under paragraph (4), if the trigger percentage as of July 1 of the preceding calendar year is less than two hundred fifty per centum (250%), the rates determined under paragraph (3) shall apply.

(2)  The secretary shall redetermine the rates such that the surcharge assessed under section 301.5 shall yield one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000), the additional contribution under section 301.2 shall yield two hundred twenty-five million dollars ($225,000,000), the employe tax under section 301.4 shall yield one hundred sixty-six million six hundred sixty-six thousand six hundred sixty-six dollars ($166,666,666), and the benefit reduction under section 404(e)(4) shall yield fifty-two million dollars ($52,000,000).

(3)  The secretary shall redetermine the rates such that the surcharge assessed under section 301.5 shall yield one hundred thirty-eight million dollars ($138,000,000), the additional contribution under section 301.2 shall yield the sum of three hundred ten million dollars ($310,000,000) plus the amount determined under paragraph (5), the employe tax under section 301.4 shall yield two hundred thirty million dollars ($230,000,000), and the benefit reduction under section 404(e)(4) shall yield seventy-two million dollars ($72,000,000).

(4)  The calendar year determined under this paragraph shall be the earliest calendar year subsequent to 2012 on December 31 of which all of the following apply:

(i)  There is no unpaid balance of Federal advances under Title XII of the Social Security Act (58 Stat. 790, 42 U.S.C. § 1321 et seq.) or interest thereon.

(ii)  There are no outstanding bond obligations under Article XIV of this act and no bond administrative expenses under Article XIV of this act and no such obligations and no such expenses will be due in the following year.

(5)  The amount determined under this paragraph shall be the sum of:

(i)  twenty per centum (20%) of the amount paid from the Unemployment Compensation Fund pursuant to section 1407(c) during the sixty (60) consecutive calendar months ending on June 30 of the year in which the redetermination occurs, plus

(ii)  twenty per centum (20%) of that portion of the amount paid from the Unemployment Compensation Fund pursuant to section 1407(c) during the immediately preceding sixty (60) consecutive calendar months that is not recovered by additional contributions paid for calendar years through the calendar year in which the redetermination occurs.

((b) amended June 12, 2012, P.L.577, No.60)

(c)  For the purpose of redetermining the rates under this section, the secretary shall utilize the necessary contribution and benefit activity data from the calendar year immediately preceding the year in which the redetermination is to be done.

(d)  The first redetermination shall be done by June 30, 1992, and the rates shall be redetermined each fifth succeeding June 30, and the applicable redetermined rates shall take effect the next January 1.

(e)  The redetermined rates shall be rounded in accordance with the following schedule:

(1)  If the rate for the surcharge assessed under section 301.5 is not a multiple of one-tenth of one per centum (0.1%), it shall be rounded to the next higher multiple of one-tenth of one per centum (0.1%).

(2)  If the rate for the employe tax under section 301.4 is not a multiple of one-hundredth of one per centum (0.01%), it shall be rounded to the next higher multiple of one-hundredth of one per centum (0.01%).

(3)  If the rate for the additional contribution under section 301.2 is not a multiple of five-hundredths of one per centum (0.05%), it shall be rounded to the next higher multiple of five-hundredths of one per centum (0.05%).

(4)  If the rate for the benefit reduction under section 404(e)(4) is not a multiple of one-tenth of one per centum (0.1%), it shall be rounded to the next higher multiple of one-tenth of one per centum (0.1%).

(301.8 added Oct. 19, 1988, P.L.818, No.109)

 

Compiler's Note: Section 18(4) of Act 60 of 2012, which amended subsec. (b), provided that the amendment of subsec. (b) shall apply to the redetermination of contribution rates and the benefit reduction to occur under section 301.8 in 2012 and each fifth year thereafter for purposes of contribution rates and the benefit reduction for calendar year 2013 and thereafter, respectively.

Section 301.9.  Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund.--(a)  There is established a restricted account in the State Treasury to be known as the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund.

(b)  Moneys in the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund shall consist of contributions deposited into the fund pursuant to section 301.4(e)(2).

(c)  Moneys in the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund are appropriated on a continuing basis, upon approval of the Governor, to the department to be prioritized for the following purposes:

(1)  To improve the quality, efficiency and timeliness of services provided by the service center system to individuals claiming compensation under this act, including claim filing, claim administration, adjudication services and staffing and training of system employes.

(2)  Expenditures for information management technology, communications technology and other infrastructure components that the secretary determines are likely to result in significant and lasting improvements to the unemployment compensation system.

(3)  To pay the costs of collecting the contributions deposited into the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund pursuant to section 301.4(e)(2).

(d)  Consistent with the merit staffing requirement of section 303(a)(1) of the Social Security Act (49 Stat. 620, 42 U.S.C. § 503(a)(1)), no moneys in the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund may be expended or obligated to a third party to perform unemployment compensation services of the department, except services relating to technology and infrastructure components deemed necessary by the secretary under subsection (c)(2).

(e)  Any moneys in the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund that are not expended or obligated as of December 31, 2018, shall be transferred to the Unemployment Compensation Fund under section 601.

(f)  Moneys in the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund shall not lapse at any time nor be transferred to any other fund except as provided in subsection (e).

(g)  No later than June 30 of each calendar year from 2014 through 2019, the department shall provide a report to the Governor and the General Assembly, through the Secretary-Parliamentarian of the Senate and the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives, regarding the Service and Infrastructure Improvement Fund, which report shall include an accounting for the contributions deposited into the fund, the expenditures and transfers from the fund during the prior year and a description of the purposes for which expenditures from the fund were made in the prior year.

(301.9 added July 2, 2013, P.L.195, No.34)

Section 302.  Establishment and Maintenance of Employer's Reserve Accounts.--The department shall establish and maintain for each employer a separate employer's reserve account in the following manner:

(a)  An employer's account shall be charged with all compensation, including dependents' allowances, paid to each individual who received from such employer wage credits constituting the base of such compensation, in accordance with this subsection.

(1)  An employer's account shall be charged with compensation paid to an individual for which an overpayment under section 804 of this act is not established against the individual.

(2)  In addition to charges assigned under paragraph (1), an employer's account shall be charged with compensation paid to an individual for which an overpayment under section 804 of this act is established against the individual if the compensation is paid because the employer or an agent of the employer responds untimely or inadequately or fails to respond to a request by the department for information regarding the individual's eligibility for compensation. For the purposes of this paragraph, the following shall apply:

(i)  A request by the department for information regarding an individual's eligibility shall:

(A)  Indicate the name and social security number of the individual.

(B)  Contain specific inquiries, indicate the type of information sought, or both.

(C)  Be mailed to the employer's or agent's last known address or be transmitted electronically to the employer's or agent's electronic mail address if the employer or agent has designated an electronic mail address.

(D)  Indicate the date the request is mailed or transmitted electronically.

(E)  Indicate a mailing address, an electronic mail address, or both, where a response shall be filed.

(ii)  An employer's or agent's response to a request by the department for information shall be untimely if the response is filed more than fourteen days after the department's request for information is mailed or transmitted electronically to the employer or agent. The filing date of a response shall be determined in accordance with 34 Pa. Code § 63.25 (relating to filing methods).

(iii)  An employer's or agent's response shall be inadequate if the response misrepresents or omits facts that, if represented accurately or disclosed, would have been a basis for the department to disqualify the individual from receiving compensation.

(iv)  A determination by the department assigning charges under this paragraph may be appealed as provided in Article V of this act for appeals from determinations regarding an individual's eligibility for compensation.

(3)  An employer's account shall be charged with compensation paid to an individual in the proportion that the individual's wage credits with the employer bear to the total wage credits received by the individual from all employers.

((a) amended Oct. 23, 2013, P.L.637, No.75)

(b)  Any employer, at any time, may voluntarily pay into the Unemployment Compensation Fund an amount in excess of the contributions required to be paid under the provisions of this act, and such amount shall be forthwith credited to his reserve account. His rate of contribution shall be computed or recomputed, as the case may be, with such amount included in the calculation. To affect such employer's rate of contribution for any year, such amount shall be paid not later than thirty days following the mailing of notice of his rate of contribution for such year: Provided, That for good cause, such time may be extended by the department: And provided further, That such amount, when paid as aforesaid, shall not be refunded or used as a credit in the payment of contributions in whole or in part. In no event shall any such amount be included in the computation or recomputation for any year unless it is paid within one hundred twenty days after the beginning of such year.

(c)  (1)  For the purpose of determining any employer's rate of contribution for any year, the phrase "balance in an employer's reserve account" as used in sections 301, 301.1 and 301.2 of this act shall mean the amount ascertained as of the computation date by subtracting the amounts charged to his reserve account from the amounts credited thereto including voluntary contributions. If, as of the computation date, the amounts charged to his reserve account exceed the amounts credited by an amount equivalent to more than twenty per centum (20%) of his average annual payroll, the employer may elect, subject to the provisions of section 301.1(f) of this act to have his reserve account balance adjusted to a negative balance equal to twenty per centum (20%) of his average annual payroll. This subsection as amended shall apply to elections made after December 31, 1986.

(2)  Notwithstanding the provisions of section 301.1(f) and paragraph (1) of this subsection, for elections made on or after January 1, 1984 and before May 1, 1986, if the amounts charged to the employer's reserve account exceed the amounts credited by an amount equivalent to more than ten per centum (10%) of his average annual payroll, the department, after determining his Reserve Ratio Factor shall, upon the election of the employer, adjust his reserve account balance to a negative balance equal to ten per centum (10%) of his average annual payroll. With respect to future adjustments of negative balance accounts, the secretary shall, upon the election of the employer, make adjustments as follows:

(i)  In relation to adjustments made for the second time after January 1, 1984 and before May 1, 1986, if the amounts charged to his reserve account exceed the amounts credited by an amount equivalent to more than fifteen per centum (15%) of his average annual payroll, the department shall, upon the election of the employer, adjust the reserve account balance to a negative balance equal to fifteen per centum (15%) of his average annual payroll.

(ii)  In relation to adjustments made for the third time after January 1, 1984 and before May 1, 1986, if the amounts charged to his reserve account exceed the amounts credited by an amount equivalent to more than twenty per centum (20%) of his average annual payroll, the department shall, upon the election of the employer, adjust his reserve account balance to a negative balance equal to twenty per centum (20%) of his average annual payroll.

(d)  The department shall terminate the reserve account of any employer who has not paid contributions for a period of four consecutive twelve month periods, ending June thirtieth in any year.

(e)  Nothing contained in this act shall be construed to grant to any employer any claim or right of withdrawal with respect to any amount allocated to him from, or paid by him into, the Unemployment Compensation Fund, except as provided in section three hundred eleven hereof.

(302 amended June 20, 2011, P.L.16, No.6)

 

Compiler's Note: Section 6(2) of Act 75 of 2013, which amended subsec. (a), provided that the addition of subsec. (a)(2) shall apply to overpayments established on or after October 21, 2013.



Compiler's Note: Section 9(1) of Act 6 of 2011, which amended section 302, provided that the amendment shall apply to charges for compensation corresponding to benefit years that begin on and after the effective date of the amendment.

Section 302.1.  Relief from Charges.--Notwithstanding any other provisions of this act assigning charges for compensation paid to employes, except for section 302(a)(2), the department shall relieve an employer of charges for compensation in accordance with this section and section 213 of this act. (Intro. par. amended Oct. 23, 2013, P.L.637, No.75)

(a)  Circumstances allowing relief:

(1)  If an individual was separated from his most recent work for an employer due to being discharged for willful misconduct connected with that work, or due to his leaving that work without good cause attributable to his employment, or due to his being separated from such work under conditions which would result in disqualification for benefits under the provisions of section 3 or 402(e.1) of this act, the employer shall be relieved of charges for compensation paid to the individual with respect to any week of unemployment occurring subsequent to such separation. Relief from charges under this paragraph terminates if the employe returns to work for the employer.

(2)  If an individual's unemployment is directly caused by a major natural disaster declared by the President of the United States pursuant to section 102(1) of the Disaster Relief Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-606, 42 U.S.C. § 4401 et seq.) and the individual would have been eligible for disaster unemployment assistance as provided in section 240 of the Disaster Relief Act of 1970 with respect to that unemployment but for the receipt of unemployment compensation, an employer shall be relieved of charges for compensation paid to such individual with respect to any week of unemployment occurring due to the natural disaster, to a maximum of the eight weeks immediately following the declaration of emergency by the President of the United States.

(3)  If an individual subsequent to separation from his work is engaged in part-time work for a base year employer, other than a base year employer from whom he has separated, the part-time employer shall be relieved of charges for compensation paid to the individual with respect to any week of unemployment occurring subsequent to the separation and while such part-time work continues without material change.

(4)  If the department finds that an individual was separated from his most recent work for an employer due to a cessation of business of eighteen (18) months or less caused by a disaster, the employer may be relieved of charges for compensation paid to such individual with respect to any week of unemployment occurring subsequent to that separation. Relief from charges under this paragraph terminates if the employe returns to work for the employer.

(b)  Requests for relief from charges:

(1)  Except as provided in subsection (c), in order to be granted relief from charges for compensation, an employer must file a request with the department in the manner provided, and containing all information required, by the department's regulations.

(2)  If an employer is requesting relief from charges on the basis of a separation that occurs on or before the date the claimant files an application for benefits or on the basis of continuing part-time work, the following shall apply:

(i)  If the request is filed within fifteen (15) days after the date of the earliest notice issued by the department under section 501(a) of this act indicating that the claimant is eligible under section 401(a) of this act and relief is granted, relief shall begin with the earliest week for which the claimant is eligible for benefits pursuant to the claimant's application for benefits.

(ii)  If the request is not filed within the time period provided in subparagraph (i), relief, if granted by the department, shall begin with the earliest week ending fifteen (15) or more days subsequent to the date the request is filed.

(3)  If an employer is requesting relief from charges on the basis of a separation that occurs after the claimant files an application for benefits, the following shall apply:

(i)  If the request is filed within fifteen (15) days after the date of the earliest notice issued by the department indicating that the claimant is claiming benefits subsequent to the separation and relief is granted, relief shall begin with the earliest week for which the claimant is eligible for benefits following the last day worked.

(ii)  If the request is not filed within the time period provided in subparagraph (i), relief, if granted by the department, shall begin with the earliest week ending fifteen (15) or more days subsequent to the date the request is filed.

(c)  Relief from charges without a request:

(1)  If a claimant is determined ineligible for benefits under section 3 or 402(b), (e) or (e.1) of this act pursuant to a notice of determination that has become final, the department shall grant relief from charges in accordance with subsection (a)(1) to the employer from whom the claimant was separated, beginning with the earliest week for which the claimant is eligible for benefits following the week or weeks governed by the notice of determination.

(2)  If a claimant is determined eligible for benefits under section 402(b) of this act pursuant to a notice of determination that has become final, the department shall grant or deny relief from charges in accordance with subsection (a)(1) to the employer from whom the claimant was separated, beginning with the earliest week governed by the notice of determination, in accordance with the following:

(i)  The department shall grant relief from charges if the claimant left work for the employer without good cause attributable to the claimant's employment.

(ii)  The department shall deny relief from charges if the claimant left work for the employer with good cause attributable to the claimant's employment.

(3)  Relief from charges granted to an employer remains in effect for the purpose of benefits paid to the claimant pursuant to a subsequent application for benefits if the relief has not terminated in accordance with the provisions of this section.

(d)  Employer information:

(1)  An employer that is granted relief from charges on the basis of a claimant's separation from employment shall notify the department within fifteen (15) days if the claimant returns to work for the employer. The employer shall include with the notification the claimant's name and Social Security number, the employer's name and account number and the date when reemployment commenced.

(2)  An employer that is granted relief from charges on the basis of continuing part-time work shall notify the department within fifteen (15) days if the employment situation of the claimant changes. The employer shall include with the notification the claimant's name and Social Security number and the employer's name and account number.

(e)  General provisions:

(1)  Where the individual's eligibility for compensation has been finally determined under the provisions of Article V of this act, such determination shall not be subject to attack in proceedings under this section.

(2)  The findings and determinations of the department under this section shall be subject to appeal in the manner provided in this act for appeals from determinations of compensation.

(302.1 added June 20, 2011, P.L.16, No.6)

 

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