On March 27, Governor Tom Wolf signed Act 9 of 2020, significantly amending Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation (UC) Law. Here’s a summary of those changes, some temporary and some permanent, that may impact state employers.
First, Act 9 includes special temporary provisions related specifically to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Under the measure, contributory employers and reimbursable employers who have paid the 2020 solvency fee are provided automatic relief from charges for those employees whose UC claims are due to the COVID-19 outbreak or public health officials’ efforts to contain and prevent spread of the virus. Reimbursable employers who have not paid the solvency fee will continue to pay their full charges, but will receive reimbursement for 50% of their COVID-19-related charges, per the federal CARES Act.
The act also temporarily waives the one-week waiting period and job search and registration requirements for claimants “for the duration of a disaster emergency declared by the Governor because of COVID-19.”
These temporary changes will be in effect until January 1, 2021.
Act 9 also institutes a permanent change to PA UC law in the form of section 206.1, which now requires employers to notify all separating employees of the following information regardless of whether the employee was terminated, furloughed or discontinued employment voluntarily:
Availability of unemployment compensation benefits to workers who are unemployed and who meet the requirements of Act 9;
Ability of an employee to file an unemployment compensation claim in the first week employment stops or work hours are reduced;
Availability of assistance or information about an unemployment compensation claim on the Department of Labor’s publicly accessible internet website or by calling a toll-free number (provided by the employer); and
That the employee will need certain information in order to file a claim, including:
The employee’s full legal name;
The employee’s Social Security number; and
If not a citizen or resident of the United States, valid authorization to work in the United States.
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