Employment Security Law Changes — House Bill 4 (HB4)

  • Areas with Key Changes
  • - Attached Claims Requirements Changed
  • - Waiting Week Required on Every Claim
  • - Max Duration and Max Benefit Amount reduced
  • - Electronic Filing Requirement for NCUI 101
  • - Timely & Adequate Response Required on Seperation Information
  • - Changes to Reimbursable Accounts, Gov. & Non-Profit
  •   Full List and Description of All Changes
1. I'm currently receiving regular, state-funded unemployment benefits. Will my weekly benefit amount (WBA) change on June 30, 2013?
No. The new law that changes the benefit amount does not take effect until June 30, 2013 and only those new claims filed on or after June 30, 2013 will be affected. No current unemployment claims supported by state funds will experience a reduction of an already established weekly benefit amount. However, new claims filed on or after June 30, 2013 will be subject to a maximum weekly benefit amount of $350.

2. If I'’m currently receiving benefits, will my duration change on June 30, 2013?
No. Only those new claims filed on or after June 30, 2013 will be affected.

3. I'’ve already served a one-week waiting period. If I go back to work for a period of time and get laid off again, will I have to serve another waiting week?
No. Claimants who filed prior to June 30, 2013 and established benefit years before that date will serve only one waiting week as required under current law. Effective June 30, 2013, each claimant will be required to serve a one-week waiting period for each new claim filed.

4. How much can I earn outside of my weekly benefit payment and still get my maximum weekly benefit amount?
Effective with claims filed on or after June 30, 2013, this calculation will be changed to 20 percent of the weekly benefit amount. For example, if you are designated to receive the maximum weekly benefit amount of $350, your earnings allowance will be $70 per week.

5. If I'’m unemployed from a part-time job do I have to accept full-time work?
Yes. The new legislation, which takes effect June 30, 2013, eliminates the part-time suitable work exception. Part-time work may still be suitable work under the new law if it meets the criteria for suitable work. Under current law, if an individual is unemployed from a part-time job, the individual may not be required to accept full-time employment.

6. What is considered suitable work?
The determination of whether an employment offer is suitable will vary based upon the individual’s length of unemployment. After the 10th week of a benefit period, any employment offer paying 120 percent of the individual’s weekly benefit amount will be considered suitable work. For weeks 1 through 10 of the benefit period, virtually all of the current criteria for suitable work will be applied. Also, the individual must now be willing to accept full-time employment, beginning week 1, even though the individual customarily works part-time.

7. If I'’m attending school, does that offset receipt of severance pay?
No. It will be treated in the same manner as other separation pay. The new law does not provide for the waiver of severance pay due to the claimant’s school attendance.

8. How does the new law affect attached claims my employer may file for me?
For all attached claims filed on or after June 30, 2013, an employer may only file one attached claim per employee during the employee’s benefit year. This attached claim is limited to a maximum duration of six weeks. If an employee has a weekly benefit amount established prior to June 30, 2013, that weekly benefit amount will not change even though all the other provisions of the new attached claim law will apply. If there is no established weekly benefit amount, one will be computed using the new law’s calculations. A one-week waiting period must be served for any attached claim filed on or after June 30, 2013.
1. How will attached claims be handled?
An employer may file an attached claim only if the employer has a positive balance in its Unemployment Insurance account. If an employer does not have a positive balance, it must pay the Division an amount equal to the amount necessary to bring the employer’s negative balance to at least zero. Once this has been accomplished, there are other restrictions the employer must adhere to:
  • An employer may file an attached claim for an employee only once per year, and
  • The period of partial unemployment for which the claim is filed may not exceed six weeks, and
  • The employer must also pay the Division an amount equal to the full cost of unemployment benefits payable to the employee under the attached claim at the time the attached claim is filed.

2. How will the new law changes affect how I report wages to the Division of Employment Services each quarter?
For Unemployment Insurance purposes, wages will continue to be reported quarterly. The state’s UI taxable wage base is $20,900 for 2013.

3. How will the new law affect how I pay taxes to the Division of Employment Services each quarter?
Beginning with 3rd quarter 2013 thru 2nd quarter 2014, existing governmental and non-profit employers that choose the reimbursement method of financing benefits will be required to make payments equaling 1 percent of the taxable wages. Newly liable governmental and non-profit employers must pay tax at the rate of 1 percent of their quarterly taxable wages for the first four calendar quarters from their first date of employment. Payment should be remitted to the Division of Employment Services with an employer’s quarterly report.

4. How will I be charged for annual benefits?
Claims that are chargeable to your account will be charged the same as in previous years. Under the new law, governmental and non-profit employers must maintain a 1 percent balance in their accounts related to taxable wages. Claims that are charged will impact the balance in that account. In November of each year the Division of Employment Services will send each governmental and non-profit employer a statement to reconcile its account.

5. If I currently file a paper NCUI 101 each quarter to the Division of Employment Services, does the new law change my filing requirements?
Perhaps. The new law requires that all employers and their agents (payroll services and accountants) that report wages for at least 25 employees file the detailed wage information (name, social security number, and gross wages) in their quarterly reports in a format prescribed by DES. A penalty will be assessed for failure to comply.

6. I am an experience rated employer, how will the new law affect my unemployment insurance tax rate?
Tax rates will now be calculated by a statutory formula, which can be found in G.S. §96-9.2. The rates for 2014 range from 0.07 percent to 6.91 percent.

Additional Information:
A memorandum for employers with more information on these changes can be found on the DES website under Business Services or by clicking here.