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Pennsylvania Approves Legislation Requiring Employers to Notify Separating Employees of Unemployment Compensation Information

Posted: May 22, 2020

Pennsylvania legislation enacted on March 27, 2020, requires employers to provide all terminated, furloughed, or voluntarily separating employees with certain information related to unemployment compensation benefits. The new law, Act 9 of 2020, is one of the many statewide efforts to assist the thousands of Pennsylvanians losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Act, found here, amends Pennsylvania’s Unemployment Compensation Act to add Section 206.1, and requires employers to notify separating employees of:

  1. Availability of unemployment compensation benefits to workers who are unemployed and who meet the requirements of the Act;
  2. Ability of an employee to file an unemployment compensation claim in the first week that employment stops or work hours are reduced;
  3. Availability of assistance or information about an unemployment compensation claim on the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s publicly accessible website at www.uc.pa.gov, or by calling the Department’s toll-free numbers – 888-313-7284 or 888-334-4046 (TTY) – which the employer shall provide;
  4. Requirement that the employee provide 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, authorization to work in the United States.

Employers must notify employees of this information at the time of separation from employment.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry released Form UC-1609, found here, which employers may use to provide some information to employees at the time of separation.  Employers may also refer their separating employees to the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Filing Materials Checklist, found here, which helps the employee gather the information they need to file their unemployment compensation benefits claim.  Note, however, that neither Form UC-1609 nor the Checklist include all the information required under the new Act 9 of 2020.

In addition to new notification requirements, Act 9 of 2020 also provides certain waivers, including waiver of the one-week waiting period for all claimants for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency.  The Act also provides relief from benefit charges for any employer whose account would otherwise be charged under Section 302 if a claimant’s unemployment claim is related to the COVID-19 outbreak or the efforts of public officials to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19.  The Act provides that the waiver and relief requirements will expire on January 1, 2021.  The Act does not provide an expiration date for the above notification requirements.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss how these laws will impact your business, please contact your regular Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP labor and employment attorney.