Changes in Pennsylvania Appeals Procedures & More

2017- Look for Changes in Pennsylvania Appeals, Determination Procedures, Reporting of Separation Information and UI Eligibility Requirements.
Enforcement of ACT 75:
Pennsylvania is also now enforcing Act 75. Although passed in 2013, it was never enforced.
What is Act 75? This legislation set up guideline for penalizing employers if an overpayment is established because the employer failed to provide “adequate” information at the time of the Notice of Application OR when the employer responded to the Employer Questionnaire, the employer will be liable for the charges up to the point in which the claimant is disqualified.
UCM has kept up this changing legislation since enacted in 2013. Each state has enforced the legislations differently. It is a logical conclusion with the closing of office, laying off- of referees, and other cost cutting moves by the state, this will be pursued as a source of income.
This will result in more appeals and more hearings by employers to protest rulings of overpayment penalties. More hearing will be required. This does seem to appear to be a paradox to the support cutbacks made by Harrisburg.
The only perceived possible benefit to employers will be in the extension of time allotted in providing and appealing claims.  This time frame will ultimately be extended because two deadlines for an appeal will now exist in opposed to the current one time frame and appeal to the ruling.
The state will now issue two forms requesting separation information. 1). When the Initial Claim Request for Information is sent and 2). When the Employer Questionnaire is issued. A due date will be issued on both forms.
Vague responses to employer terminations or resignations will not be adequate moving forward. UCM suggests issuing information to your managers or supervisors who are responsible for termination paperwork. Explain the need for well-defined explanations to the separation. Use a standard and companywide issued separation/termination form accompanied by a signature from the manager or supervisor and the employee.

UCM provides manual, forms, and policy drafting services. Please contact us at 888-291-0516 for assistance.

Other Changes in Pennsylvania:

Consolidation of Hearing Locations:
Hearing locations will be consolidated and moved to different counties. The radius for travel was previously approximately 45 miles. These closures will ultimately result in the need for more telephone hearings. The efficiency of Telephonic Appeal Hearings has been realized by most the of the United States. Moving forward we hope to see this change be a benefit to employers.

Service Center Closing:
PA has already closed three UC Service Centers, and laid off those employees.

UI State Worker Lay Offs:
Employees from closed office have not been relocated.

Referee Lay Offs:
To date an estimated 12-14 referees have been laid off. UCM anticipates a stricter enforcement of the standard one hour time frame allotted for hearings. In the past one party was afforded telephone participation without the hearing being officially scheduled as a telephone hearing.

When a hearing is classified as a “telephone hearing” the hearing file is required to be sent via mail to all parties. Claimants and Employers are required to send any exhibits to the state and to the other party at a minimum of five days prior to the scheduled hearing via USPS.

This is a small price to pay to the reclassification of in person to telephonic hearings. UCM feels telephone hearings a more efficient process.
Eligibility Requirement Changes:
HB-319 relaxed the monetary eligibility requirements for UI allowing it easier for employees to be eligible for UI Benefits. This is particularly the case for seasonal or cyclical industry workers, such as those in the construction industry, where incomes as a norm vary from quarter to quarter.
18 credit weeks (currently defined as at least $116) with 49.5% of wages earned in other than the high quarter.
18 credit weeks with 37% of wages earned in other than the high quarter. In other words, a worker can earn 63% of his/her base period earnings in the high quarter and still qualify for UI.
This returns the cap or maximum back to its pre-2012 level.
(Additional details can be found at:
states acknowledge that violation of such an extensively outlined policy amounts to misconduct in my opinion because it offers chances to redeem points not just receive negative points.

If you are interested in amending your Attendance Policy UCM offers handbook review and writing “a la carte” services. 

State Changes:
The following are state changes. Please take note.
In February 2016, the Iowa Workforce Development agency (IWD) announced plans to both launch an app to allow UI claimants ¬¬The new system is up and running. Claimants who are unable to file online using their smart phone or tablet device can contact IWD Customer Service Representatives, who are working under a limited capacity during the transition period. Assistance is also available at all Iowa Works offices: (Follow Link)
Changes to Seasonal Employer Provision that went into effect on Nov.1, 2016:
A minimum of a 20 day before the seasonal work period, Employers must apply to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) for Seasonal Worker Approval.
– Seasonal employers must notify employees of their seasonal status in writing within the first seven days of the seasonal work period, as well as beginning-and-end dates of the seasonal work period. Written notification must also advise employees of their right to file an application for UI benefits at the end of the seasonal work period, while specifically indicating that the employee can continue filing timely certifications to preserve rights to any potential retroactive benefits.
– Benefits will not be paid for services performed during any week of unemployment that begins during the period between two successive normal seasonal work periods, assuming that the employee works during the first of the normal seasonal work periods. There must also be reasonable assurance that the employee will perform the service for a seasonal employer in the second of the normal seasonal work periods. A written notice of reasonable assurance must be provided to the employee by the employer on or before the last day of work in the season.
– “Seasonal employer” is defined and designated by the OESC as a non-construction industry employer with operations and business needs that require employees “to be engaged in seasonal employment.”
(The full text of the new law can be found here:

2017 Unemployment Cost Management Specialists | Unemployment Claims Management Solutions | Unemployment Cost Control