Compliance with the unemployment insurance program requirements is a complicated process for many employers. Employers must register; maintain postings; keep account information and records; and submit filings, reports, and payments on time. Every employer who pays covered wages must comply, regardless of business size. There are special rules for some types of employers, including agricultural and domestic employers, but the obligations for employers otherwise apply quite broadly. After complying with these requirements, employers must then address the eligibility for each former employee.
Whether an individual employee is eligible for unemployment benefits in Minnesota is often a complicated question. Eligibility requires at least the following:
1. Sufficient earnings. The base period for this measurement is the last 52 weeks;
2. Legal authorization to work in the United States;
3. Complete unemployment, or substantially reduced hours, from other than the employee's fault;
4. Active attempts to obtain additional or replacement employment every week; and
5. Availability and willingness to begin suitable work when offered.
The most commonly disputed issue by far is whether the employment ended without the employee's fault. Employees seeking unemployment, and employers paying it, have a significant stake in the outcome of these determinations. Because of this commonly encountered issue, Minnesota has a fairly streamlined procedure in place.
Employees can apply online or by telephone. The Department of Employment and Economic Development verifies employment and wage information and allows the employer an opportunity to contest the application. The agency will make an initial determination based on the submitted information. Either party may appeal the determination. Appeals are held before a specially appointed hearing officer, called an unemployment law judge ("ULJ"). Either party can further appeal the decision of the ULJ via a request for reconsideration and then via an appeal to the Court of Appeals.
Employees with decisions pending reconsideration or appeal must continue to make the required, weekly submissions for eligibility for benefits.
The attorneys at WLG can help you navigate these complicated procedures and requirements. Call to schedule an appointment today.