Record snowfall, damaging windstorms, and torrential downpours, oh my! Isn’t even officially winter and the entire country is already experiencing the extreme weather that it is known to produce. It is also the time of year that Corporate Cost Control answers “what if” questions when the weather impacts business operations. We thought it would be timely to share with you our most common questions and the likely outcome from the state unemployment agency.

 The weather has caused me to have to close my business for a few days, are my employees eligible for unemployment benefits?

The short answer is yes. Of course, it’s never just that simple! The following will also determine if benefits will be paid:

 My business had to close permanently because the weather destroyed, the building, equipment, etc. Are my employees able to collect unemployment benefits?

Yes, your employees would be eligible. Fortunately, a number of states grant the employer noncharging for benefits collected as a result of an officially declared natural disaster, typically by the President of the United States. The following states have this provision:

NDNC States

My employee was unable to get to work because of the weather. They already had an attendance issue. If we discharge them, are they eligible for unemployment benefits?

In most states, the final reason for a discharge must be for misconduct (intentional, within the employee’s control) to obtain a denial of benefits. Only then does the state look at the other incidents. Due to the weather being the reason that employee missed work, this is not within their control and in most states would not be seen as misconduct, therefore granting them unemployment benefits.

It is because of incidents such as this that having a clear but flexible attendance policy is beneficial to the employer. If the employee has a reasonable explanation, it is beneficial to provide excused absences when absences are due to something out of the employee’s control and wait to discharge when they are intentionally violating the employer’s policies.

It is most important that you follow your guidelines as outlined in your company handbook. All policies must be enforced consistently. If you have a policy that does not provide the latitude to consider this excused, then this would be simply the cost of doing business.

My employee asked to go home early due to the weather and was refused. They left early anyway. We fired them for insubordination. Will they be eligible for unemployment benefits?

In most instances, this is again a yes. If an employee felt there was a significant risk to their safety, the state agency will likely side with the employee, agreeing that for safety reasons the employee needed to leave work.

Corporate Cost Control is a resource for all our clients’ unemployment questions. While these are the most common questions we receive when we have extreme weather situations, we are certain there are more. Please contact your Claims Analyst, Hearing Coordinator or Account Executive to discuss any unemployment issue you may have and find out how it will affect your unemployment budget.

Not a CCC client? Contact us at info@corporatecostcontrol.com or (800)207-6926.

 


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