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Mayor Muriel Bowser recently signed B 140 enacting extended qualifications for claimant eligibility in regards to COVID 19 and its effects. B 140 provides unemployment insurance eligibility to employees who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including employees who, fear for the safety of themselves in the workplace,  maybe quarantined or working for an employer that ceases operations during a public health emergency.

B 140 determines that an employee will be eligible for Unemployment benefits whether or not:

(1) the employer has provided a date certain for the employee’s return to work; or

(2) the employee has a reasonable expectation of continued employment with the current employer.

B 140 also defines the most recent work is defined as the employer for which the claimant worked at least one day and allows the Mayor to waive eligibility requirements during this period.

How does that affect an employer?

Employers will not be charged for benefits granted under this legislation. It is important, especially for tax-paying employers, to note that while this will not impact the charges on the employer’s unemployment tax rate, it will be taken out of the unemployment fund. To keep the unemployment fund at a healthy level or to replenish the fund that has been depleted during the COVID19 Pandemic, unemployment agencies are going to need to look at tax schedules, surcharges, taxable wage bases as different means to find the money needed. So while employers are not being charged directly to their unemployment tax account, they will need to prepare for unemployment increases in the years to come.

 


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