Unemployment Cost Control

UNEMPLOYMENT COST CONTROL

Administration Taxes and Auditing
Appeal Process Claims Administration and Hearing Representation
Consultation

 


Administration

  • Claims processing
  • State inquiry responses
  • Tax rate analysis
  • Benefit charge management

Taxes and Auditing

  • Verification of state unemployment insurance tax rates
  • Audit of benefit charges
  • Verification of benefit credits due
  • Voluntary contribution recommendation
  • Tax rate consolidation for mergers and acquisitions

Appeal Process

  • Appeal preparation
  • Hearing representation
  • Tax hearing representation
  • Written arguments to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board

Claims Administration and Hearing Representation

  • Analyze separation information to determine if it is a protestable case
  • Respond to appropriate agency within the statutory guidelines
  • Appeal unfavorable decisions
  • Gather the essential evidence to present at hearings
  • Represent clients at hearings
  • Prepare witnesses

Consultation

  • Case-by-case consultation aimed at preventing liabilities
  • Review and development of personnel policies, practices, and procedures
  • Training for supervision on proper documentation
  • Seminars for key personnel
  • Periodic reports and newsletter

 


The administration of unemployment compensation cannot be left to chance.

Each quarter you, as an employer, are required to deposit unemployment taxes in an account specifically set up to pay unemployment benefits. The amount you have to pay into the account is determined by the amount you have paid out in benefits on a dollar-for-dollar basis. (For multi-state employers it should be noted that each state varies in its regulations. Potts & Associates offers the expertise necessary to assist its clients in every state.)

The fastest way to reduce your company’s unemployment taxes is to produce an efficient and consistent effort. Potts & Associates can provide a program that will cut your operating expenses while reducing your personnel staff’s workload and complying with all government regulations. We do not rely on a single system, but rather a combination of people, procedures, and utilization of sophisticated data processing equipment to obtain the best results for your company.

We will customize a program for your company to meet the following objectives:

  • Provide an experienced staff and cost-effective method of monitoring your unemployment activity
  • Project an annual tax saving for unemployment insurance
  • Reduce the burden on your staff by handling all unemployment-related matters

The program will include:

  • Administrative services
  • Tax analysis
  • Auditing
  • Representation before state agencies
  • Continuing education
  • Consultation (24 hours a day, seven days a week 365 days a year)

The implementation process is simple and includes an orientation program with key personnel. An HR representative is assigned to you with a team eager to assist your personnel staff.

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Tax Analysis

Most employers are aware that the true measuring rod of the services provided is the reduction of their unemployment tax rate. They are not normally aware that this reduction is brought about through a number of integrated steps.

We ask our clients to send us copies of their quarterly contribution reports so that we can verify the accuracy of each report, and confirm with the state that the amount you are reporting is being properly credited to your reserve account. When the state issues your new tax rate, we verify the information the state used to calculate your rate. The appropriate action is taken when errors are found. We maintain these records for a period of seven years.

Many states now permit voluntary contributions. The key is to remember that it is permitted only once a year. Our staff will calculate your contribution and determine if a voluntary contribution is to your benefit by way of a tax rate reduction. If it is to your benefit, our staff will recommend the additional payment into your reserve account, get the lower tax rate, and calculate the savings based on the lower rate.

Mergers and acquisitions are additional areas where there may be savings. Our staff will combine the reserve accounts of the merging companies and calculate a new tax rate based on the numbers. There are times when it is not feasible to combine tax rates. Our staff will discuss those options at the appropriate time.

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Auditing

Potts & Associates has emulated the various state systems that determine your liability on a per-claim basis. This same system permits P&A to monitor all claims for the duration of benefits and collates all information received, such as claims, determinations, and benefit charges. This information is used to verify the state’s accuracy in paying benefits.

In addition, your annual tax rate is verified upon receipt. This rate is computed from your beginning reserve balance, quarterly contributions, and benefit charges, each of which is independently verified for accuracy and then computed to determine your tax rate. All state errors are immediately protested in writing. A credit is then obtained and placed back in your reserve account. If the credit results in lowering your rate, the state will issue a refund check to reimburse you for the overpayment.

P&A provides a quarterly activity report. Upon request, reports can be generated on either a semi-annual or annual basis. A report can be generated by state, region, division, or location.

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Appeal Process

Each protested unemployment insurance claim receives either a favorable or unfavorable decision. In the event the decision is unfavorable, an appeal is processed immediately. Additional information is gathered based upon the reasoning of the department representative who rendered the decision. Information gathered may include additional documentation or statements from witnesses. In the event that the decision is favorable for the employer, and the former employee files an appeal, additional information is obtained based upon the information contained in the claimant’s letter of appeal. Again, this may include additional documentation or statements from witnesses.

When an appeal has been filed, the various unemployment offices will process the appeal for the matter to be set for a hearing before an administrative law judge. Upon receiving the hearing notice, a staff member from P&A will immediately forward a copy of the notice to the employer contact. Shortly thereafter, the hearing representative will contact the appropriate witness, or witnesses, if such a witness is necessary. All witnesses are prepared prior to the hearing date. Preparation includes going over all the facts and explanations of the key issues involved. On the hearing day, all witnesses are requested to appear prior to the start of proceedings for an additional recap of the facts and issues and to be informed of the hearing protocols. The hearing representative will submit all pertinent documentation into evidence and guide the witnesses through the hearing. After the hearing has concluded, the hearing representative conducts a briefing to explain the positive and negative aspects of the case.

After the hearing process has been concluded, each party to the hearing has an opportunity to appeal any unfavorable decision to the appropriate appeals board. This process is done entirely by the hearing representative through written argument; no new evidence will be considered or accepted.

As a part of the continuing process to monitor a client’s unemployment tax account, the staff of P&A will audit all benefit charge statements received from the various state unemployment agencies. Depending on the state, the auditing can be monthly, semi-annually or annual. Unwarranted charges can range from erroneous calculations by the state to improper assessments based upon subsequent favorable decisions not effectively communicated to the assessment unit. The staff of P&A will process a letter of appeal based solely on the erroneous amount charged to the employer’s reserve account. These tax hearings are attended by a representative from P&A without the necessity of the employer furnishing witnesses. Following a favorable decision, the dollar amount in question is automatically credited to the employer’s reserve account. Receipt of these credits is confirmed by a representative from P&A.

 

 

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Claims Administration and Hearing Representation

P&A established its claims control program to respond to all requests regarding individual claims. When an individual is separated from employment, that individual’s supervisor completes a separation report or termination letter. These forms are forwarded to us and placed on file for future reference should a claim be filed.

When the initial claims are received they are forwarded to P&A with a copy of the separation report. Upon receipt P&A will respond within the statutory time prescribed by law. When the state issues its decision, P&A will receive a copy and appeal, as applicable, all unfavorable decisions. P&A will request a hearing and provide representation. In the event that a favorable decision is issued and appealed by the claimant, P&A will provide representation.

Base period claims will come directly to P&A, which will, upon receipt, pull the information and proceed accordingly. If P&A receives any claim without the appropriate information attached, P&A will contact the client to obtain the information.

P&A will be your authorized representative before the various state agencies and, as such, will be responsible for processing all unemployment insurance claims. If there are any reasons why unemployment benefits should not be paid, this information will be forwarded to the state. All information communicated to the state should be through one focal point. Because the guidelines established by the state can be extremely technical, the deciding factor as to whether unemployment benefits are paid may not be what the employer says but how it is said. P&A communicates all responses clearly and concisely.

When determinations are received from the various state agencies, our staff reviews the decision. If the state issues a decision that is not warranted, an appeal is filed immediately. Upon receiving a notice for a hearing, our staff will immediately contact you and discuss witnesses and case preparation. A representative of P&A will attend the hearing. If a witness is necessary, he/she will be interviewed in advance and prepared for the hearing. When a written appeal is applicable, our staff will respond in a timely and efficient manner. All written appeals are based on the transcripts and evidence submitted at the prior hearing.

P&A’s management reporting system is designed to provide all data necessary to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the unemployment cost control program. Each quarter, you will receive a report of all activities undertaken by P&A, including claims filed, appeals, hearings, and board appeals, with the names of each claimant and the disposition. The reports are customized for each client to reflect claims and hearing activity by state and by location within the state.

 

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Consultation

The well-trained staff of P&A can analyze a situation and determine whether there is a problem, not only for unemployment insurance claims but also for other high-impact areas of the law.

P&A recognizes that all businesses do not operate between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Situations arise during the later work shifts that may require immediate action. P&A is proud of the fact that we offer consultation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays.

The ability to handle these situations on an as-needed basis may be critical to the outcome. Clearly this benefit gives P&A a distinct advantage over its competitors.

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