In the Greater Williamsburg area, many small businesses face seasonal layoffs when the summer tourism season ends. For small businesses, these layoffs lead to questions regarding unemployment compensation. In this blog post, we will discuss the issue of when an employer can be liable for the unemployment compensation for a terminated employee.
Generally speaking, an employee terminated by you may be otherwise eligible for unemployment benefits, chargeable to your company if:
- you were the last employer for the employee, and
- that employee worked at least 30 days or 240 hours, and
- that employee was not terminated for cause.
The basic qualifications for unemployment compensation are:
- The employee must have been employed and earned a certain amount of wages. The Virginia Employment Commission publishes requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time referred to as a “base period.”
- The employee must be determined to be unemployed through no fault of their own. An employee terminated for cause is not eligible for unemployment.
Once you have been determined to be the “employer” liable for unemployment compensation, you are responsible for all the benefits payable to that former employee. Unless extended benefits have been approved, the maximum benefit is 26 times the weekly benefits payable to the employee.
The weekly benefits are found in a table at Virginia Code § 60.1-602. This table is regularly updated, it tells you how much a person would receive per week in unemployment, based upon the amount they made when employed. For example, if a person made $6,300 in the prior twelve weeks when employed, he would receive $125 per week in unemployment, and a total of $3,250, if he were employed for the entire 26-week period.
The possibility of being liable for unemployment compensation worries many small business owners. Discuss the issue with your business attorney so that you can plan properly for your employment needs.
Tarley Robinson, PLC, Attorneys and Counsellors at Law
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