If you are an employer who has benefit charges against your Department of Labor employer account in calendar year 2021, you may be eligible for benefit charge relief for those claims. The information below includes specific requirements each scenario must meet in order to qualify for relief. The application is currently available on the Department’s website and the application period will close on October 31, 2021.
**This application is specific to only unemployment insurance charges for months within calendar year 2021, and before the end of the Governor's declared State of Emergency, which ended on June 15, 2021.
**Please remember: All benefit charges for calendar year 2020 were automatically relieved for all employers and there is no need to apply for relief of those charges.
Employers will be required to submit the following information:
- Business Information including the name of employer or business, VDOL seven-digit employer number, point of contact (name), phone number, and email.
- Claimant information for the individual(s) requesting relief of charges from, including the employee’s name and last four digits of their SSN.
- Clearly identify each month during 2021 the employer is seeking to be relieved of charges for.
- Demonstrate that the reason for separation still exists and meets the COVID-19 charge relief eligibility criteria.
IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR CHARGE RELIEF, YOU MUST MEET THE BELOW CRITERIA
STEP 1) To receive charge relief for 2021, employers must demonstrate that the reason for separation was directly related to one of the following COVID-19 related reasons:
- The individual voluntarily separated from employment due to a COVID-19 related reason.
- The employer temporarily closed (partially or fully) in response to a request from a public health authority with jurisdiction because of COVID-19, in response to a directive by the Governor or President related to COVID-19, or if the employer temporarily closed due to actual exposure of COVID-19 in the workplace.
- The individual (claimant) became unemployed because of a change or reduction in the employer’s operation at the claimant’s workplace as a direct result of the state of emergency, public health order, or public health directive.
- The employer temporarily laid off the individual based on a recommendation or request by a medical professional that the individual be isolated or quarantined.
STEP 2) To receive charge relief for 2021, employers must demonstrate that the employer meets one of the following rehiring requirements:
- The employer offered to rehire the employee within 30 days after the reason for separation no longer exists (e.g., restrictions were lifted on capacity, allowing a restaurant to return to full capacity, the individual was no longer recommended to isolate or quarantine).
- The employer can demonstrate that there was good cause for failing to rehire or offer to rehire the employee within 30 days after the reason for separation no longer exists.
You will be required to provide information on how you meet the requirements above, and additional documentation may be required. The Department will investigate applications, as appropriate, and the employer must be able to provide evidence to satisfy both steps identified above in the event the Department requests information. Failure to provide sufficient documentation when requested will result in charges being reapplied to your experience rating account and may result in additional fraud penalties of up to $5,000 per employee, per application.
Applications will be accepted through October 31, 2021 and will apply to charges incurred in 2021 as a direct result of COVID-19. New claims for UI benefits submitted after the expiration of the Governor’s declared State of Emergency, June 15, 2021, will not be eligible for charge relief.
Employers will receive a determination on their submission upon review and each eligibility determination will be afforded appeal rights. It is important to note that charge relief for 2021 will not impact an employer’s experience rate until the beginning of Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1, 2022).
All determinations will be made no later than March 31, 2022, to ensure employers can appeal the decision, if appropriate, and to ensure Department of Labor staff are able to run the necessary calculations to determine the employer’s tax rating for the following fiscal year.