U.S. Department of Labor Fraud Alert

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued an unemployment insurance phishing fraud alertPDF.

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Continued Assistance Act – CARES Act Extension

On December 27, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Continued Assistance Act, which extends the unemployment benefits claim programs created under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). Once the legislation is enacted, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) will work to implement the new legislation as quickly as possible. However, TWC must wait on guidance from the U.S. Department of Labor before the provisions of the Act can be implemented.

Note: TWC cannot take any action prior to the effective date of any new legislation. 

 

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Overview

At the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the health and well-being of our employers, employees and communities is our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and are committed to being responsive to the needs of our customers as the situation evolves.

Note: All information regarding Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is subject to change at any time due to the changing nature of the pandemic. Please revisit this page regularly for updates.

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is working with federal, state and local government officials and agencies to help manage the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On Friday, March 13, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott declared a disaster relating to the pandemic.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring the pandemic and partnering with health agencies and health care providers to contain the spread of the illness and help people deal with its effects.

Have questions regarding COVID-19 and your business? Read our Employer FAQs.

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Sign Up for Updates

If you have been impacted by COVID-19, locate information and resources for employers seeking workers or as a jobseeker seeking employment or other support services sign-up for TWC COVID-19 updates.

Email Updates
To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

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Lunchtime Live

Texas Conference for Employers presents Lunchtime Live! 90 minute virtual sessions on employment law. Sressions run from 11:30am to 1pm. See below for registration and event details: 

October 1, 2020, 11:30a.m.-1:00p.m.: Click here to REGISTER

  • COVID-19 Paid Leave-Related Laws
  • Privacy in the Workplace
  • Unemployment Claims and Employer Chargeback Liability
  • Payroll Tax 101 discussion

October 15, 2020, 11:30a.m.-1:00p.m.: Click here to REGISTER

  • Unemployment Claims: General Overview for Employers
  • Unemployment Taxes: Chargeback and Reimbursing Employers
  • Best Practices for Maintaining a Safe Workplace
  • Payroll Tax 101 discussion

November 5, 2020, 11:30a.m.-1:00p.m.: Click here to REGISTER

  • Policies and Procedures during COVID-19
  • Allowable Workplace Health Screens & Medical Exams
  • We Hire Vets’ Recognition
  • Payroll Tax 101 discussion

November 19, 2020, 11:30a.m.-1:00p.m.: Click here to REGISTER

  • Labor Market Update 
  • TWC’s Shared Work Program
  • Managing Employees Working Remotely
  • Payroll Tax 101 discussion

December 3, 2020, 11:30a.m.-1:00p.m.: Click here to REGISTER

  • Workers’ Compensation and Covid-19
  • Civil Rights in the Workplace
  • Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • Employer Commissioner Update/Deadline dates for end and beginning of the year

December 17, 2020, 11:30a.m.-1:00p.m.: Click here to REGISTER

  • Employer Recognitions
  • 2 – 30-minute Keynote speakers

 

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Employer Work Refusal Documentation

Employee Refused Return-to-Work Offer? Let us know!

If you offered any of your employees a chance to return to work and they refused, TWC needs to know. Please report each individual who refused to return to work on our online Employer Work Refusal Documentation form.

 

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Unemployment Benefits

At present, the U.S. government and Texas legislature have not changed any laws or rules concerning unemployment benefits during the pandemic. However, Department of Labor guidance provides that federal law permits significant flexibility for states to provide Unemployment Insurance (UI) services related to COVID-19. Based on this, TWC will be waiving the waiting week for those claimants affected by COVID-19.

Employers who have had to lay off employees or reduce their hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic need to tell TWC that the employees’ job separation or reduction in hours is due to the pandemic when they respond to a Notice of Application for Unemployment Benefits. Also, if the employer has laid off multiple employees, the employer can send ONE blanket employer response for all the affected employees. Employers should include their TWC Account Number on the response. TWC will apply the response to all the affected employees who have applied for benefits.

CARES Act

Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dated March 27, 2020, individuals who are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or who otherwise would not qualify for regular Unemployment Compensation (UC) or Extended Benefits (EB) under state or federal law or Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) under section 2107 may be eligible for assistance under PUA. Coverage may also include individuals who have exhausted their benefits under regular UC or EB claims under state or federal law, or PEUC.

TWC is taking action to implement the new law and working with the Department of Labor to implement the act while continuing to work tirelessly to process unemployment insurance claims caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Thanks to the CARES Act, TWC has also protected covered employer accounts from chargeback. For more information about pandemic unemployment claims programs, see Types of Regular and Pandemic Unemployment Benefits Claims.

//twc.texas.gov/news/unemployment-news for updates and current information.

The Texas Unemployment Insurance (UI) program pays benefits to those individuals who lost their jobs through no fault of their own. TWC determines benefit eligibility based on past wages, why someone lost their job, and ongoing eligibility requirements.

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Tax Department

2021 Tax Rates

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) continues to explore options to keep the 2021 tax rates as low as possible for Texas employers as Texas and the entire nation continue to deal with the economic disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. TWC expects the 2021 tax rate notices will be mailed to Texas employers in February 2021. TWC is closely monitoring discussions by Congress regarding potential relief legislation to help limit the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on 2021 tax rates.

In previous years, employer tax rates were released in December before the next calendar year. Over the next month, TWC will pursue all possible avenues to keep tax rates as low as possible and announce the year’s tax rate in February 2021. At that time, employers will also be able to view their 2021 tax rate using the TWC Unemployment Tax Services system. A February 2021 notification will give employers sufficient time to update their programs, notify their service agents and submit their first 2021 tax report in April 2021.

Employer-paid UI taxes replenish the Texas Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund, which provides temporary income for Texas workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. TWC calculates experience-rated employers’ tax rates as of October 1 to be effective for the following calendar year, and mails notices of the rates to employers.

In addition to exploring options to keep the 2021 tax rates as low as possible for Texas employers, TWC is taking an aggressive approach to eliminate fraud, waste, and abuse of all kinds in the programs the agency administers. By responding promptly to notices when a former employee applies for unemployment benefits and responding to earnings information requests on claimants, you can help the public avoid overpayments and fraud which costs all employers.

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Reimbursing Employer – CARES Act and Billing Statements

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has extended the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarter 2020 payment due dates for reimbursing employers to March 1, 2021. This extension applies to non-profits, local governments, school districts, and other qualifying employers who reimburse TWC for the full amount of unemployment benefits to be paid to eligible former employees. 

This extension does not remove the employer’s requirement to file their tax reports and report worker wages in a timely manner. While the extension does not reduce or eliminate any payment for reimbursing employers, it does waive interest charges during the same time period. The primary purpose of this extension is to provide reimbursing employers more time to secure resources to meet these and other liabilities as they deal with the implications of COVID-19.

Reimbursing employers are starting to receive their eligible 50% CARES credit. The CARES Credit will offset eligible charges. Employers will be receiving updates by the end of the year. 

Benefit Statements were sent out to employers as follows: 

  • 1st Quarter 2020 corrections were mailed out 11-30-20 with applicable CARES Act Credit. The corrected amount due for the quarter is reflected on the pay by line. 
  • 2nd Quarter 2020 corrections were mailed out 11-30-20 with applicable CARES Act Credit. The corrected amount due for the quarter is reflected on the pay by line.
  • 3rd Quarter 2020 statements with CARES Act credit were sent out 10-30-20.

Employers who have won appeal decisions should note the following: 

  • Chargebacks are updated quarterly.
  • Reversals will usually display on the following statement received as a negative figure and will be used to offset any new charge. 
  • Appeal decision reversals will normally result in a reduction of the CARES credit equal to 50%. 

In response to your specific question, please see the following Questions and Answer sections:

Issue: I received Default Notices saying that I must pay before the due date on the statements or the TWC communications.

Response: Please ignore any Default Notice involving 2020 until after 03-01-2021.

Issue: I received a Report Due Notice, but I already filed the report.

Response: Please ignore any Report Due Notices until after 03-01-2021 if you have previously filed your 1st quarter, 2nd quarter or 3rd quarter 2020 tax reports. 

Issue: Why have I received multiple statements for the same quarter?

Response: Updated and corrected 1Q20 and 2Q20 statements were mailed out with the date 11-30-20 and reflect the updated chargebacks amounts applied to your account, as well as any applicable 50% CARES payments. You may keep any prior 11-30-20 dated statements as a record or you may disregard. 

Issue: Why do the reissued statements have different charges amounts compared prior statements?

Response: Waiting weeks from 04-04-20 to 12-26-20 will not be charged to your employer account, at all, and have been removed from the new statements issued on 11-30-20. This is a net benefit for your account – reflecting a total removal versus just 50% credit due to the CARES Act. 

Issue: I had filed an appeal and won, but I am still seeing the charges on my statement? 

Response: Chargeback information is updated quarterly for your account. You should see the removal (negative amount) on the next benefits statement that you receive. Note: if you win an appeal and the charge is removed, your CARES credit awarded for those charges will also be removed. 

Issue: Why does my CARES Credit not equal 50 percent of charges?

Response: The CARES credit is awarded for all eligible charges. Not all charges are eligible for the CARES credit. 

Issue: I am unable to reconcile my account with the information provided on the C-58R statements. How do I rectify my account?

Response: The information on the statements will reflect the correct charges, adjustments, and CARES payment amount for each quarter. However, you may need to review each statement, your Unemployment Tax Services (UTS) online portal, and your statement of employer account, form C-69. TWC will be able to assist with the amount due or potential credit owed back to you, and you may contact us using one of the links below. 

Please choose the best applicable contact but know that your questions will be forwarded to the appropriate department for response.                                   

Chargeback Questions

Fraud Issues

Appeals

CARES Credit Refund

Remittance Extension

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Responding to Chargebacks Through TWC’s Employer Benefits Services Portal

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) encourages employers to respond to the Notice of Potential Chargeback through the Other Services feature on the Employer Benefits Services (EBS) portal. Responding to a Notice of Maximum Potential Chargeback through the EBS portal allows employers to view, respond to, and submit the notices electronically.

This online feature provides 24/7 access to the online Other Services site, security, immediate updates and changes, and checks and balances – validation so errors are caught and corrected immediately.

To protest a Chargeback, an employer must do so within 30 calendar days of the date the notice was mailed. If the employer does not respond to the Notice of Maximum Potential Chargeback, they will be charged. 

Note: Filing timely is critical to avoid charges and utilizing the EBS portal can prevent mail delays.

Responding to the Notice of Potential Chargeback protects the employer’s tax rate and ensures that benefits are properly paid to claimants. By responding timely, employers ensure the right to appeal a Chargeback.

To respond a Notice of Maximum potential Chargeback electronically:

You can also respond to a chargeback notice by completing the back of the form and faxing or mailing it to TWC. The back of the notice allows you to provide the reason the claimant is no longer working for you.

Fax: 512-305-9687

Mail:
Texas Workforce Commission
Chargeback Determination Unit
P.O. Box 149137
Austin, TX  78714-9137

For more information, see: 

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Appeals Notice

Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) Appeals hearings are proceeding as scheduled. If you have a hearing scheduled, please participate according to the directions on the Notice of Hearing. If you have any questions or concerns about participating in the hearing related to COVID-19, please contact your hearing officer directly using the contact information on your Notice of Hearing

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Precautions for Employers

The CDC recommends that all employers consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace in the event that the illness spreads. All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. The CDC has prepared a list of recommended strategies to help employers contain the spread of the illness within their workplace:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home
  • Separate sick employees in the workplace and send them home
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees by posting informational posters and setting up multiple hand hygiene stations
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning and provide disposable wipes for employees to use
  • Get the latest information regarding travel safety
  • Communicate your attendance expectations to your employees

The CDC also recommends that employers create a flexible plan to manage sick leave policy and attendance issues, and to implement working remotely and avoiding holding meetings in close quarters. For more information, see: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html.

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Mass Claims and Shared Work Programs

Facing Layoffs? Check out TWC’s Mass Claims Program

If you have to close your business either temporarily or permanently and need to lay off employees, you may be able to submit a mass claim for unemployment benefits on their behalf. The Mass Claims program streamlines the unemployment benefit claims process for employers faced with either temporary or permanent layoffs. Employers can submit basic worker information on behalf of their employees to initiate claims for unemployment benefits before the layoff date or up to seven days after the layoff. You can submit a mass claim request on Employer Benefits Services (EBS) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To submit your Mass Claim, log on to EBS and select Mass Claims Request. Note: We have waived the requirement that you must submit your Mass Claims Request at least five days prior to the planned layoff.

If you encounter any problems and are unable to submit your request using your EBS portal, please email us at ui.massclaims@twc.state.tx.us with a description of your problem. Our Mass Claims department will contact you to determine what action is needed.

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Need to Reduce Employee Hours? Check out TWC’s Shared Work Program

If your business has slowed down due to the pandemic and you need to reduce employee working hours, you may be able to avoid laying off employees by submitting a shared work plan. The Shared Work program provides Texas employers with an alternative to layoffs. TWC developed this voluntary program to help Texas employers and employees withstand a slowdown in business.

Shared Work allows employers to:

  • Supplement their employees’ wages lost because of reduced work hours with partial unemployment benefits.
  • Reduce normal weekly work hours for employees in an affected unit by at least 10 percent but not more than 40 percent; the reduction must affect at least 10 percent of the employees in that unit.

Notification for Employers

Shared Work unemployment benefits are payable to employees who qualify for and participate in an approved Shared Work Plan. Workers may choose not to participate. Employees who qualify will receive both wages and Shared Work unemployment benefits.

In order for a salaried exempt employee to participate in Shared Work, their hours worked and salary must be reduced based on Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) guidelines. If you have questions on FLSA guidelines, please contact the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.

Claimants who do not have enough wages in their base period to qualify for regular unemployment insurance (UI) are not eligible for the Shared Work program. If such a claimant was included on a Shared Work application, they will be removed from the employer’s Shared Work plan.

Claimants who do not qualify for the Shared Work program or regular UI may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is a program authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that provides unemployment benefits to individuals who do not qualify for or have exhausted their regular UI benefits. These claimants must file an individual regular UI claim (outside of the Shared Work program) and TWC will determine PUA eligibility. While receiving PUA, these claimants must request payment every two weeks and report their work and earnings. TWC will deduct any earnings from their weekly PUA benefit amount.

To apply for benefits online, see Unemployment Benefits Services: https://twc.texas.gov/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-services

For more information, see TWC’s Shared Work web page.

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Return-to-Work Information

Electronically submit return-to-work information to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).

Submit your return-to-work information by logging on to our Employer Benefits Services (EBS) portal. The Return to Work online program allows you to easily report a return-to-work date for employees before or after the layoff. You can submit return-to-work information either by:

  • Entering individual employee Social Security numbers (SSNs)
  • Uploading a list of employee SSNs
  • Submitting a return-to-work date statewide for a large group of employees located throughout the state with an unemployment benefits claim.

There is no limit on the number of employees that you can submit. TWC will exempt employees from work searches when they have a return-to-work date within 12 weeks of their layoff date and confirmed by the employer. Submitting a return-to-work date increases your chances of retaining your employees and ensures that TWC will stop paying them unemployment benefits after they return to work.

Note: If the return-to-work date exceeds 12 weeks from the date of layoff, the work search exemption requires the approval of our Executive Director. To request a work search exemption for a return-to-work date exceeding 12 weeks, please submit your request through our secure, online portal, UI Submission Upload-Employers Only. You can also fax or mail the information to: 

  • Fax: (512) 463-2754
  • Mail:
    Texas Workforce Commission
    P.O. Box 149137
    Austin, TX  78714-9137
    Attn: Work Search Exemptions

The request should include your company name, TWC account number, number of employees laid off, date of layoff, and the return-to-work date. If the exemption is approved, the employer must provide employee names and SSNs.

Need Help?

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Fraud Prevention

Alert! Be aware of unemployment insurance scams and fraudulent phone calls. Do not give your personally identifiable information like your date of birth or your Social Security number to anyone you are not sure of.

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