What does in mean when an Employer is seeking relief of charges?

If you are filing or have filed for unemployment compensation benefits (“UC Benefits”) and you receive a Notice of Hearing stating your employer is seeking a relief from charges under Section 302.1(a)(1), (2), (3), (4) of the Unemployment Compensation Law (“Law”), there is no need to panic.
Under Section 302.1(a) of the Law, the employer is basically asking for relief in regards to paying your UC Benefits. This may sound a little confusing but employers that paid wages to the Claimant in the base year are charged for the Claimant’s UC Benefits. For example, if an employer paid 100% of the Claimant’s base year earnings (which are used to calculate and determine the Claimant’s UC Benefit eligibility), that employer is responsible for paying 100% of the UC Benefits paid to the Claimant. If an employer only paid 75% of the Claimant’s base year earnings, that employer is only responsible for 75% of the Claimant’s UC Benefits.

What does Section 302.1(a) of the Law state?

Section 302.1(a) specifically states that:

Notwithstanding any other provisions of this act assigning charges for compensation paid to employees, the department shall relieve an employer of charges for compensation in accordance with this section and section 213 of this act.

When is an employer granted relief from charges?

Section 302.1(a) only allows relief in certain circumstances:

(1) If an individual was separated from his most recent work for an employer due to being discharged for willful misconduct connected with that work, or due to his leaving that work without good cause attributable to his employment, or due to his being separated from such work under conditions which would result in disqualification for benefits under the provisions of section 3 or 402(e.1) of this act, the employer shall be relieved of charges for compensation paid to the individual with respect to any week of unemployment occurring subsequent to such separation. Relief from charges under this paragraph terminates if the employee returns to work for the employer.

(2) If an individual’s unemployment is directly caused by a major natural disaster declared by the President of the United States pursuant to section 102(1) of the Disaster Relief Act of 1970 (Public Law 91-606, 42 U.S.C. § 4401 et seq.) and the individual would have been eligible for disaster unemployment assistance as provided in section 240 of the Disaster Relief Act of 1970 with respect to that unemployment but for the receipt of unemployment compensation, an employer shall be relieved of charges for compensation paid to such individual with respect to any week of unemployment occurring due to the natural disaster, to a maximum of the eight weeks immediately following the declaration of emergency by the President of the United States.

(3) If an individual subsequent to separation from his work is engaged in part-time work for a base year employer, other than a base year employer from whom he has separated, the part-time employer shall be relieved of charges for compensation paid to the individual with respect to any week of unemployment occurring subsequent to the separation and while such part-time work continues without material change.

(4)If the department finds that an individual was separated from his most recent work for an employer due to a cessation of business of eighteen (18) months or less caused by a disaster, the employer may be relieved of charges for compensation paid to such individual with respect to any week of unemployment occurring subsequent to that separation. Relief from charges under this paragraph terminates if the employee returns to work for the employer.

In other words, an Employer can only seek relief from charges of UC Benefits if: (1) an employee was discharged for willful misconduct, quit without necessitous and compelling reasons or became separated from the employer in a way that would disqualify them from UC Benefits, (2) an employee’s discharge is the direct result of a natural disaster, (3) after an employee becomes separated from his employer, he/she engages in part-time work for an employer other than his/her base year employer and (4) an employee was separated from his/her job because of a cessation of business for eighteen (18) months.

These are the only circumstances where an employer will be relieved of charges. If an employer is granted a relief from charges, the Department will remove charges that are included in the relief determination. No further charges will be applied to the employer.

If an employer is granted a relief from charges, it should not have any impact of the Claimant’s UC Benefit status. However, it is the Claimant’s best interest to consult with the UC Service Center or an attorney to be positive.