How Will My Employees’ Unemployment Claims Related to COVID-19 Affect My Unemployment Tax Premiums?

As explained in our prior post (here), since the start of the pandemic, the Utah Department of Workforce Services (DWS) has been charging unemployment benefits for individuals who lost employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to “social costs.” This measure was designed to relieve employers from having to pay higher premiums when rates are adjusted in 2021 and 2022.

DWS has announced that this relief measure will soon end. Beginning on August 16, 2020, all unemployment benefits will be charged to employer accounts, as was the practice prior to the pandemic. Note that the charge will pertain to all benefits paid beginning on August 16th, regardless of when the unemployment claim was originally filed.

DWS will also be reinstating the requirement that benefit recipients actively look for work. If an employer intends to reinstate the employee in the near future and wants the employee to be exempt from the requirement to look for work, the employer can submit a “job-attached deferral” on a form provided by DWS.