Beating the Unemployment Maze – Part I

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of our State when it comes to unemployment insurance.  Between state employees (i.e. Job and Family Services) rubber-stamping (approving) unemployment claims, their employee-friendly directives and other high-level orders extending the length of time that you can receive benefits, it’s becoming more difficult for companies to contest claims.  Not to mention that some states, like Ohio, are now considering strange amendments to their unemployment law; which would allow more claims to be processed easier.

There is a purpose for receiving unemployment.  But what I’m finding these days is that some employees simply see it as a way out.  They say, “I’ll just sit home and collect unemployment.”

But do you want to know something?  I’ve never lost an unemployment claim or a hearing.  That’s right; in more than 12 years working in HR, I have always won.  Why – I’ve taken the time to understand how the system works and how to protect my company.  I even wrote a plan that once saved a company $200,000 in charges against their unemployment experience.  I was the hero.  Seriously – I still have the plaque they gave me proudly displayed on my desk.

Let me say it bluntly.  If you’re losing claims, you’re not doing what you should be doing.  The only unemployment claim you should ever lose is the one you want to (i.e. you write a severance agreement and agree not to contest it).  Otherwise, you can and should be winning.  Quits, terminations, bizarre circumstances – it doesn’t matter!

We’ll review my easy unemployment checklist next time.  Basically, I’ll tell you what the state and job/family service offices don’t want you to know.

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