Understanding State Unemployment Benefits

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State unemployment benefits were intended to help people who lost their job due to no fault of their own. In Louisiana, employers pay all costs for unemployment benefits through a payroll tax or reimbursable program (government entities and non-profits only).

Who is Eligible for State Unemployment Benefits?

Only people who are terminated or laid-off from a job are eligible for state unemployment benefits.

  • Terminated generally means that the employee’s job performance or attendance was unacceptable. Employees who were terminated for violating company policy might not be eligible if the policy violation was considered “gross misconduct.” Examples of gross misconduct include, but are not limited to, Illegal drug or alcohol use at work, theft, vandalization of company property, sexual harassment/assault, fighting and/or making violent threats in the office, repeated tardiness or absences, and fraud.
  • Laid-off generally means that the position was eliminated due to no fault of the employee.
  • Employees who resign or voluntarily quit a job are not eligible for unemployment benefits unless they are able to prove “constructive discharge” which means that work conditions were intolerable and could not be resolved.

How are Unemployment Benefits Funded?

In 2023, the unemployment tax rate in Louisiana ranges from 0.09% to 6.2% based on a taxable wage base of $7,700 per employee.  Since unemployment benefits are “pre-paid” by most private sector companies, there is generally no additional cost to the former employer when someone files a claim.

Are People Eligible for Unemployment Benefits if Terminated During First 90 Days on the Job?

Once an employee has received a payroll check, they become eligible for benefits if they are terminated or laid-off from a job.  However, benefits are calculated based on the amount of wages paid to the employee in the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the unemployment claim was filed. This means an employer’s unemployment account can be charged for benefits for a former employee who resigned from that job, but who was terminated or laid off by the next employer. Currently, weekly unemployment benefits in Louisiana range from $10 to $275 for a maximum of 26 weeks.



Employer Responsibilities that Help Prevent Unemployment Fraud

  1. New Hire Reporting – In Louisiana, employers are required to report new employees to the Workforce Commission. This is usually done for employers by their payroll provider if they use one. This information notifies the Workforce Commission, that the person is no longer eligible for unemployment benefits if they were receiving them.
  2. Separation Notice (Form 77) – Employers are required to complete and submit this form within three days of the employee’s last day of work. This form provides information about final pay and the reason employment ended. The Workforce Commission uses this information to determine eligibility for benefits.
  3. Benefit Charge Protest – Employers receive this form whenever a claim has been filed for benefits. This form allows the employer to provide additional information to dispute the claim. Failure to complete and return this form in a timely manner means that the employer loses the right to appeal payment of benefits.

An HR professional can help you with all of your human resource needs.

From hiring the right employees, running background checks, creating employee handbooks that include anti-harassment policies and procedures, and so much more, Next Level Solutions can work with you to provide the services that you need to run your business.

For more information about our accounting and human resource services, contact Next Level Solutions at info@nextlevelsol.net or (225) 330-8347.