Unemployment Claims

Posted on Apr 15, 2020

Although there can be nuances that may impact this general information, with respect to unemployment in this COVID-19 era, it is important for employers to indicate in some fashion in their unemployment response that the hours cut or separation is COVID-19 related.

It appears that the Texas Workforce Commission is granting unemployment benefits and categorizing the claims as COVID-19 related almost as a matter of default.  In such instances, the TWC has consistently not charged back the employer’s account.  The reason is likely because the TWC is reimbursed by the federal government for unemployment paid out for claims related to COVID-19.

In the application process for unemployment benefits, the TWC specifically inquires the claim is related to a declared disaster which includes COVID-19.  However, employers should not rely solely on the employee’s unemployment application for this information.  Employers should indicate that the layoff/separation/reduction in hours is related to COVID-19 as well.  If neither the employee nor the employer bring it up, unless the employee was clearly discharged for misconduct, it is very likely that the employer will receive a charge back to its account.