The Vermont Department of Labor announced that unemployment tax rate calculations for the one-year period July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 are to exclude unemployment benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic in a measure signed June 1, 2021 by Governor Phil Scott.
Under the measure (SB 62), unemployment benefits paid during calendar year 2020 will not be charged to employers’ accounts for the purposes of computing the 2021-2022 state unemployment tax rate if the reason for separation was “virus-related”.
Employers may also be relieved of charges for benefits claimed in 2021 when the claims are related to a business closures required by a public health mandate, the employer temporarily laid off quarantined employees, or the employer voluntarily stopped operations because of workplace exposure to COVID-19. The Commissioner of the Department is preparing procedures and an application for employers to use to apply for relief by July 1, 2021.
Additionally, the Department will not take into account unemployment benefits paid in 2020 when determining the tax rate schedule to take effect July 1, 2021 or future fiscal years.
The provisions are to prevent unemployment tax rates from increasing more than would be necessary to replenish the state unemployment trust fund.
No action is required by Vermont employers at this time. As always, we will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as they become available. If there are any questions please do not hesitate to contact us or visit our website for the latest news and updates.