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Virginia Unemployment Tax Rate Calculations to Exclude Pandemic Related Benefit Charges

The Virginia Employment Commission announced that unemployment tax rate calculations for 2022 are to exclude unemployment benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic in a measure signed by Governor Ralph Northam on August 10, 2021.

Under the measure (H.B. 7001), unemployment benefits paid from April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 will not be charged to employers’ accounts for the purposes of computing the 2022 state unemployment tax rate.  Additionally, the bill states that 2022 unemployment tax rates may not exceed the 2021 rate assigned to a given employer.

H.B. 7001 also outlines plans for federal distributions received from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  $73.6M in funds will be allocated to information technology modernization, call center improvements, security, and claims adjudication to better serve claimants and employers.  Another $862M is to be deposited to the Virginia Unemployment Trust Fund that is used to pay unemployment benefits.  This is especially pertinent Unemployment Trust Fund levels often dictate unemployment tax rate tables and additional surcharges.

No action is required by 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.

COVID-19 & the Virginia Employment Commission

The CARES Act has been signed into law by the President and there are numerous provisions that affect the Unemployment Insurance Program. As a result of the CARES Act, associates who are not eligible under current state law such as gig economy workers, self-employed individuals, or workers paid by 1099 may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

In order to comply with the new coverage and benefits provisions in the CARES Act, all states, including Virginia, will implement significant changes to computer systems in order to get payments to individuals. States will work with the United States Department of Labor and will implement changes as quickly as possible. The federal government is preparing to issue detailed guidance on how states should proceed in the near future. Once the federal government issues guidance, it will take some time to develop and implement changes. Meanwhile, Virginia will work on these changes and will continue to process claims under existing state law. Furthermore, any additional benefit payments, such as the $600 supplement in the CARES Act, will be retroactive for eligible claimants as authorized by law. More information on these changes and other important announcements will be made at https://vec.virginia.gov.

Our office will monitor COVID-19 updates closely and will send out additional announcements as we become aware of any these updates. You can also review these updates on our website at https://thomas-and-company.com/covid-19/ too.

Please reach out to your representative with any questions.