By Kate Devine-Elkins
States seem to be constantly changing their requirements on separation forms, including new forms, and updating those forms. Making sure that you have those right forms going to the right employee based on where they live and work has become a lot more complicated for employers to manage. This trend continued last month in New York (NY).
On September 14, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed new legislation, amending the state labor law to further reinforce the responsibility of employers to send required written separation notices to exiting employees.
The new law, (S. 4878-A/A. 398-A), requires that employers give written notice to their employees that they are eligible for unemployment insurance whenever they separate with an employee or reduce their hours to a point that the employee qualifies for total or partial unemployment. It will take effect on November 13, 2023.
This new legislation comes closely on the heels of similar employee-rights-focused legislation that came into effect on July 31, 2023, in New Jersey.
This new law requires employers to share copies of the separation notices they sent to employees with the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development and the Division of Unemployment Insurance, immediately and simultaneously. It can lead to penalties if:
The employer makes a false statement or omits information in order to reduce unemployment benefits
Employer “willfully fails or refuses to furnish any reports or information” (including separation notices)
Penalties for failing to meet these requirements may be a fine of $500 or 25% of any amount fraudulently withheld, whichever is greater, for each instance.
These new laws signal a trend towards increased oversight and focus on state required separation notices. Many states have required separation notices that must be sent to termed employees. And as you can see, not only do the forms themselves differ state by state, but the rules around these forms can differ, too. Staying on top of this information and acting on it is not always easy for employers and, when not managed properly, can result in fines.
To help you stay better informed, organized, and prepared to more efficiently manage and distribute the right separation forms to exiting employees and better navigate the state-specific forms and laws, we have compiled an eBook, 5 Tips to Better Navigating Offboarding Forms. Consider this your cheat sheet to greater separation forms sanity.
With the potential for significant penalties if you get it wrong, learn how a more automated approach to sending out state required separation notices could help you stay on top of regulatory changes and provide more detailed audit trails.
The information provided is intended as general guidance and is not intended to convey any tax, benefits, or legal advice. For information pertaining to your company and its specific facts and needs, please consult your own tax advisor or legal counsel. Equifax Workforce Solutions provides services that can help employers reduce their compliance risks. Details on our provision of these services and related support will be contained in your services agreement. Links to sources may be to third party sites. We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.