The Pennsylvania legislature has amended the state law on unemployment compensation to require employers in the Commonwealth to provide employees at the time of separation with notice of the availability of unemployment compensation — regardless of whether the employer is liable for payment of contributions to the state’s unemployment compensation fund.
Under Act 9 of 2020, the notice to employees must include the following information:
- Availability of unemployment compensation benefits to qualifying workers;
- Workers’ ability to file an unemployment claim in the first week that their employment ends or their hours are reduced;
- Availability of assistance or information about unemployment claims on the website for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Office of Unemployment Compensation or by calling the Department’s toll-free number: (888) 313-7284; and
- That the worker will need to provide certain information when they file a claim, including the worker’s full legal name, Social Security number, and, if the worker is not a U.S. citizen or resident, their authorization to work in the country. While the law does not require it, employers may want to provide employees with the Department’s official checklist for claimants.
While Act 9 of 2020 addresses the COVID-19 crisis in one of its sections, the notice requirement is not tied to the COVID-19 outbreak. Accordingly, the notice requirements for Pennsylvania employers will remain in place even after the virus is no longer a factor.
The section on COVID-19 (“Emergency Provisions Related to COVID-19”) formalizes and codifies temporary changes to Pennsylvania law for the duration of the disaster emergency declared as a result of the outbreak. These include emergency eligibility rules, such as waiving the waiting period, job search, and registration requirements.