By Michael S. Moore
Yesterday the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services issued a Press Release (see below) notifying employers that their annual statements regarding unemployment contribution rates would reflect non-charges for the Second Quarter of 2020, pursuant to the Executive Order issued by the Governor in late 2020.
As also noted in the press release, the Department of Workforce Services is seeking legislation (HB1212) which will give the DWS director discretion to non-charge COVID related benefit charges for quarters subsequent to the Second Quarter of 2020. The Governor’s Executive Order is good news for Arkansas Employers and the passage of HB1212 would be more good news.
Press Release Issued by Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, January 28, 2021
Today, the Arkansas Department of Commerce, Division of Workforce Services (DWS) began mailing and emailing employer tax rate statements. Employers who elected to have their rate statement emailed began receiving emails starting at around noon today.
Normally, the quarters used to determine the 2021 contribution rates are the third and fourth quarters of 2019, and the first and second quarters of 2020. Governor Hutchinson issued Executive Order 20-54 to limit 2021 contribution rates due to the unusually high number of COVID-19 related benefit charges that began in the second quarter of 2020. The executive order allows DWS to exclude the second quarter 2020 charges in determining the 2021 rates. The 2021 rate statements will reflect the exclusion of these charges. While DWS excluded the second quarter 2020 COVID-19 related charges in calculating the 2021 rates, please be aware that other factors (such as claims filed prior to the pandemic) affect contribution rates, so increases may still occur.
Regarding the 2022 rate calculations, the quarters used to determine these rates will be the third and fourth quarters of 2020 and the first and second quarters of 2021. While the executive order does not address these quarters, DWS is seeking legislation [HB1212] that will give the DWS Director the discretion to non-charge the COVID-19 related benefit charges for all of these quarters. While both charge statements currently include COVID-19 related charges, the charges will be removed if the requested legislation is passed and updated statements will be provided to employers.
If employers have questions or would like more information regarding the contribution rates for rate year 2021 and 2020 fourth-quarter charges, please email [email protected] or call 501-682-3798.
Disclaimer: The information included here is provided for general informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for legal advice nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel. For more information or if you have further questions, please contact one of our Attorneys.