FAQs for Employers
Updated and new FAQs are noted with the date.
UPDATED May 20: Are independent contractors or self-employed workers covered?
Yes. Labor is now making payments for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Find details about the benefit on our Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program web page.
NEW May 20: What do I do if my employees refuse to return to work?
If a worker is receiving unemployment, they have an obligation to accept suitable work. If they refuse to accept work, the Labor Department should review the situation. Please email us details including when the employee was asked to return to work and how the offer was made at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please do not include the employee’s Social Security number to help prevent identity theft.
Will workers qualify for unemployment benefits if the coronavirus (COVID-19) causes an employer to temporarily or permanently shut down operations?
Unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employer shuts down operations and no work is available or reduces an individual’s hours due to a drop in business, we would consider this a lay off due to lack of work and the individual may be eligible for benefits. Anyone can apply for benefits, and we will evaluate the individual merits. If there is a situation not covered by these FAQs, the individual may want to file a claim and we will evaluate the circumstances to determine eligibility. Individuals do not need to call us before filing the claim. Click here for more information.
UPDATED April 9: If an employee receives unemployment benefits as a result of a coronavirus-related business shutdown, will my unemployment insurance account be charged?
It depends. Part of Gov. Brad Little’s emergency proclamation provides that experience rated employers (most businesses) will not be charged for unemployment claims attributed to COVID-19. There is also a 50 percent reduction in proportionate costs for cost reimbursed employers (non-profit and government employers). There is no need to protest your chargeability determination at this time. Additional information about tax relief for employers from the IRS is available here: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.
Updated April 3: Will my employees be required to look for work if I had to temporarily or permanently shut down operations for work because of coronavirus (COVID-19)?
It depends. If they are unemployed due to COVID-19 related reasons and you are plan on having them return to work, they are not required to register for work or seek work. They will need to answer ‘yes’ to the question asking if they are returning to work on the UI application. If they are not returning with you, they will be required complete two work search activities per week. Click here for more information.
NEW April 3: How can a company get workers back if they are considered attached and the company opens back up but the employees would prefer to get UI instead?
First, be sure you communicate the expectation to return to work with as much detail as possible at the time they become separated. Then, ensure they were clearly instructed to come back — speak with them, send an email to the email address, text them, etc. Then, let the Labor Department know who didn’t come back — that person is missing available work and would need a qualifying reason to do so (either a personal compelling reason or an illness, and even then it has to be less than 1/2 of their weekly benefit amount).
NEW May 20: How do I let you know when my employees return to work?
The easiest way to report an employee’s return to work or a new employee, is through the New Hire reporting process. Information is available at the Idaho Department of Labor New Hire page.
NEW April 9: I am unable to respond to department’s requests for information within the protest deadline.
Part of Gov. Brad Little’s emergency proclamation provides an additional 14 days for employers and claimants to protest determinations made by the department. Please submit the information as instructed, despite the untimely response.
Can employees work part time and receive unemployment?
Yes. They can receive some or all of their weekly unemployment payment if they work part time. Gross earnings must be reported on the weekly certification during the week earned (not when paid). Click here to learn how the wages affect unemployment payments.
If there is a separation due to the coronavirus, am I required to pay accrued vacation/PTO or sick pay?
It depends. Idaho law does not require the payment of vacation, holiday or sick pay. These items are agreed upon between the employer and the employee. If there is any change in a policy, the employee must be notified prior to the change. For U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour guidance on issues around COVID-19, its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, visit: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic.
NEW April 6: If I share part of my businesses stimulus package with my employees, will it impact their unemployment benefits?
Yes. This is reportable income categorized as ‘other income,’ and reportable in the week they receive it.
NEW May 20: Are my employees required to report the payments I have made to them while they have been furloughed and receiving unemployment insurance benefits?
If an individual is receiving unemployment insurance benefits, that individual is required to report the earnings they receive in the same fashion they would if they were working for wages. If you have reason to believe they are not, please let us know at email@example.com.
NEW May 20: Do I have an obligation to notify employees at the time of separation from employment of the availability of unemployment compensation?
Yes. Under Families First Coronavirus Response Act (PL 116-127), employers must provide notification of the availability of unemployment compensation to employees at the time of separation from employment. Sample language for employers’ use in meeting this notification can be found on the Labor website in this PDF.