WSR 07-11-160

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT


[ Filed May 23, 2007, 9:48 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: Adopting and amending rules on the general subject of unemployment insurance taxes, including tax rates, reporting, coverage, and enforcement, and rules implementing 2007 legislation: SHB 1278 (chapter 51, Laws of 2007), tax rates for new employers; ESSB 5373 (chapter 146, Laws of 2007), sections relating to reporting requirements, penalties, and corporate officers; SSB 5534 (chapter 366, Laws of 2007) exempting payments by certain small performing arts industries; SSB 5702 (chapter 386, Laws of 2007), requiring notification by religious organizations to their employees; ESSB 5915 (chapter 287, Laws of 2007), employer notices.

The department will generally review and update unemployment insurance tax rules, including chapter 192-300 WAC, Registering for unemployment insurance taxes; chapter 192-310 WAC, Reporting of wages and taxes due; chapter 192-320 WAC, Experience rating and benefit charging; chapter 192-330 WAC, Collections and refunds; and chapter 192-340 WAC, Audits and technical assistance.

The portions of ESSB 5373 relating to professional employer organizations, claimant penalties, and overpayments are the subjects of separate concurrent rule-making proceedings by the department. The subjects of transfers of employers or businesses and classification of employees are also the subjects of separate concurrent rule-making proceedings by the department.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 50.12.010 and 50.12.040.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Rules are needed to implement 2007 legislation related to unemployment insurance taxes including new employer rates, corporate officers, employer registration, benefit charging, penalties, an exemption for small theaters, and required notices. In order to make rules clearer and more comprehensive and to provide more consistent, predictable, and transparent standards, the department intends to review and update current rules which also relate to these topics. In addition, it will review tax rates, reporting, coverage, enforcement, and other unemployment insurance tax topics, including delinquent and qualified tax rates, rate recalculations, reporting by employers, reimbursable employers, possible definitions of fraud and misrepresentation, and technical amendments.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: The United States Department of Labor (USDOL) reviews the state's administration of the unemployment insurance program to ensure conformity to federal statutes and regulations. The state has broad flexibility in the implementation of unemployment insurance laws as long as conformity is maintained. The proposed regulations will be shared with USDOL prior to adoption.

In addition, proposed regulations will be shared with the state department of revenue, department of labor and industries, and department of licensing.

Process for Developing New Rule: The department will hold public meetings to obtain and consider public and stakeholder input prior to filing the proposed rules. In addition, there will be a mailing to stakeholders identified in the rule-making process and written comments from stakeholders will be considered.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Juanita Myers, Unemployment Insurance Rules Coordinator, Employment Security Department, P.O. Box 9046, Olympia, WA 98507-9046, phone (360) 902-9665, fax (360) 902-9799, e-mail jmyers@esd.wa.gov. Please include your name, organization (if any), mailing address, e-mail address, and telephone number.

May 22, 2007

Paul Trause

Deputy Commissioner

Washington State Code Reviser's Office