WSR 05-13-158

PROPOSED RULES

EMPLOYMENT SECURITY DEPARTMENT


[ Filed June 21, 2005, 2:59 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 04-21-084.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Unemployment insurance rules related to part-time workers and clarifying the differences between partially unemployed and part-time workers, and the conditions under which part-time workers are eligible for benefits. Additional housekeeping changes are made to existing rules.

Hearing Location(s): Employment Security Department, 212 Maple Park Drive, 4th Floor Conference Room A, Olympia, WA, on August 2, 2005, at 2:30 p.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: August 23, 2005.

Submit Written Comments to: Larry Oline, Employment Security Department, P.O. Box 9046, Olympia, 98506, e-mail loline@esd.wa.gov, fax (360) 438-3226, by August 1, 2005.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Mary Mendoza by August 1, 2005, TTY (360) 902-9589 or (360) 902-9281.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The rules are intended to clarify those sections of 2ESB 6097 pertaining to unemployment benefits that took effect in 2005. New rules are adopted to define terms and clarify the job search requirements of partially unemployed and part-time workers. The rule discussing workers on standby is amended to eliminate references to partially unemployed workers, which are included in a separate new rule, and to incorporate the department's longstanding policies related to workers on standby.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: To provide clarity for employers, claimants, and staff concerning the job search requirements of individuals working less than full time and the conditions under which a part-time worker may limit his or her availability to part-time work and remain eligible for benefits. Other changes incorporate existing policies into rule format for the convenience of the regulated community.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 50.12.010, 50.12.040, and 50.12.042.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 50.20.119.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Name of Proponent: Employment Security Department, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Juanita Myers, 212 Maple Park, Olympia, (360) 902-9665; Implementation and Enforcement: Annette Copeland, 212 Maple Park, Olympia, (360) 902-9665.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. Any costs incurred by employers by reason of paying benefits to some part-time workers are the result of the enabling legislation, 2ESB 6097, not these rules.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. These rules are interpretive in nature and simply clarify existing law.

Karen T. Lee

Commissioner


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending 99-08-073, [filed 4/5/99,] effective 5/6/99)

WAC 192-110-015   Applications by ((partially unemployed or)) standby workers--RCW ((50.04.310,)) 50.20.010((,)) and 50.20.130.   (1) ((Definitions:

(a) "Employer" means any person or business for which you work in exchange for wages.

(b) "Partially unemployed" means that during a week:

(i) You worked for your regular employer less than full time because of lack of work; and

(ii) You earned less than one and one-third times your weekly benefit amount plus five dollars.

(c))) "Standby" means you are temporarily unemployed due to lack of work but expect to return to work with your regular employer. You do not have to register for work or look for other work while on standby but must be available for all hours of work offered by your regular employer.

(2) ((Your rights when you are partially unemployed:

(a) You may file your application or claim for benefits as many as five weeks after your hours are reduced without it being considered late.

(b) You do not have to register for work, however, you must accept all hours offered by your regular employer.

(3) Your rights when you are on)) Duration of standby:

(a) You can ask to be on standby for up to four weeks.

(b) ((You do not have to register for work.

(c))) We will ask your employer to verify that you are on standby and your expected return to work date:

(i) If your employer does not respond, you can be on standby for up to four weeks;

(ii) If your employer confirms you are on standby, you can be on standby for up to four weeks or until the return to work date given by your employer, whichever is earlier;

(iii) If your employer responds that you are not on standby or do not have a return to work date within eight weeks, you will be required to immediately register for work and to look for work.

(((d)))(c) Your regular employer ((must)) may request to extend your standby status for more than four, but no more than eight, weeks in any benefit year, except as provided in subsection (2)(d). This request is subject to approval by the department. We will consider the following before deciding whether to extend standby status for more than four weeks:

(i) How long you have been out of work;

(ii) Whether other suitable work is available;

(iii) The impact on you and your employer if you accept other work; and

(iv) Other factors that apply to your situation.

(d) At his or her discretion, the commissioner may grant standby for more than eight weeks in a benefit year. The employer must apply in writing and demonstrate there are conditions that apply to his or her business that are so unique or unusual that having their employees on standby for more than eight weeks is justified.

(e) You can be granted standby if you have obtained a new job that has a definite start date within four weeks.

(3) The following conditions apply to a request for standby:

(a) You must have a definite date by which you will return to work for your regular employer;

(b) Standby will not be granted if you only have prospects of future work with the employer or a promise of more work at some unspecified date, or when the return to work date depends on conditions beyond the employer's control, such as weather;

(c) Except for claimants who qualify as part-time eligible workers under RCW 50.20.119, standby will not be granted if you regularly work fewer than forty hours each week for the employer; and

(d) Except as provided in subsection (2)(d), standby will not be granted for more than eight weeks in any benefit year. Any week(s) in which you do not qualify for benefits because of excess earnings will not be considered as part of the eight weeks. After eight consecutive weeks of unemployment, the department will no longer consider you attached to that employer.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 50.20.010 and 50.12.040. 99-08-073, 192-110-015, filed 4/5/99, effective 5/6/99.]

Reviser's note: The bracketed material preceding the section above was supplied by the code reviser's office.

Reviser's note: The typographical error in the above section occurred in the copy filed by the agency and appears in the Register pursuant to the requirements of RCW 34.08.040.
NEW SECTION
WAC 192-110-017   Applications by partially unemployed workers -- RCW 50.04.310.   If you are partially unemployed as defined in WAC 192-180-013, you may file your application for benefits as many as five weeks after your hours are reduced without it being considered late.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 192-170-070   Availability requirements for part-time eligible workers -- RCW 50.20.119.   (1) If you are a part-time eligible worker as defined in RCW 50.20.119, you may limit your availability for work to 17 or fewer hours per week. You may refuse any job that is for 18 or more hours per week.

(2) You must be available for work during the hours that are customary to your occupation. For example, if your occupation normally requires both day and evening hours of work, you must be available for work both day and evening hours.

(3) You must be available for work all days of the week that are customary for your occupation, even if you have not worked those days in the past. If you are unavailable for work on any day that is a customary day of work for your occupation, your benefits will be reduced as provided in RCW 50.20.130. For example, your occupation customarily works Monday through Friday, although you normally have worked weekends only. If you are unavailable for work Monday through Friday, your benefits will be reduced as provided in RCW 50.20.130.

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NEW SECTION
WAC 192-180-013   Job search requirements for individuals working less than full-time.   (1) "Partially unemployed" workers are those individuals:

(a) Who were hired to work full time,

(b) Whose weekly hours of work have been temporarily reduced to less than full time by their employer,

(c) Who earn less than one and one-third times their weekly benefit amount plus five dollars during a week, and

(d) Who are expected to return to full time work for their employer within six months.

These workers are considered to be employer attached and are not required to register for or seek work. They must be available for all work offered by their regular employer.

(2) "Part time" workers are individuals who normally work less than full time, or who accept work that is less than full time. To be eligible for benefits, these workers must be available for and actively seeking full time work, and their job search is subject to review. If they obtain part time work, they must continue to seek full time work or benefits will be denied as provided in RCW 50.20.010 (1)(c). This definition of "part time" workers addresses individuals who work part time, but do not meet the requirements of RCW 50.20.119.

(3) "Part time eligible" workers are individuals who have worked no more than 17 hours in any week of their base year and are eligible for benefits under RCW 50.20.119. These individuals may seek work for 17 or fewer hours per week and their job search is subject to review. If they obtain work of 17 or fewer hours per week, they are considered to be employer attached and are no longer required to look for work, nor are they subject to the job search monitoring program.

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Washington State Code Reviser's Office