Florida Senate - 2017 SB 1148 By Senator Rader 29-00431A-17 20171148__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to unemployment compensation; amending 3 s. 443.091, F.S.; requiring the Department of Economic 4 Opportunity to designate an alternative base period in 5 certain circumstances for benefit years commencing 6 after a specified date; defining the term “alternative 7 base period”; providing for the determination of 8 eligibility for benefits when certain information is 9 inaccessible; authorizing the department to consider 10 an affidavit from the claimant attesting to wages; 11 requiring that benefits be adjusted in certain 12 circumstances; requiring the department to request by 13 mail information on wages from employers in certain 14 circumstances; requiring employers to provide wage 15 information to support an individual’s eligibility for 16 benefits upon request of the department; providing a 17 penalty for employers who fail to timely provide that 18 information; providing that certain wages in a base 19 period may not be used in the calculation of 20 eligibility for benefits in a subsequent benefit year; 21 amending s. 443.101, F.S.; redefining the term “good 22 cause”; providing an effective date. 23 24 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 25 26 Section 1. Paragraph (g) of subsection (1) of section 27 443.091, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 28 443.091 Benefit eligibility conditions.— 29 (1) An unemployed individual is eligible to receive 30 benefits for any week only if the Department of Economic 31 Opportunity finds that: 32 (g) She or he has been paid wages for insured work equal to 33 1.5 times her or his high quarter wages during her or his base 34 period, except that an unemployed individual is not eligible to 35 receive benefits if the base period wages are less than $3,400. 36 1. For a benefit year commencing on or after January 1, 37 2018, if an individual is not eligible in the base period to 38 qualify for benefits, the department must designate an 39 alternative base period. As used in this paragraph, the term 40 “alternative base period” means the four completed calendar 41 quarters immediately preceding the first day of an individual’s 42 benefit year. If the department is unable to access wage 43 information through its mainframe database for determining 44 eligibility for benefits based on the individual’s alternative 45 base period, the department may base the determination on 46 information submitted in an affidavit submitted by the claimant 47 attesting to his or her wages for those calendar quarters. The 48 individual must also furnish payroll information, if available, 49 in support of the affidavit. Benefits based on an alternative 50 base period must be adjusted if the quarterly report of wage 51 information received from the employer under s. 443.141 results 52 in a change in the monetary determination. 53 2. If information regarding wages for the calendar quarters 54 immediately preceding the benefit year has not been entered into 55 the department’s mainframe database from the Employers Quarterly 56 Reports (UCT-6) submitted under s. 443.163 or is otherwise 57 unavailable, the department shall request the information from 58 the employer by mail. The employer shall provide the requested 59 information within 10 days after the department mails the 60 request. An employer who fails to provide the requested wage 61 information within the required time is subject to the penalty 62 for delinquent reports imposed under s. 443.141. 63 3. Base period wages that were used in the calculation of 64 eligibility for benefits in 1 benefit year may not be used in 65 the calculation of eligibility in a subsequent benefit year. 66 Section 2. Paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section 67 443.101, Florida Statutes, is amended to read: 68 443.101 Disqualification for benefits.—An individual shall 69 be disqualified for benefits: 70 (1)(a) For the week in which he or she has voluntarily left 71 work without good cause attributable to his or her employing 72 unit or has been discharged by the employing unit for misconduct 73 connected with his or her work, based on a finding by the 74 Department of Economic Opportunity. As used in this paragraph, 75 the term “work” means any work, whether full-time, part-time, or 76 temporary. 77 1. Disqualification for voluntarily quitting continues for 78 the full period of unemployment next ensuing after the 79 individual has left his or her full-time, part-time, or 80 temporary work voluntarily without good cause and until the 81 individual has earned income equal to or greater than 17 times 82 his or her weekly benefit amount.
As used in this subsection,83 the term “good cause” includes only that cause attributable to84 the employing unit which would compel a reasonable employee to85 cease working or attributable to the individual’s illness or86 disability requiring separation from his or her work.Any other 87 disqualification may not be imposed. An individual is not 88 disqualified under this subsection for voluntarily leaving 89 temporary work to return immediately when called to work by the 90 permanent employing unit that temporarily terminated his or her 91 work within the previous 6 calendar months, or for voluntarily 92 leaving work to relocate as a result of his or her military 93 connected spouse’s permanent change of station orders, 94 activation orders, or unit deployment orders. 95 2. Disqualification for being discharged for misconduct 96 connected with his or her work continues for the full period of 97 unemployment next ensuing after having been discharged and until 98 the individual is reemployed and has earned income of at least 99 17 times his or her weekly benefit amount and for not more than 100 52 weeks immediately following that week, as determined by the 101 department in each case according to the circumstances or the 102 seriousness of the misconduct, under the department’s rules 103 adopted for determinations of disqualification for benefits for 104 misconduct. 105 3. If an individual has provided notification to the 106 employing unit of his or her intent to voluntarily leave work 107 and the employing unit discharges the individual for reasons 108 other than misconduct before the date the voluntary quit was to 109 take effect, the individual, if otherwise entitled, shall 110 receive benefits from the date of the employer’s discharge until 111 the effective date of his or her voluntary quit. 112 4. If an individual is notified by the employing unit of 113 the employer’s intent to discharge the individual for reasons 114 other than misconduct and the individual quits without good 115 cause, as described in sub-subparagraph 5.a., before the date 116 the discharge was to take effect, the claimant is ineligible for 117 benefits pursuant to s. 443.091(1)(d) for failing to be 118 available for work for the week or weeks of unemployment 119 occurring before the effective date of the discharge. 120 5. As used in this subsection, the term “good cause” means: 121 a. Cause attributable to the employing unit which would 122 compel a reasonable employee to cease working; 123 b. Cause attributable to an illness or disability of the 124 individual which requires separation from work; or 125 c. Domestic violence, as defined in s. 741.28, verified by 126 reasonable and confidential documentation, which causes the 127 individual reasonably to believe that such individual’s 128 continued employment would jeopardize his or her safety, the 129 safety of any member of his or her immediate family, or the 130 safety of other employees. 131 Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.