FAQs for Employees

Tennessee Unemployment Insurance

Effective Date: 5/4/20 (also available online at tn.gov/workforce/covid-19/faq.html)

This video may help you understand the process: How to Complete Certifications on Jobs4TN Ignore the work search information as those have been waived by executive order.

Eligibility Questions


Am I eligible for unemployment?

Anyone may file a claim, but keep in mind that the basic eligibility requirements are that you have been separated from your job through no fault of your own and that you are able and available to return to work or accept suitable employment if offered. If you fail to return to work or accept suitable work when offered you are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits. Any benefit you collect after refusing work will result in an overpayment and must be paid back. Refer to the "How to File" article on the helpdesk at lwdsupport.tn.gov. (https://lwdsupport.tn.gov/hc/en-us/articles/221825667-How-do-I-file-a-claim-for-Unemployment-Insurance-)

My hours have been cut, but I’m have not been laid off; am I eligible for unemployment?

It depends. Reduced hours might qualify someone for unemployment. We recommend that you go ahead and file the claim.

  • If you are still making more money than what your “Weekly Benefit Amount” (as listed on your monetary determination letter) then simply do not certify as they are still considered employed.

  • If you are making less than your Weekly Benefit Amount, you may be eligible to receive partial UI benefits. Each claimant will have a unique weekly benefit amount, based on their prior earnings. For reference, the maximum weekly benefit amount in Tennessee is $275. Apply for benefits and certify each week on Jobs4TN, report the earnings and the system will adjust your benefit.

I work part-time. Am I eligible for UI?

It depends. If you earn less than your weekly benefit amount, you may be eligible to receive partial UI benefits. Each claimant will have a unique weekly benefit amount, based on their prior earnings. For reference, the maximum weekly benefit amount in Tennessee is $275.

My employer has temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

You may file a claim. Our team will review your claim and determine what, if any, program is available to provide you will benefits.

I cannot work because my child’s school or daycare facility has closed due to COVID-19, and I need to stay home to take care of my child. Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

You may be eligible for benefits under the PUA program. Under provisions of the PUA program, you may receive benefits if you are the primary caregiver for a child whose school or care facility closed due to COVID-19.

If you are unable to return to work due to your child being out of school due to COVID-19, you may be permitted to remain out of work for a limited time, and still collect UI benefits. Based on guidance provided by the US Department of Labor, this exception will only apply until the date the school year was scheduled to end prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have other reliable child care options you may not be eligible for this exception. These cases will be investigated and decisions will be issued on a case-by-case basis.


I am self-employed or an independent contractor. Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

Currently, most self-employed individuals and independent contractors working in Tennessee are not authorized to obtain regular Tennessee Unemployment Compensation (TUC). However, self- employed individuals and independent contractors may be eligible for benefits under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). PUA is available for individuals who would normally not be eligible for regular unemployment benefits, but are unable to work because of COVID-19. PUA is available for periods of unemployment between January 27, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The maximum benefit amount is $275, the same as the maximum benefit amount for regular Tennessee unemployment insurance benefits. The minimum PUA benefit amount is calculated by USDOL, quarterly, as 50% of the average weekly benefit amount in each state. For January 1, 2020 – March 31, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $120. For April 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $121. An additional $600 will be paid on top of your weekly benefit amount under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.

I’ve been laid off from my job, but I still have a second/self-employed job; am I eligible for unemployment?

The same answer as above. Filing the claim and getting that monetary determination is the key. A person has done nothing wrong by just filing so they get that information to see. If they don’t ever certify the claim is never really truly activated.

My employer told me that I am being furloughed; am I eligible for unemployment?

It depends on how the furlough will affect your pay:

  • If the furlough is a fully-paid furlough the answer is no.

  • If your pay was cut or eliminated the answer is yes.

Are apprentices who are laid off eligible for unemployment?

If they are full-time employees andx are laid off, they rate the same benefits as any other employee.

If my doctor does not want me to work because of the virus, can I file for unemployment?

Yes. Under provisions of the CARES Act and Governor Lee’s executive order #15, being quarantined by a medical professional is a compensable separation, provided that you also meet all other eligibility requirements.

If I am not able to go to work because a medical professional told me I need to quarantine, am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance benefits?

You may be eligible for benefits. Governor Lee’s Executive Order 15 opened eligibility to individuals who were forced to leave work based on the guidance from a medical professional. Additionally, the provisions of the CARES Act, provide increased eligibility to individuals who left work due to a medical quarantine.

I am an older worker and/or have an immuno-compromised health condition. I work near a lot of people and am personally uncomfortable going to work due to concerns about my health. Am I eligible for Unemployment Insurance?

Under the provisions of the CARES Act, you may be eligible for compensation under the PUA program.

Who is eligible for PUA?

Individuals are eligible for PUA if they do not qualify for regular UI benefits (including self-employed workers and independent contractors) and cannot work because they:

  • Are diagnosed COVID-19 or have COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking diagnosis;

  • Have a member of the household who is diagnosed with COVID-19;

  • Are providing care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19;

  • Are the primary caregiver for a child whose school or care facility closed, due to COVID-19;

  • Are unable to reach their place of employment due to an imposed quarantine, or because advised by a medical provider to self-quarantine, due to COVID-19;

  • Were scheduled to start new employment and cannot reach the workplace as a direct result of COVID-19;

  • Became the major breadwinner because the head of household died from COVID-19;

  • Quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19;

  • Had their place of employment closed as a direct result of COVID-19; or

  • Meet any additional criteria specified by U.S. Secretary of Labor.

Individuals are not eligible for PUA if they can telework or are receiving paid sick leave or other paid leave benefits (regardless of meeting a category listed above).

To apply for PUA, claimants will need to file an unemployment claim on Jobs4TN.gov or call (844) 224-5818. Filing online is the fastest, most efficient way to receive your benefits. Due to high call volume, you will experience extended wait times when applying by phone.


General Questions


What is Unemployment Insurance?

Unemployment insurance (also known as UI) provides temporary cash benefits to employees who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. The overarching goal of the program is the successful re-employment of all claimants. If you have worked in Tennessee within the last 18 months and lost your job, through no fault of your own, you may be eligible for TUC.

What is the maximum benefit I can receive through Unemployment Insurance?

A claimant’s benefit rate is based on the recent wages he/she earned from his/her employer(s) over the last 18 months. The maximum weekly benefit amount in Tennessee is currently $275. (Claimants would also be eligible for the additional $600 under the FPUC program until July 31, 2020.)

How do I apply for Unemployment Insurance?

ANSWER: You can file a claim by visiting jobs4tn.gov or calling 844-224-5818. Due to larger than normal call volume, we are strongly encouraging individuals wishing to file a claim to first visit the website, if possible.

When should I file my claim?

You may file your claim at any time after being laid off without pay or separated from your employer.

My employer said he/she filed on my behalf (employer mass filed (partial) claim) and submitted to the state. Do I still need to file an individual claim?

No, if your employer filed an employer mass filed claim also known as a partial claim, the state has all your information. Log into Jobs4TN.gov to monitor your claim and do your weekly certifications by answering a few questions. If you are not sure please ask your employer to avoid confusion and delays.

No, if your employer filed an employer Partial/Employer filed claim, the state has all your information. Log into Jobs4TN.gov to monitor your claim. If you are not sure which list your employer filed, please ask to avoid confusion and delays.

Does my US Stimulus Check (from the IRS via the CARES Act) affect my unemployment benefits?

Your stimulus check (up to 1,200.00) from the IRS is NOT CONSIDERED REPORTABLE INCOME. You do not need to include this money as earned income when you do your weekly certifications. Check the website atwww.tn.gov/workforce. If you believe you may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance go ahead and file your claim.

Is there a website that helps me understand the unemployment claims process?

Yes, visit www.tn.gov/workforce/unemployment or search online for “Tennessee Unemployment”.

I'm not good with computers, can you help me file my claim?

We cannot help you at this call center. We encourage you to find a family member or friend to help you file your claim online. If that's not an option, advise them to contact the Customer Service Center at 844-224-5818. Call wait times are high so it may take longer for someone to get back with you to file the claim with you.

I live in Tennessee but worked in another state. Where should I file?

You should ask your separating employer what state your wages were reported and file with that state.

What other resources might be available to me?

Check out TN 211 by dialing 2-1-1 or online attn211.mycommunitypt.com for a variety of community resources for things like emotional, housing, or food resources.

The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse also recommends the national suicide prevention lifeline, 1-800-273-8255. Help is available. In 2018, the Lifeline answered over 2.2 million calls from people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress across the United States or talk to a Tennessee-specific group via the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

Northwest

731-415-3812

Southwest

731-988-6813

Memphis/Shelby

901-515-7940

Mid-Cumberland

865-617-1301

South Central Region

931-629-2746

Upper Cumberland

931-261-5386

Southeast Region

614-315-4818

East Region

317-750-6838

Northeast Region

423-817-5566


UI Application Process

What information is needed to file my claim?

Social Security Number, a Jobs4TN username and password (created during the claim process), basic personal information, employment history dates and wage amounts, bank routing number (if choosing direct deposit to receive benefits). Military, farm work, workers’ compensation, child support, and public assistance programs (like TANF and SNAP/Food Stamps) questions.

I tried filing and it says I already have an account / my social security number is already in use?

Check for typos in your Social Security number that you used when filing the claim.

Reset your password by clicking "Forgot Username/Password" on the home page on Jobs4TN.gov.

If this doesn't work, leave a message with the CST Team at 844-224-5818 or email them

at [email protected] to request a password reset. Then wait for an agent to reach out for assistance. An instruction page on resetting your password can be found at www.tn.gov/workforce/passwordreset

While filing my claim, what do I put for my separation reason?

If you are separated from your employer due to a temporary shutdown or due to the Coronavirus, you can select “Lack of Work” as the separation reason. Please make sure you enter the last date you physically worked as your last day.

While filing my claim, which date do I use as my last day of work if I received

vacation pay (or other types of pay) when off of work?

When filing the claim, list the last day that you actually worked. The wages received from vacation, retention fees, emergency funds, or other part-time job(s) will need to be reported on a week-to-week basis during your weekly certifications after you file the claim.

I’m self-employed. When asked about the name of the company, Jobs4TN would not let me go any further and signed me out. What do I do?

If you have been self-employed for the past 18 months, type “Self-Employed” as the Employer Name. Watch the video at www.tn.gov/workforce/selfemployed for more details.

I’m self-employed. How do I answer the question about being self-employed?

If you are self-employed, a contractor, a 1099 paid worker, or a gig worker answer yes to the following question.

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I’m self-employed. How do I answer the question asking if I received a termination or layoff notice or separated from the military?

You should answer the question No, see the example below. Watch the video at www.tn.gov/workforce/selfemployed for more details.

image

Is there a time limit for me to file an Unemployment Claim?

No, you can file a claim any time after being laid off or separated; however, your claim becomes active the week you file it. It cannot be backdated to the date you were laid off or separated.


After You've Filed

I’ve already filed for unemployment, what do I need to do next?

Each week that you are unemployed, log in to your Jobs4TN.gov account to complete your weekly claim certification. You may start certifying the first Sunday after you file your claim, and weekly thereafter. If you don’t certify for more than 2 weeks, your claim will be locked. Sometimes, more information is needed from you, if so, you will be notified by your preferred method of contact that you selected when filing your claim. So monitor your Jobs4TN account regularly, if your claim is still pending.

After filing your claim, you will receive a letter in your Jobs4TN Message Center called the “Monetary Determination Letter”. Review this letter for any mistakes in your employment history as it may affect your potential benefit amount. This letter also gives an estimate of your benefit amount, pending claim approval.

My Monetary Determination letter has incorrect income/benefit numbers. How do I correct this?

If there is an issue with the wages missing in that time period then “File a Wage Protest” on Jobs4TN.gov, more details are in your letter.

However, many will see the letter and think it’s wrong because the amounts listed may not be enough to pay bills. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Wages would have to be missing for it to be wrong.

If there are other areas of the initial claim form needs to be edited or updated, you will need to contact the department for assistance.

If I am self-employed, how do I submit my missing wage information?

If you are self-employed, you do not need to file a wage protest. Instead, submit proof of your earnings (IRS form 1040 schedule C, E, or F; Business records such as bank statements or financial statements; check stubs) to [email protected], fax to 615-253-0808, or mail to Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, 220 French Landing Drive, Nashville, TN 37243.

Does receiving a Monetary Determination letter mean I will receive UI benefits? Not necessarily. Every claim is reviewed before a claim is approved or denied. That is why it is important that you send us information on missing wages or missing employers (from the past 18

months) as soon as possible.

I received a letter that says I’m monetarily ineligible. What does that mean?

To be eligible to receive unemployment benefits, you must have sufficient earnings in your base period from a covered employer. The base period is defined as the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters. Without sufficient earnings, you will not be eligible to receive benefits. However, under the provisions of the CARES Act, you may still be eligible for benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. In fact, the first condition of eligibility for PUA is being ineligible for regular unemployment. After receiving a decision stating you are monetarily ineligible, you do not need to take any additional action. Our team will continue to process your claim for eligibility under the PUA program. You will receive another decision concerning your eligibility for the PUA program.

I made a wage protest, how long does this process take?

Usually, wage protests are resolved within a few weeks. This is because proof of wages has to be requested, sent, and then investigated with the employer. This process will be severely delayed right now due to the high volume of claims.

Can I use my phone to complete my weekly certification?

Yes, you can download the app Jobs4TN from the app store. To see a video on how the app works visit www.tn.gov/workforce/certwiththeapp

My income/wage amounts are incorrect, why can’t I change them during certification?

If wages are entered incorrectly during a certification, corrections must be adjusted by the department. This is a safety precaution to prevent manipulation of the system that might risk an overpayment which would have to be paid back to the department.

If I am found eligible for Unemployment Insurance, when can I expect my first payment?

Under normal conditions, USDOL recommends that we pay 87% of eligible claimants within 21 days of filing the claim. However, we are not operating under normal conditions. We are working to process all claims as quickly as possible. Rest assured that if you are found to be eligible you will receive a retroactive payment for all weeks of benefits you are owed.

While waiting on a decision you will need to certify for benefits each week; you will only be paid for weeks you completed a certification. Also, check your mail and respond to any questionnaires or phone calls from TDLWD, right away, to prevent delays in your payments.

Additionally, you can assist our staff by completing certifications and checking the status of your claim during non-business hours.

How will I get paid?

You can choose either direct deposit or debit card. The direct deposit account does need to be a valid checking account. The debit card will be issued to you via the United States Postal Service.

What is the waiting week and what does it mean that it was waived?

Typically, the first full week of a claim is an unpaid waiting week. Per Executive Order 15, Governor Lee suspended the one-week waiting period for individuals impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis. This means that if you are found eligible for benefits, you will receive retroactive payment back to the first week of your claim. It does not mean that you will be paid as soon as you file your claim.

How do I check the status of my claim?

  1. Go to www.tn.gov/workforce/checkmyclaim at least 24 hours after you have filed your claim.

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  2. Or, Log in to your Jobs4TN.gov account. On your dashboard, select “Claim Summary” under the Unemployment Services box. This page lets you know if any issues that may still be pending on your claim and show the certified weeks that have been paid to you.

    What happens if I do not return to work when called back, or accept suitable work when offered?

    If you fail to return to work when called or accept suitable work when offered then you are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits. Any benefit you collect after refusing work will result in an overpayment which must be paid back.


    Unless you meet a qualifying exception, refusing to return to work is a disqualifying circumstance for receiving unemployment compensation benefits. Overpayments that are deemed to be the result of fraud, will also incur penalties and interest, as well as potential for criminal prosecution.

    How will TDLWD be made aware of my failure to report back to work when recalled by my employer?

    You will be asked to report any offers of work you received during the week during certification. Additionally, your employer may also report a failure to return to work.

    Will the agency let me know the outcome of the refusal of return to work issue? The agency will issue a written determination that will be delivered to your preferred method of communication.

    If you disagree with the agency’s decision, you will have fifteen (15) calendar days from the mail date of the issued decision to file an appeal. You may file an appeal online via jobs4tn.gov, by email at [email protected], fax to 615-741-8933, or you can mail your appeal to: TDLWD Attention: Appeals Tribunal, 220 French Landing Dr., Nashville, TN 37243.

    When I go back to work, how do I stop the claim?

    All you need to do is stop certifying once you start working again. This lets the system know you no longer need the benefits. Continuing to certify after you have returned to work could result in an overpayment, which you would be required to pay back.

    Am I required to return to work if my child care facility reopens after being closed due to COVID-19?

    Yes. If you have access to reliable child care this will not qualify as an exception for refusing to return to work. Failure to return to work for this reason could in a loss of UI benefits. Additionally, any benefits you received after the employer extended an offer for you to return to work after regaining access to child care will result in an overpayment of benefits.

    If I am on orders to quarantine by a medical professional or governmental agency do I need to return to my employer? Do I need to provide documentation to my employer and the agency?

    You will not need to return to your employer until released by your physician or the governmental entity. However, you must supply your employer and TDLWD with documentation to support your quarantine.

    My unemployment benefits have ended can I get an extension?

    If a person has been drawing unemployment in TN and has exhausted their benefits, they could be potentially eligible for an extension under the CARES Act.

    Are unemployment benefits taxable?

    Yes, unemployment benefits are considered taxable income.



    Coronavirus-Specific Questions


    Can I receive unemployment benefits if I am out of work due to the Coronavirus pandemic?

    Yes, if you meet the eligibility requirements. To file a claim go to www.tn.gov/workforce/howtofileui,

    I’m concerned that if I apply for UI that my employer might retaliate against me or not call me back to work after the pandemic ends. What are my rights?

    State law provides all workers with the right to file for unemployment compensation benefits. Additionally, Tennessee recently updated the Separation Notice employers provide claimants who have been separated or laid-off work. This update contains new information about each employee’s right to file for UI benefits. It should be supplied to the employee in addition to the Separation Notice.

    If I have already applied for Tennessee Unemployment will I have to reapply for the additional $600 benefit provided under the Federal CARES Act?

    No, if you have already applied for Tennessee unemployment the additional benefit will be added when the funds become available and the changes to process these payments have been made.

    If businesses in my area are closed due to COVID-19, do I still have to do weekly work searches?

    No, currently, the work search requirement has been modified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Can I get Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for a coronavirus business closure?

    The CARES Act will provide benefits to those who qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance which is similar to Disaster Unemployment Assistance. The Federal CARES Act provides additional Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits to Tennesseans impacted by the COVID-19 health emergency. The new federal law provides:

    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance - Can provide 39 weeks of eligibility for individuals who have traditionally been ineligible for UI benefits, if they meet requirements. (Self- employed, gig workers, independent contractors)

    • Pandemic Unemployment Compensation - An additional $600 per week, on top of regular benefits, to all UI recipients; and,

    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation - Can provide an additional 13 weeks of UI benefits to eligible claimants.

The federal government has recently passed laws that provide additional

Unemployment Insurance benefits. How do those changes impact Tennesseans? The federal government recently created three new programs related to Unemployment Insurance compensation and COVID-19 under the provisions of the CARES Act passed on March 27, 2020.

These programs include Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”); Federal Pandemic

Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) which provide an additional $600 per week of benefits; and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) which additional 13 weeks of benefits for claimants who have exhausted regular Tennessee Unemployment Compensation (TUC) benefits. These programs are discussed in more detail below.


Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation - PEUC - 13 Additional Weeks Availability


I am already receiving UI. How will this program assist me?

If you exhaust your regular UI benefits (up to 26 weeks), you may receive an additional 13 weeks of additional benefits under the PEUC program.

I exhausted my benefits a few weeks ago. Am I still eligible for these 13 weeks of PEUC benefits?

Yes. Anyone who exhausted UI benefits after July 1, 2019, is eligible to receive 13 additional weeks of benefits.

Will I also receive the additional $600 per week during these 13 weeks of UI eligibility?

Yes. The additional 13 weeks of benefits will include an additional $600 per week until July 31, 2020.


Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)


Will I also receive an additional $600 per week in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)?

Yes. Tennessee Unemployment Compensation (TUC), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits will each include an additional $600 per week FPUC payment until July 31, 2020.

I am already receiving UI. What do I have to do to receive this additional $600 per week?

Nothing. The additional $600 per week will be automatically added to all regular UI and PUA benefits.

Will this additional $600 per week reduce my regular UI benefits?

No. The additional $600 per week benefit will not reduce any UI or PUA benefits.

How long will I receive this additional $600 UI benefit?

The additional $600 per week benefit ends July 31, 2020.

Will this additional $600 per week be counted towards my eligibility for other government programs?

The additional $600 per week payment will not be counted towards your income eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).


Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

How do I apply for PUA?

You can file a UI application online at jobs4tn.gov or call (844) 224-5818. Due to high call volume at this time, we recommend filing online outside normal business hours of 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. CST. Please note, you will not be eligible for PUA until you have been determined ineligible for UI benefits or have exhausted all regular UI benefits.

Do I have to wait a week after I became unemployed before I can receive benefits under PUA?

No, the waiting week was temporarily suspended by Governor Lee’s Executive Order 15.

How long do benefits from PUA last?

PUA benefits may cover periods of unemployment up to 39 weeks.

Are benefits from PUA retroactive?

Yes, PUA benefits can be paid retroactively for periods of unemployment directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning on or after January 27, 2020.

I am self-employed. When the state calculates my PUA weekly benefit amount, will I receive back pay if my actual benefit should be higher than the initial $120 per week I received?

Yes, when state determines your actual weekly benefit amount, if it is higher than the minimum

$120 payment, you will retroactively receive the difference between the minimum and your actual benefit amount.

I can work remotely. Am I eligible for PUA?

No. If you have the option to work remotely, you are not eligible for PUA benefits.

What is the maximum benefit I can receive from PUA?

Your benefit rate is based on your wages over the past 18 months. In Tennessee, the current maximum weekly benefit amount is $275. The minimum PUA benefit amount is 50% of the average weekly benefit amount. In Tennessee, for weeks January 27, 2020 - March 31, 2020, the minimum benefit amount is $120. For April 1, 2020 - June 30, 2020, the minimum benefit rate is $121. The maximum benefit amount is $275.


Employers


Employer UI Contact Information

Employer Tech Assistance: 615-770-1712

Employer Helpdesk: [email protected]

Partial/Employer Filed Claims: [email protected]

Are employees eligible for UI benefits if an employer "furloughs" them

temporarily?

Yes, the employee should file his/her Current Employment Status as “Temporary Layoff with Recall”, as long as all other eligibility requirements are met. Their weekly benefit amount is determined based on wages earned in a 4 quarter based period.

I’m a small business owner who has had to shut down due to COVID-19. Am I eligible for UI?

Self-employed individuals impacted by COVID-19 may apply for benefits under the provisions of the CARES Act.

If I have to temporarily or permanently close my business, what happens if I do not provide the state an employer-filed Partial/Employer-filed claim?

If you do not submit an employer-filed mass claim (also known as a partial claim), each of your employees will need to file individual claims which will take much longer to process. If you do not file an employer-filed claim, please provide each separated employee with a completed separation notice. You can find the fillable form through this link: https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/workforce/documents/Forms/LB-0489.pdf.

If I choose to file a Partial/Employer-filed claim what steps do I need to take?

This is the preferred method if your business has not yet closed and you believe you will reopen. If you are uncertain of a reopen date, enter 16 weeks from the date of filing. Employers provide a list of employee names and required information to file a claim on behalf of employees. Instruct employees not to file an individual claim and that they will need to certify each Sunday to be paid in a timely manner. Here is a link with more information: https://www.tn.gov/workforce/covid-19/employers.html

How do Employers obtain confirmation of successful Partial/Employer-filed claims?

All lists are effective the date they are submitted. However, as you might expect, we are experiencing unprecedented numbers, and delays may be longer than usual. When an employer submits a spreadsheet to the [email protected] email account, they receive an auto-response letting them know that it was received and they will be notified via email once it has been successfully uploaded.

If an employer doesn’t receive an email receipt after submitting their Partial/Employer filed claim, what do they need to do?

A confirmation email will be sent when complete.

Are Partial/Employer-Filed Claims Auto Approved?

Yes, as long as the employee did not file on their own, prior to the spreadsheet being uploaded.

Will the Partial/Employer filed claims be backdated to the date they were submitted?

Yes

Does an employer need to respond to a Notice for Wage and Separation Request? If the layoff was due to COVID-19, no, the employer does not need to respond. In fact, responding can delay the adjudication process for these claims. However, if the employee was separated from

the employer for any other reason, yes, the employer should respond and provide the details of

the separation so that our teams can properly adjudicate the claim.

Does an employer who gives a claimant a 1099 need to respond to a Notice for Wage and Separation Request if the claimant selected the employer as their separating employer when they filed their claim? If so, then how does an out of state employer with no SEIN respond?

Employers may (but are not required to) respond to claims filed by independent contractors. However, if the claim is approved and the employer is identified as the separating employer, the employer may file an appeal and raise that issue.

If a claimant returns to work and makes more than their weekly benefit are they still eligible for FPUC?

No. To be eligible for FPUC claimants must be eligible for at least one dollar ($1) of his/her weekly benefit amount (WBA). If the claimant earns more than his/her WBA he/she will be ineligible for any benefit payment of any type.

Will the benefit charges of approved claimants be charged to employers in their base period if the employer has had to close due to government mandate?

It depends. Under provisions of the CARES Act and executive orders signed by Governor Lee, the employer may be eligible to request a non-charge on the account for separations due to COVID-19.

If employees are retained with only partial pay, are they eligible for UI benefits? It depends on how much they earn. If they are earning more than $275/week, they would be “in excess” and not eligible for additional benefits. The best thing to do is to go ahead and file the claim.

At the end of the filing, claimants can check their claim summary or message center to see the

monetary determination letter.

What is the minimum number of employees that should be a part of a Partial/Employer filed claim?

As few as one.

Can the Employer file if they do not have Excel?

Yes, they can use any application they have that is similar to excel and we can convert it here.

How does an employer extend their date if they have already filed?

It is recommended to call the 615-770-1712 or they can provide a new spreadsheet with the new extended dates listed. It is always recommended for the employer to file with the full 16 weeks listed.

Can you provide a phone number to call for online access?

844-224-5818

Do we have an obligation to provide notice under the federal WARN Act if we are forced to suspend operations on account of the coronavirus and its aftermath?

Yes, WARN regulations have NOT been waived so all statutes still apply. However, because of the language in the statute and to the unexpectedness of this pandemic, the 60-day provision would not apply.

Can I send employees home who exhibit potential symptoms of contagious illnesses at work?

This should be part of normal procedures based on the company’s policy, but if they are continued to be paid, then they will not need to file unemployment.

What are our obligations to uniformed service members who are called up to serve in response to the COVID-19 crisis?

USERRA laws that govern recalls still apply.

If my employee indicates that they contracted the coronavirus while at work. Will this result in a compensable workers’ compensation claim? Does the same apply if they were on a business trip?

You would need to contact the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation at 800-332-2667 (within Tennessee) or 615-532-4812.

I have immediate hiring needs, how can I be part of TN Talent Exchange?

Register on Jobs4TN.gov. Go to https://www.tn.gov/workforce/covid-19/jobs.html for more information.

I am a staffing firm and want to help get people to work; can I get a listing of folks who are unemployed?

Other than the normal process through Jobs4TN, or now the TN Talent Exchange, there is no mechanism to provide a list. WARN information will not be distributed to staffing companies.

Where can employers get information concerning the Tennessee Talent Exchange?

Employers can follow this link: https://www.tn.gov/workforce/covid-19/jobs.html

If an employer sends an apprentice home and the apprentice is no longer working, is the employer responsible for lost wages?

The employer would not be held responsible for wages any more than any other layoff under normal circumstances within a company. If the employer is not responsible for wages, then the employee may be eligible to file for unemployment.

If apprentices are laid off, do they remain in a registered apprenticeship program?

Please refer to guidance from the USDOL Apprenticeship program.

If we are responding to a claim, is the layoff date the last day worked?

Yes, it’s the last day the employee physically worked.

Is the employer account number their EIN or JOBS4TN account number?

It is their SEIN and their JOBS4TN account number. It starts with 0 and has 7 numbers in it.

Why would an employee be told by the Unemployment Division that their claim is

“awaiting employer action”?

This would be the case if the employer did not file a Partial/Employer filed claim and the department has to verify the reason for separation. It speeds up the process when employers provide the separation notice or file a mass claim directly into Jobs4TN.gov.

Must we keep paying employees who are not working? Example: Employees want to take sick leave so they are not exposed, but are not actually sick.

If the employer chooses to pay the employee, then there would be no need to file unemployment.

If we lay off employees temporarily, do we have to pay out their vacation? If so, is there a timeframe for which it must be paid?

It is encouraged to pay the employee; otherwise, they would be eligible to file unemployment.

Can we lay off employees who are on medical leave?

That is up to employer/company policy and the employee may still be eligible to file for unemployment if not paid.

Can we automatically charge missed time to vacation and leave balances?

That is up to employer/company policy. The employee may still be eligible to file for unemployment if not paid.

Does family and medical leave apply to this situation?

That depends on guidance from USDOL and the CARES Act.

Can my employees quit and file for unemployment?

The department cannot bar anyone from applying for unemployment benefits. However, when a claim is filed the employer is notified and has seven days to respond to the claim. If the employee resigned, or quit, the employer should respond accordingly and provide the facts to the department.

Any timeline on when information will be available regarding the $600 stimulus

benefit and when it will begin?

We are awaiting on USDOL and CARES Act guidance.

If I have laid employees off already, can I call them back and their salary be paid via the stimulus loan?

That depends on guidance from USDOL. Stay tuned.

Does the additional $600 come directly from the federal gov’t or through each state? Can affected employees apply once for both or does it require a separate application?

The $600 comes directly from the Federal government, in the form of the stimulus package for each state to distribute. Each state is awaiting final guidance/interpretation from USDOL. It might be distributed along with unemployment each week or “alongside”, meaning if Tennessee chooses to let another agency do it, that would be allowable. The way we understand it now would be: once a person is approved for unemployment, the $600 just falls right in line with that, no additional application necessary.

If an employer reopens or restarts work in 3 or 5 weeks (in which employees are receiving the additional benefits) would they be making more money with additional benefits than they would be working? What if those employees won’t return to work until the benefits are exhausted?

That is an extremely valid question being asked all over, by many different entities. It’s a real concern. It’s written in the bill to be an additional $600 for four months. For example, if an employer opens back up, calls an employee back to work, and the person refuses, then they would need to notify us. At that point, the issue of work refusal would have to be investigated and the claimant could be overpaid and considered fraud from that point forward, if not returning to work.

If we have to lay off employees due to COVID-19, will this hurt us in the future for receiving funds from the local boards?

No decision has been made yet. This will have to be discussed and guidance will be published when appropriate.

Am I required to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to my employees? Businesses should follow guidance issued by the CDC, Tennessee Department of Health, and any applicable federal or regulatory requirements. In addition to these general guidelines for all

Tennessee employers and employees, each employer and employee should refer to their industry-

specific guidance as set forth in the Tennessee Pledge. The Tennessee Pledge can be found at https://www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19/economic-recovery/tennessee-pledge.html.

Are employees required to return to work if called back?

Yes, unless they meet a qualified exception.

How do I report an employee who refused recall back to employment?

You may submit your information at https://lwdsupport.tn.gov/hc/en- us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=360003403833. Please answer all questions. It will also be helpful to provide any documentation you have to confirm the employee was notified of the need to report to work or refused to report to work.

Is an employee required to return to work if they are under quarantine by a

physician or governmental official?

No, at this time the employee must comply with the quarantine orders. The employees should supply documentation to you covering the dates of the quarantine.

Do I have to recall the employee to the same position, same rate of pay, and same

schedule?

It would be best if the employee was recalled in the same capacity as previous employment. If that is not possible, we will investigate the employee’s failure to return to work and issue a determination based on TN employment security law.

What documentation should be provided to the agency to show contact was made for recall of an employee.

We will need verification that you communicated the need to report to work back to you employee. This verification may include, but is not limited to, an e-mail, certified letter with proof of delivery, a voice mail recording, or phone record of the call to the employee’s most current contact information.

Will the agency let me know the outcome of the refusal of return to work issue? The agency will issue a written determination that will be delivered to your preferred method of communication.

If you disagree, you will have fifteen (15) calendar days from the mail date of the issued decision to file an appeal. You may file an appeal online via jobs4tn.gov, by email at [email protected]gov, fax to 615-741-8933, or you can mail your appeal to: TDLWD, Attention: Appeals Tribunal, 220 French Landing Dr., Nashville, TN 37243.