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SF 1197

2nd Engrossment - 86th Legislature (2009 - 2010) Posted on 02/09/2010 02:19am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - 2nd Engrossment

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A bill for an act
relating to unemployment insurance; conforming Minnesota law to the
requirements necessary to receive federal stimulus funds; appropriating money;
amending Minnesota Statutes 2008, sections 268.035, subdivisions 4, as
amended, 21a, 23a, by adding a subdivision; 268.07, subdivisions 1, 2; 268.085,
subdivision 15; 268.095, subdivisions 1, 6.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.035, subdivision 4, as amended by
Laws 2009, chapter 1, section 1, is amended to read:


Subd. 4.

Base period.

(a) "Base period", unless otherwise provided in this
subdivision, means the last four completed calendar quarters before the effective date of
an applicant's application for unemployment benefits if the application has an effective
date occurring after the month following the last completed calendar quarter. new text beginThe base
period defined in this paragraph is considered the primary base period.
new text endThe base period
under this paragraph is as follows:

If the application for unemployment
benefits is effective on or between these
dates:
The base period is the prior:
February 1 - March 31
January 1 - December 31
May 1 - June 30
April 1 - March 31
August 1 - September 30
July 1 - June 30
November 1 - December 31
October 1 - September 30

(b) If an application for unemployment benefits has an effective date that is during
the month following the last completed calendar quarter, then the base period is the first
four of the last five completed calendar quarters before the effective date of an applicant's
application for unemployment benefits. new text beginThe base period defined in this paragraph is
considered the secondary base period.
new text endThe base period under this paragraph is as follows:

If the application for unemployment
benefits is effective on or between these
dates:
The base period is the prior:
January 1 - January 31
October 1 - September 30
April 1 - April 30
January 1 - December 31
July 1 - July 31
April 1 - March 31
October 1 - October 31
July 1 - June 30

(c) If the applicant has insufficient wage credits to establish a benefit account under
paragraph (a) or (b), but during the base period under paragraph (a) or (b) an applicant
received workers' compensation for temporary disability under chapter 176 or a similar
federal law or similar law of another state, or if an applicant whose own serious illness
caused a loss of work for which the applicant received compensation for loss of wages
from some other source, the applicant may request an extended base period as follows:

(1) if an applicant was compensated for a loss of work of seven to 13 weeks, the
base period is the first four of the last six completed calendar quarters before the effective
date of the application for unemployment benefits;

(2) if an applicant was compensated for a loss of work of 14 to 26 weeks, the base
period is the first four of the last seven completed calendar quarters before the effective
date of the application for unemployment benefits;

(3) if an applicant was compensated for a loss of work of 27 to 39 weeks, the base
period is the first four of the last eight completed calendar quarters before the effective
date of the application for unemployment benefits; and

(4) if an applicant was compensated for a loss of work of 40 to 52 weeks, the base
period is the first four of the last nine completed calendar quarters before the effective date
of the application for unemployment benefits.

(d) new text beginIf the applicant has insufficient wage credits to establish a benefit account using
the secondary base period under paragraph (b), an alternate base period of the last four
completed calendar quarters before the effective date of the applicant's application for
unemployment benefits will be used. Establishment of a benefit account is in accordance
with section 268.07, subdivision 2.
new text end

new text begin (e) new text endNo base period under paragraph (a), (b), deleted text beginordeleted text end (c)new text begin, or (d) new text end may include wage credits
upon which a prior benefit account was established.

deleted text begin (e) Notwithstandingdeleted text endnew text begin (f) Regardless of new text end paragraph (a), the new text beginsecondary new text endbase period
deleted text begin calculated underdeleted text end new text beginin new text endparagraph (b) deleted text beginusing the first four of the last five complete calendar
quarters before the effective date of the applicant's application for unemployment benefits
deleted text end
must be used deleted text beginfor an applicantdeleted text end if the applicant has more wage credits under that base period
than under the new text beginprimary new text endbase period in paragraph (a).

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for applications for unemployment
benefits filed effective on or after August 2, 2009.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.035, is amended by adding a subdivision
to read:


new text begin Subd. 19a. new text end

new text begin Immediate family member. new text end

new text begin "Immediate family member" means
the applicant's spouse, parent, stepparent, son or daughter, stepson or stepdaughter, or
grandson or granddaughter.
new text end

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.035, subdivision 21a, is amended to read:


Subd. 21a.

Reemployment assistance training.

(a) An applicant is in
"reemployment assistance training" when:

(1) new text begina new text endreasonable deleted text beginanddeleted text endnew text begin opportunity fornew text end suitable employment for the applicant does not
exist in the labor market area and deleted text beginit is necessary that the applicant receivedeleted text endnew text begin additionalnew text end
training deleted text beginin order to obtaindeleted text endnew text begin will assist the applicant in obtainingnew text end suitable employment;

(2) the curriculum, facilities, staff, and other essentials are adequate to achieve the
training objective;

(3) the training is vocational deleted text beginin naturedeleted text end or short term academic training deleted text beginvocationallydeleted text end
directed to an occupation or skill deleted text beginfor which there are reasonabledeleted text endnew text begin that will substantially
enhance the
new text end employment opportunities available to the applicantnew text begin in the applicant's labor
market area
new text end;

(4) the training course is considered full time by the training provider; and

(5) the applicant is making satisfactory progress in the training.

(b) Full-time training provided through the dislocated worker program, the Trade
Act of 1974, as amended, or the North American Free Trade Agreement is considered
"reemployment assistance training," if that training course is in accordance with the
requirements of that program.

(c) new text beginApprenticeship training provided in order to meet the requirements of an
apprenticeship program under chapter 178 is considered "reemployment assistance
training."
new text end

new text begin (d) new text endAn applicant is considered in reemployment assistance training only if the
training course has actually started or is scheduled to start within 30 calendar days.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for determinations and appeal
decisions issued on or after the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.035, subdivision 23a, is amended to read:


Subd. 23a.

Suitable employment.

(a) Suitable employment means employment in
the applicant's labor market area that is reasonably related to the applicant's qualifications.
In determining whether any employment is suitable for an applicant, the degree of risk
involved to the health and safety, physical fitness, prior training, experience, length
of unemployment, prospects for securing employment in the applicant's customary
occupation, and the distance of the employment from the applicant's residence is
considered.

(b) In determining what is suitable employment, primary consideration is given to the
temporary or permanent nature of the applicant's separation from employment and whether
the applicant has favorable prospects of finding employment in the applicant's usual or
customary occupation at the applicant's past wage level within a reasonable period of time.

If prospects are unfavorable, employment at lower skill or wage levels is suitable
if the applicant is reasonably suited for the employment considering the applicant's
education, training, work experience, and current physical and mental ability.

The total compensation must be considered, including the wage rate, hours of
employment, method of payment, overtime practices, bonuses, incentive payments, and
fringe benefits.

(c) When potential employment is at a rate of pay lower than the applicant's former
rate, consideration must be given to the length of the applicant's unemployment and the
proportion of difference in the rates. Employment that may not be suitable because of
lower wages during the early weeks of the applicant's unemployment may become suitable
as the duration of unemployment lengthens.

(d) For an applicant seasonally unemployed, suitable employment includes
temporary work in a lower skilled occupation that pays average gross weekly wages equal
to or more than 150 percent of the applicant's weekly unemployment benefit amount.

(e) If a majority of the applicant's deleted text beginwage credits were earned fromdeleted text end new text beginweeks of
employment in the base period includes
new text end part-time employment, part-time employment
in a position with comparable skills and comparable hours that pays deleted text beginaverage gross
weekly
deleted text end new text begincomparable new text endwages deleted text beginequal to or more than 150 percent of the applicant's weekly
unemployment benefit amount
deleted text end is considered suitable employment.

new text begin Full-time employment is not considered suitable employment for an applicant if a
majority of the applicant's weeks of employment in the base period includes part-time
employment.
new text end

(f) To determine suitability of employment in terms of shifts, the arrangement of
hours in addition to the total number of hours is to be considered. Employment on a
second, third, rotating, or split shift is suitable employment if it is customary in the
occupation in the labor market area.

(g) Employment is not considered suitable if:

(1) the position offered is vacant because of a labor dispute;

(2) the wages, hours, or other conditions of employment are substantially less
favorable than those prevailing for similar employment in the labor market area; or

(3) as a condition of becoming employed, the applicant would be required to join a
company union or to resign from or refrain from joining any bona fide labor organization.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective August 2, 2009.
new text end

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.07, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Application for unemployment benefits; determination of benefit
account.

(a) An application for unemployment benefits may be filed in person, by mail,
or by electronic transmission as the commissioner may require. The applicant must be
unemployed at the time the application is filed and must provide all requested information
in the manner required. If the applicant is not unemployed at the time of the application
or fails to provide all requested information, the communication is not considered an
application for unemployment benefits.

(b) The commissioner shall examine each application for unemployment benefits to
determine the base period and the benefit year, and based upon all the covered employment
in the base period the commissioner shall determine the weekly unemployment benefit
amount available, if any, and the maximum amount of unemployment benefits available, if
any. The determination is known as the determination of benefit account. A determination
of benefit account must be sent to the applicant and all base period employers, by mail or
electronic transmission.

(c) If a base period employer did not provide wage new text begindetail new text endinformation for the
applicant as deleted text beginprovided for indeleted text end new text beginrequired under new text endsection 268.044, or provided erroneous
information, new text beginor wage detail is not yet due and the applicant is using an alternate base
period under section 268.035, subdivision 4, paragraph (d),
new text endthe commissioner may accept
an applicant certification deleted text beginas todeleted text end new text beginof new text endwage credits, based upon the applicant's records, and
issue a determination of benefit account.

new text begin (d) An employer must provide wage detail information on an applicant within five
calendar days of request by the commissioner, in a manner and format requested, when:
new text end

new text begin (1) the applicant is using an alternate base period under section 268.035, subdivision
4, paragraph (d); and
new text end

new text begin (2) wage detail under section 268.044 is not yet required to have been filed by
the employer.
new text end

deleted text begin (d)deleted text end new text begin(e) new text endThe commissioner may, at any time within 24 months from the establishment
of a benefit account, reconsider any determination of benefit account and make an
amended determination if the commissioner finds that the determination was incorrect for
any reason. An amended determination must be promptly sent to the applicant and all
base period employers, by mail or electronic transmission.

deleted text begin (e)deleted text end new text begin(f) new text endIf an amended determination of benefit account reduces the weekly
unemployment benefit amount or maximum amount of unemployment benefits available,
any unemployment benefits that have been paid greater than the applicant was entitled
is considered an overpayment of unemployment benefits. A determination or amended
determination issued under this section that results in an overpayment of unemployment
benefits must set out the amount of the overpayment and the requirement under section
268.18, subdivision 1, that the overpaid unemployment benefits must be repaid.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for applications for unemployment
benefits filed effective on or after August 2, 2009.
new text end

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.07, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Benefit account requirements and weekly unemployment benefit
amount and maximum amount of unemployment benefits.

(a) To establish a benefit
accountnew text begin using the primary base period under section 268.035, subdivision 4, paragraph
(a)
new text end, an applicant must have:

(1) new text beginwage credits in the new text endhigh quarter deleted text beginwage creditsdeleted text end of $1,000 or more; and

(2) wage credits, in other than the high quarter, of $250 or more.

new text begin To establish a benefit account using the secondary base period under section 268.035,
subdivision 4, paragraph (b), an applicant must have wage credits in the high quarter
of $1,000 or more.
new text end

(b) If an applicant has established a benefit account, the weekly unemployment
benefit amount available during the benefit year is the higher of:

(1) 50 percent of the applicant's average weekly wage during the base period, to a
maximum of 66-2/3 percent of the state's average weekly wage; or

(2) 50 percent of the applicant's average weekly wage during the high quarter, to a
maximum of 43 percent of the state's average weekly wage.

The applicant's average weekly wage under clause (1) is computed by dividing
the total wage credits by 52. The applicant's average weekly wage under clause (2) is
computed by dividing the high quarter wage credits by 13.

(c) The state's maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount and an applicant's
weekly unemployment benefit amount and maximum amount of unemployment benefits
available is rounded down to the next lower whole dollar. The state's maximum weekly
benefit amount, computed in accordance with section 268.035, subdivision 23, applies
to a benefit account established effective on or after the last Sunday in October. Once
established, an applicant's weekly unemployment benefit amount is not affected by the last
Sunday in October change in the state's maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount.

(d) The maximum amount of unemployment benefits available on any benefit
account is the lower of:

(1) 33-1/3 percent of the applicant's total wage credits; or

(2) 26 times the applicant's weekly unemployment benefit amount.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for applications for unemployment
benefits filed effective on or after August 2, 2009.
new text end

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.085, subdivision 15, is amended to read:


Subd. 15.

Available for suitable employment defined.

(a) "Available for suitable
employment" means an applicant is ready and willing to accept suitable employment in
the labor market area. The attachment to the work force must be genuine. An applicant
may restrict availability to suitable employment, but there must be no other restrictions,
either self-imposed or created by circumstances, temporary or permanent, that prevent
accepting suitable employment.

(b) new text beginUnless the applicant is in reemployment assistance training, new text endto be considered
"available for suitable employment," a student new text beginwho has regularly scheduled classes new text endmust
be willing to deleted text beginquit schooldeleted text endnew text begin discontinue classesnew text end to accept suitable employmentnew text begin when:
new text end

new text begin (1) class attendance restricts the applicant from accepting suitable employment; and
new text end

new text begin (2) the applicant is unable to change the scheduled class or make other arrangements
that excuse the applicant from attending class
new text end.

(c) An applicant who is absent from the labor market area for personal reasons, other
than to search for work, is not "available for suitable employment."

(d) An applicant who has restrictions on the hours of the day or days of the week
that the applicant can or will work, that are not normal for the applicant's usual occupation
or other suitable employment, is not "available for suitable employment." An applicant
must be available for daytime employment, if suitable employment is performed during
the daytime, even though the applicant previously worked the night shift.

(e) An applicant must have transportation throughout the labor market area to be
considered "available for suitable employment."

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for determinations and appeal
decisions issued on or after the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.095, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Quit.

An applicant who quit employment is ineligible for all
unemployment benefits according to subdivision 10 except when:

(1) the applicant quit the employment because of a good reason caused by the
employer as defined in subdivision 3;

(2) the applicant quit the employment to accept other covered employment that
provided substantially better terms and conditions of employment, but the applicant did
not work long enough at the second employment to have sufficient subsequent earnings to
satisfy the period of ineligibility that would otherwise be imposed under subdivision 10
for quitting the first employment;

(3) the applicant quit the employment within 30 calendar days of beginning the
employment because the employment was unsuitable for the applicant;

(4) the employment was unsuitable for the applicant and the applicant quit to enter
reemployment assistance training;

(5) the employment was part time and the applicant also had full-time employment
in the base period, from which full-time employment the applicant separated because of
reasons for which the applicant was held not to be ineligible, and the wage credits from
the full-time employment are sufficient to meet the minimum requirements to establish a
benefit account under section 268.07;

(6) the applicant quit because the employer notified the applicant that the applicant
was going to be laid off because of lack of work within 30 calendar days. An applicant
who quit employment within 30 calendar days of a notified date of layoff because of lack
of work is ineligible for unemployment benefits through the end of the week that includes
the scheduled date of layoff;

(7) the applicant quit the employment new text begin(i) new text endbecause the applicant's serious illness or
injury made it medically necessary that the applicant quitdeleted text begin, provided thatdeleted text endnew text begin; or (ii) in order to
provide necessary care because of the illness, injury, or disability of an immediate family
member of the applicant. This exception only applies if
new text end the applicant deleted text begininformdeleted text end new text begininforms new text endthe
employer of the deleted text beginserious illness or injurydeleted text end new text beginmedical problem new text endand request accommodation and
no reasonable accommodation is made available.

If the applicant's serious illness is chemical dependency, this exception does not
apply if the applicant was previously diagnosed as chemically dependent or had treatment
for chemical dependency, and since that diagnosis or treatment has failed to make
consistent efforts to control the chemical dependency.

This exception raises an issue of the applicant's being deleted text beginable to workdeleted text end new text beginavailable for
suitable employment
new text endunder section 268.085, subdivision 1, that the commissioner deleted text beginshalldeleted text end
new text begin must new text enddetermine;

(8) the applicant's loss of child care for the applicant's minor child caused the
applicant to quit the employment, provided the applicant made reasonable effort to obtain
other child care and requested time off or other accommodation from the employer and no
reasonable accommodation is available.

This exception raises an issue of the applicant's deleted text beginavailabilitydeleted text end new text beginbeing available new text endfor
suitable employment under section 268.085, subdivision 1, that the commissioner deleted text beginshalldeleted text end
new text begin must new text enddetermine; deleted text beginor
deleted text end

(9) domestic abuse of the applicant or new text beginan immediate family member of new text endthe deleted text beginapplicant's
minor child
deleted text endnew text begin applicantnew text end, necessitated the applicant's quitting the employment. Domestic
abuse must be shown by one or more of the following:

(i) a district court order for protection or other documentation of equitable relief
issued by a court;

(ii) a police record documenting the domestic abuse;

(iii) documentation that the perpetrator of the domestic abuse has been convicted
of the offense of domestic abuse;

(iv) medical documentation of domestic abuse; or

(v) written statement that the applicant or deleted text beginthe applicant's minor childdeleted text end new text beginan immediate
family member of the applicant
new text end is a victim of domestic abuse, provided by a social
worker, member of the clergy, shelter worker, attorney at law, or other professional who
has assisted the applicant in dealing with the domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse for purposes of this clause is defined under section 518B.01new text begin; or
new text end

new text begin (10) the applicant quit in order to relocate to accompany a spouse whose job location
changed making it impractical for the applicant to commute
new text end.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for determinations issued on or
after August 2, 2009.
new text end

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 268.095, subdivision 6, is amended to read:


Subd. 6.

Employment misconduct defined.

(a) Employment misconduct means
any intentional, negligent, or indifferent conduct, on the job or off the job deleted text begin(1)deleted text end that displays
clearlynew text begin:
new text end

new text begin (1)new text end a serious violation of the standards of behavior the employer has the right to
reasonably expect of the employeedeleted text begin,deleted text endnew text begin;new text end or

(2) deleted text beginthat displays clearlydeleted text end a substantial lack of concern for the employment.

new text begin (b) Regardless of paragraph (a), the following is not employment misconduct:
new text end

new text begin (1) conduct that was a consequence of the applicant's mental illness or impairment;
new text end

new text begin (2) new text endinefficiencydeleted text begin,deleted text end new text beginor new text endinadvertencedeleted text begin,deleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (3)new text end simple unsatisfactory conductdeleted text begin, a single incident that does not have a significant
adverse impact on the employer,
deleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (4)new text end conduct an average reasonable employee would have engaged in under the
circumstancesdeleted text begin,deleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (5)new text end poor performance because of inability or incapacitydeleted text begin,deleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (6)new text end good faith errors in judgment if judgment was requireddeleted text begin, ordeleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (7)new text end absence because of illness or injury new text beginof the applicant, new text endwith proper notice to the
employerdeleted text begin, are not employment misconduct.deleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (8) absence, with proper notice to the employer, in order to provide necessary care
because of the illness, injury, or disability of an immediate family member of the applicant;
new text end

deleted text begin (b)deleted text endnew text begin (9)new text end conduct that was a direct result of the applicant's chemical dependency deleted text beginis
not employment misconduct
deleted text endnew text begin,new text end unless the applicant was previously diagnosed chemically
dependent or had treatment for chemical dependency, and since that diagnosis or treatment
has failed to make consistent efforts to control the chemical dependencydeleted text begin.deleted text endnew text begin; or
new text end

deleted text begin (c)deleted text endnew text begin (10)new text end conduct that was a result of the applicant, or deleted text beginthe applicant's minor childdeleted text endnew text begin an
immediate family member of the applicant
new text end, being a victim of domestic abuse as defined
under section 518B.01deleted text begin, is not employment misconductdeleted text end. Domestic abuse must be shown as
provided for in deleted text beginsection deleted text enddeleted text begin268.095,deleted text end subdivision 1, clause (9).

deleted text begin (d) A driving offensedeleted text endnew text begin (c) Regardless of paragraph (b), clause (9), conduct new text end in violation
of sections 169A.20, 169A.31, or 169A.50 to 169A.53 that interferes with or adversely
affects the employment is employment misconduct.

new text begin (d) If the conduct for which the applicant was discharged involved only a single
incident, that is an important fact that must be considered in deciding whether the conduct
rises to the level of employment misconduct under paragraph (a).
new text end

(e) The definition of employment misconduct provided by this subdivision is
exclusive and no other definition applies.

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective for determinations issued on or
after August 2, 2009.
new text end

Sec. 10. new text beginFEDERAL FUNDS EXPENDITURE AUTHORIZED.
new text end

new text begin $9,290,259 of federal money allocated under the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act for the purpose of unemployment insurance administration is
appropriated to the commissioner of employment and economic development to pay
unemployment insurance administration costs.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 11. new text beginFEDERAL CONFORMITY.
new text end

new text begin Sections 1, 2, 4 to 6, and 8 to 10 are enacted in order to conform to the requirements
of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provides Minnesota's
unemployment insurance trust fund $130,063,620 in incentive payments if certain changes
are made to the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance Law. These sections should be
interpreted consistent with the requirements necessary to qualify for those incentive
payments.
new text end