Friday, March 30, 2012

Proposed Changes to Employment Security Act of 1980

HB 2204 stipulates that an unemployed individual must register for work within seven days of filing an initial claim for unemployment benefits. The measure also provides that an unemployed individual will be eligible for benefits if, during his or her base period, the individual was paid taxable wages of any amount and if total wages equaled or exceeded the annual taxable wages in the calendar year in which the unemployment claim was filed.
Provisions are also made in HB 2204 for electronic notifications. The measure also provides for a penalty for fraud overpayment, equal to 25% of the amount of the original overpayment, and outlines where these additional monies are to be deposited.
HB 2204 also outlines procedures should an employer wish to appeal the contribution rate and provides that the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission is not to relieve an employer of a charge of benefit wages under certain conditions.
HB 2204 also directs the Veterans Services Division of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission to establish a recognition program and award funds from grants provided by the United States Department of Labor.
The measure also allows the release of certain information to the Office of Juvenile Affairs for use in assessing results and outcomes of clients served as well as the effectiveness of state and local juvenile and justice programs. The information obtained must be kept confidential by the Office of Juvenile Affairs, although aggregated data may be released for programs or larger units, provided that this meets disclosure requirements of the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.
The bill passed the house by a 76 to 1 vote and has been reported Do Pass as amended by the Senate Business and Commerce committee.

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