SB501 (2010)

Relative to worksharing benefits under the unemployment compensation law, and relative to training grants.


Status: SIGNED BY GOVERNOR (Details)
Length: 2214 words.

Revisions of this bill in our system:

 HouseSenate
Public hearing:2010-03-30 13:00:00 LOB 3072010-02-18 00:00:00
Executive session:2010-04-28 14:00:00(unscheduled)
Floor vote:2010-05-05 00:00:002010-03-17 00:00:00

CHAPTER 28

SB 501-FN – FINAL VERSION

03/03/10 0819s

21Apr2010… 1330h

05/05/10 1931eba

2010 SESSION

10-2959

06/10

SENATE BILL 501-FN

AN ACT relative to worksharing benefits under the unemployment compensation law, and relative to training grants.

SPONSORS: Sen. Hassan, Dist 23; Sen. Houde, Dist 5; Sen. Merrill, Dist 21; Sen. DeVries, Dist 18; Sen. Cilley, Dist 6; Sen. Lasky, Dist 13; Sen. Kelly, Dist 10; Sen. Larsen, Dist 15; Sen. Fuller Clark, Dist 24; Sen. Sgambati, Dist 4; Sen. Reynolds, Dist 2; Sen. Janeway, Dist 7; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Gilmour, Dist 12; Sen. Odell, Dist 8; Rep. Wallner, Merr 12; Rep. S. Kelly, Merr 7; Rep. Eaton, Ches 2; Rep. Butler, Carr 1; Rep. Infantine, Hills 13

COMMITTEE: Commerce, Labor and Consumer Protection

ANALYSIS

This bill provides for worksharing benefits paid to employees under a worksharing plan approved by the department of employment security. The bill also makes changes to eligibility and funding for certain training grants.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.

03/03/10 0819s

21Apr2010… 1330h

05/05/10 1931eba

10-2959 06/10

STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Ten

AN ACT relative to worksharing benefits under the unemployment compensation law, and relative to training grants.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

28:1 New Subdivision; Worksharing. Amend RSA 282-A by inserting after section 31 the following

new subdivision:

Worksharing

282-A:31-a Definitions. In this subdivision:

I. “Affected unit” means a specified plant, department, shift, or other definable unit consisting of no fewer than 2 employees to which an approved worksharing plan applies.

II. “Employee” means any individual employed full-time or on a permanent part-time basis by any employer subject to this chapter and in employment subject thereto.

III. “Fringe benefits” include, but are not limited to, health insurance, retirement benefits, paid vacation and holidays, sick leave, and similar advantages which are incidents of employment.

IV. “Normal weekly hours of work” mean the normal number of hours of work each week for an employee in an affected unit when that unit is operating on a full-time basis, not to exceed 40 hours and not including overtime.

V. “Unemployment benefits” or “regular benefits” mean benefits payable under RSA 282-A:3 other than worksharing benefits and includes any amounts payable pursuant to an agreement under any federal law providing for compensation, assistance, or allowances with respect to unemployment.

VI. “Worksharing benefits” mean the benefits payable to employees in an affected unit under an approved worksharing plan.

VII. “Worksharing employer” means an employer with an approved worksharing plan in effect.

VIII. “Worksharing plan” means a plan of an employer under which there is a reduction in the number of hours worked by the employees in an affected unit, and the affected employees share the work remaining after the normal weekly hours of work are reduced.

282-A:31-b Worksharing Plan.

I. An employer wishing to participate in a worksharing program shall submit a written and signed worksharing plan to the commissioner for approval. The commissioner may approve a worksharing plan if the following criteria, and any other criteria the commissioner deems relevant, are met:

(a) The plan identifies the affected unit or units to which it applies.

(b) The employees in the affected unit are identified by name, social security number, the normal weekly hours of work, and proposed weekly wage and hour reduction.

(c) The normal weekly hours of work by employees in the affected unit are reduced by not less than 10 percent and not more than 50 percent and the reduction in hours in each affected unit is spread equally among employees in the affected unit.

(d) The plan provides that health benefits shall continue to be provided to the employees in the affected units as though their normal weekly hours of work had not been reduced, that contributions to a defined benefit plan, as defined in section 3(35) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), shall continue to be provided to the employees in the affected units for each hour worked by the employees, and that for individual account plans and defined contribution plans including those provided under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code as defined in section 3(34) or ERISA, employer contributions shall be made to the defined contribution plan for each hour worked by the employees in the affected units, and specifies the effect, if any, the reduction in the normal weekly hours of work will have on other fringe benefits provided by the employer.

(e) The plan certifies that the reduction in the normal weekly hours of work is instead of layoffs and states the reason for and expected duration of the work reduction. The plan shall not serve as a subsidy of seasonal employment during the off-season, nor as a subsidy of temporary part-time or intermittent employment.

(f) The written approval by the collective bargaining representative for each affected unit is included in the plan.

(g) The plan specifies a beginning and ending date. The ending date shall be not more than 26 weeks from the beginning date.

(h) The plan contains an agreement by the employer to furnish all reports and information necessary for the administration of the plan and to permit access by the commissioner to all records necessary to verify and evaluate the plan.

(i) No employee’s participation in the plan shall be precluded or limited by any particular definition of attachment to the employer, such as length of employment.

(j) The plan applies to only full-time or permanent part-time employees. No seasonal employees may participate in a worksharing plan.

(k) The plan certifies that the employer has paid all contributions, payments in lieu of contributions, interest, or penalty charges due under this chapter.

II. The commissioner shall approve or reject a worksharing plan in writing no later than 15 business days after its receipt. The commissioner’s rejection of the worksharing plan shall be final and shall not be appealable, but rejection shall not prevent an employer from submitting another plan for approval.

III. An approved worksharing plan may be modified only with the approval of the commissioner. The worksharing employer shall notify the commissioner in writing of any proposed changes in the conditions of an approved plan. If the proposed changes meet the requirements for approval of a plan, the commissioner may approve the modifications. If the modifications do not meet the requirements for approval, the commissioner may revoke the plan.

IV. The commissioner may revoke approval of a worksharing plan for good cause. The revocation order shall be in writing and shall specify the date the revocation is effective and the reasons for the revocation. Good cause for revocation shall include, but is not limited to, failure to comply with the assurances given in the plan, unreasonable revision of the productivity standards for the affected unit, conduct or occurrences tending to defeat the intent and effective operation of the plan, and violation of the criteria on which approval of the plan was based. Such action may be initiated at any time by the commissioner on his or her own motion, or at the request of any of the affected unit’s employees, or at the request of the appropriate collective bargaining agent. The revocation order shall be final and shall not be appealed.

V. At the end of the worksharing period provided in subparagraph I(g), the worksharing employer may submit a new worksharing plan to the commissioner for approval.

VI. The provisions of RSA 282-A:161, RSA 282-A:163, RSA 282-A:164, RSA 282-A:165, RSA 282-A:166, and RSA 282-A:166-a shall apply to any information submitted in connection with an application for approval or modification of a worksharing plan, the implementation of an approved worksharing plan, or the payment of worksharing benefits. An employer shall also be liable for the repayment to the commissioner of any worksharing benefits improperly paid by the commissioner as a result of information the employer submitted to the commissioner in connection with the approval, modification, or implementation of a worksharing plan which is substantially misleading or contains a material misrepresentation of fact. In addition, a claimant shall be liable for the repayment to the commissioner of any worksharing benefits which were improperly paid due to the fault of the claimant. The commissioner may utilize any remedies provided by this chapter to recover worksharing benefits.

282-A:31-c Eligibility.

I. An individual shall be eligible to receive worksharing benefits, subsequent to serving a waiting period as prescribed by the commissioner, with respect to any week only if, in addition to meeting the other conditions of eligibility for regular benefits under this chapter which are not inconsistent with this section, the commissioner finds that:

(a) The individual is employed as a member of an affected unit under an approved worksharing plan that is in effect; and

(b) The individual is able to work and is available for the normal weekly hours of work with the worksharing employer.

II. No otherwise eligible affected individual shall be denied worksharing benefits for any week by reason of the application of provisions relating to availability for work, active search for work, or applying for or accepting suitable work with other than the worksharing employer.

III. An individual shall be eligible to receive worksharing benefits in any week for which remuneration is payable to him or her as an employee in an affected unit for less than the employee’s normal weekly hours of work as specified under the approved worksharing plan in effect for that week.

IV. An individual who is not eligible to receive unemployment benefits by reason of the application of RSA 282-A:28, I shall not be eligible to receive worksharing benefits.

282-A:31-d Benefits Payable.

I. The weekly worksharing benefit amount payable to an affected individual shall be the product of the regular weekly benefit amount, as defined in RSA 282-A:25 multiplied by the percentage reduction in the individual’s normal weekly hours of work, rounded to the next lower full dollar amount. The weekly worksharing benefit amount shall not be reduced by reason of application of the provisions of RSA 282-A:26 to remuneration received from the worksharing employer. If in any week an individual performs services for a worksharing employer and an employer other than the worksharing employer, the weekly worksharing benefit amount shall be reduced by the amount by which the remuneration received from the non-worksharing employer exceeds 30 percent of the maximum benefit rate in effect.

II. The total worksharing benefit amount payable to an affected individual during any benefit year shall not exceed the amount of total benefits calculated under RSA 282-A:25 minus the amount of regular and worksharing benefits paid to said individual under this chapter.

III. An individual who has received all the worksharing benefits or the combined regular benefits and worksharing benefits available in a benefit year shall be considered an exhaustee for purposes of extended benefits under RSA 282-A:30 and for any special federal extended benefits program, and, if otherwise eligible, shall be permitted to receive extended benefits and special federal extended benefits.

IV. An individual who performs no services during a week for the worksharing employer and is otherwise eligible shall be paid benefits in accordance with the other provisions of this chapter.

V. Claims for worksharing benefits shall be filed by the worksharing employer or as otherwise prescribed by the commissioner.

VI. Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter relating to charges, all worksharing benefits shall be charged to the account of the worksharing employer. Benefits paid under this section shall be charges to the employer’s account in the same manner as regular benefits are charged, except that, if the employer pays contributions in accordance with RSA 282-A:87, Schedules II and III, the employer shall be charged and billed as if it had elected to make payments in lieu of contributions under RSA 282-A:70.

VII. Except where inconsistent with the provisions of this section, the provisions of this chapter, including the rules and regulations adopted under this chapter, shall apply to benefits under this section.

282-A:31-e Conformance with Minimum Standards. In the event that the Congress of the United States should pass any legislation, or the Secretary of Labor of the United States shall issue any regulation, establishing certain minimum standards for eligibility for 100 percent reimbursement, the commissioner of the department of employment security, or the commissioner’s duly authorized representative, is hereby authorized to make such revision as may be necessary to cause this section to conform with such minimum standards. If any of the provisions of this section or the application thereof to any persons or circumstances are held invalid, the remainder of this section and the application of this section to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected thereby.

282-A:31-f Suspension or Termination of Program. The commissioner, with the consent of the advisory council on unemployment compensation, may suspend or terminate the operation of the worksharing program if, at any time, he or she determines that such action would be in the best interests of the state of New Hampshire.

28:2 Eligibility for Training Grants. Amend RSA 12-A:55, III to read as follows:

III. Only those employees who are residents of New Hampshire, or who work for a business that is located or intends to locate within the state, or are unemployed residents of New Hampshire, shall receive training from grants under this subdivision.

28:3 Eligible Costs. Amend RSA 12-A:56, IV to read as follows:

IV. The department may use no more than 10 percent, or [$100,000] $200,000, of any moneys received from the training fund established at RSA 282-A:138-a, whichever is less, to administer this program.

28:4 Contribution Rates. Amend RSA 282-A:87, IV(a)(2) to read as follows:

(2) Commencing July 1, 2007, after deduction of all costs incurred in the collection of the administrative contribution, 1/3 of the quarterly administrative contribution collected, not to exceed [$1,000,000] $2,000,000 annually, shall be deposited each quarter in the fund established by RSA 282-A:138-a and shall be expended only as provided by and for the purposes provided in that section. The remaining quarterly administrative contribution collected shall be deposited in the fund established by RSA 282-A:140 and shall be expended only as provided by and for the purposes provided in that section, and not for any other purpose.

28:5 Effective Date.

I. Sections 1, 2, and 5 of this act shall take effect upon its passage.

II. The remainder of this act shall take effect January 1, 2011.

Approved: May 11, 2010

Effective Date; I. Sections 1, 2 and 5 shall take effect May 11, 2010.

II. Remainder shall take effect January 1, 2011.