Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Employer Notification to Employees of the Availability of Unemployment Compensation

Employers are required to inform employees about Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits in order to ensure workers are aware of the benefits they may be eligible for if they become unemployed or experience a reduction in hours.  Workers who become unemployed may be eligible for UI benefits if they meet the requirements of state UI eligibility laws. Workers may file a UI claim in the first week that employment stops or work hours are reduced.

Employer Notification to Employees of the Availability of Unemployment Compensation Form

Notice of Claim to Employers

Any employer an individual worked for in the last 18 months may be charged for the individual’s UI benefits. Because of this, employers are able to protest the claim seeking relief from the benefit charges. The protest must be filed within 10 days after the Notice of Claim is sent to the employer. 

Fact-Finding Interview

If a claim is protested, IWD may schedule a fact-finding interview which will be conducted by telephone.

The individual and the employer will receive a Notice of Unemployment Insurance Fact-Finding Interview letter containing the scheduled date, time and the telephone number where the individual will be called for the interview. The notice contains complete instructions including what to do if the telephone number listed is incorrect. 

Note:  Employers who fail to participate in a fact-finding interview that results in an overpayment of claimant benefits will remain responsible for the benefit charges.

After the fact-finding interview, an eligibility decision will be mailed to the individual and employer. Either party can appeal the decision if they disagree. Appeal rights and instructions are included on the back of the decision notice.

You may find additional information on the appeal process at www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/non-monetary-issues.

Tips for Appeal Hearings

  • Be prepared and familiarize yourself with the facts 
  • Stick to the pertinent facts, avoid irrelevant information
  • Do not interrupt the person testifying
  • Present any documents that are pertinent to the separation issue, such as time cards, payroll records, personnel records, prior warnings, etc
  • Do not totally depend on affidavits because the person who signed the affidavit is not available to be questioned or challenged
  • Present first-hand information for evidence, not hearsay (hearsay may be admitted but its reliability can readily be challenged)
  • If you do not understand the questions, acronyms or legal jargon when questioned by the IWD representative or the administrative law judge, request clarification
  • If you do not know something, simply say so (grasping for answers could affect your credibility)
  • Once a claim is appealed, a formal hearing will be scheduled with an ALJ. A notice for a telephone hearing requires the parties to call in to the the toll free number: 866-783-7021 at the time of the hearing. When instructed, enter the PIN number that you received on your Notice of Appeal and Telephone hearing followed by the [ # ] key and wait for the Administrative Law Judge to begin the hearing.
  • Your last chance to get evidence into the record is at the administrative law judge level
    • do not withhold evidence to use later because new evidence cannot be admitted after the appeal hearing 
    • if you want to present new exhibits or summary statements from the fact-finding interview to be included in the record of an appeal hearing, make the request early enough to allow the Appeals Section to mail copies to both parties

Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) Plans

If you would like to supplement unemployment benefits for your employees, a SUB plan may be an option for your business. You must pay into a separately established trust fund, or similar account, an amount per hour (or amount equivalent) for the employees covered by the plan. Your employees should provide proof of their eligibility for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to receive SUB payments.

If you are considering the installation of a SUB plan, a copy of the plan should be submitted to Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) UI Division for approval prior to the effective date of the plan.

Extended Benefits

Extended benefits (EB) become effective in Iowa when the insured unemployment rate equals or exceeds an average of 5 percent for 13 consecutive weeks. Unemployed individuals who have exhausted all their regular UI benefits may be eligible to receive up to 13 weeks of additional payments through the EB program. In cases involving individuals of private contributory employers, EB is funded on a shared basis from the Iowa UI Trust Fund and from monies collected under the employer-financed Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA). Governmental contributory employers are charged 100 percent of EB.

Due to our low unemployment rate, Iowa currently does not fall under a plan to pay EB.  

Voluntary Shared Work - Alternative to Layoffs

The Voluntary Shared Work Program (VSW) is Iowa's version of Short Term Compensation (STC).

The VSW program offers an alternative to layoffs of five or more workers and is an effective tool for Iowa businesses experiencing a decline in regular business activity. Under the VSW program, work reductions are shared by reducing employees' work hours and allowing employees to receive a fraction of regular UI benefits which is equal to the percent of their work hour reduction. By avoiding layoffs, employees stay connected to their jobs and employers maintain their skilled workforce.

To learn more about this program visit www.iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/voluntary-shared-work-program.