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Employer Alert: Keep Track of 30 Working Days for Illinois Unemployment Insurance Companies

March 2010

By: Nancy E. Joerg, Esq.

Many clients ask me: "How many days does an employee need to work for me before my company becomes the chargeable employer for Illinois Unemployment Insurance purposes?"

There is a simple unemployment insurance rule that Illinois employers should be aware of: A company will usually not be "charged" for an ex-employee's unemployment insurance benefits if that ex-employee did not work for the company for at least 30 working days.

This is an extremely simple rule that employers should keep in mind because, if used properly, it is a wonderful way for a company to help keep its unemployment insurance rate down.

Below are some examples to provide guidance on how the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) calculates the 30 working days:

(1) Example: The individual works a shift which begins at 10:00 p.m. on Monday and ends at 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday. While this individual performs services for this employer on two calendar days, for the purpose of determining whether the 30 day requirement has been met, the individual's shift counts as only one day of service (Monday).

(2) Example: The individual begins his shift at Noon but becomes ill fifteen minutes later. Since the individual performed services for the employer for fifteen minutes, one day is counted toward meeting the 30-day requirement.

(3) Example: The individual is scheduled to work on a certain day but fails to report for work because he is ill. Even if the employer provides paid sick leave to the individual for that day, it will not be counted toward the 30-day requirement.

(4) Example: Upon the permanent layoff of an individual, the employer pays that individual for any unused, accrued vacation time that the individual is due and grants him severance pay in the amount of one day's pay for each year of continuous service. These payments are not included for the purpose of determining whether this employer has met the 30-day requirement.

(5) Example: The individual works a four-day work week. That is, instead of working eight hours per day, five days per week, he works ten hours per day, four days per week. Even if the individual's ten-hour shift extends over two calendar days, each shift still counts as only one day, and this individual will have worked only four days in a normal work week.

Overtime work (or working additional shifts) is not included in determining whether the 30-day requirement has been met unless there is at least 6 hours between the beginning of the overtime work (or the additional shift) and the end of the prior shift and the overtime work (or additional shift) does not occur on a day which will otherwise be included in meeting the 30-day requirement.

(1) Example: The individual's normal shift ends at 3:00 a.m., and he is asked to work the next shift which begins at 4:00 a.m. Even if he works both shifts, since there is not at least 6 hours between the shifts, only one day will be counted toward meeting the 30-day requirement.

(2) Example: The individual's shift ends at 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, and he is asked to return to work for an additional overtime shift from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. He must then return to work at 7:00 p.m. to work his regular shift. This overtime work does not count as an additional day toward meeting the 30-day requirement because his regular shift begins that same day and would already be included in meeting the 30-day requirement.

(3) Example: The individual's normal shift begins at 3:00 p.m. and ends at 11:00 p.m. However, he is required to work four hours of overtime every day so that he does not complete his shift until 3:00 a.m. This shift still counts as only one day toward the 30-day requirement.

NOTE: An employer may also become the chargeable employer after less than 30 days if it was the single employer which paid wages to the individual permitting the individual to requalify for benefits after a previous disqualification under Section 601 (voluntary leaving), 602 (misconduct), or 603 (refusal of work). To requalify, the individual must earn an amount equal to or in excess of his current Weekly Benefit Amount in each of four calendar weeks.

Questions? Please contact WS Shareholder and Senior Attorney Nancy Joerg at (630) 377-1554, or najoerg@wesselssherman.com.