Alabama Department of Labor Announces New Documentation Requirement and Enforcement Initiative
The Alabama Department of Labor (AL DOL) recently announced two new changes affecting employers:
- By emergency rule adopted July 10, 2020, the AL DOL now requires all employers to provide a notice to employees regarding unemployment benefits at the time of separation; and
- The AL DOL announced on its website that it has begun enforcing employers’ new-hire reporting obligations.
What are the details?
The emergency rule adopted July 10, 2020, now requires all employers to provide a notice to employees regarding unemployment benefits at the time of separation. This notice requirement took effect immediately. Within the emergency rule, the AL DOL provided sample notice language that can be used as a safe harbor for compliance. The required notice may be made by letter, email, text message, or flyer.
The AL DOL is currently working to amend the Administrative Code to incorporate this new notice requirement. Employers should be aware of this new notice obligation and update their employment separation practices to include distributing the required notice at the time of separation.
Additionally, the AL DOL announced on its website that it has begun enforcing employers’ new-hire reporting obligations. Alabama law requires employers to report all new hires to the AL DOL. These new- hire obligations include reporting recalled employees. In its announcement, the AL DOL stated that employers should ensure that all new hires and recalled employees for the past 12 months be properly reported. The announcement on the AL DOL website not only marks the start of the DOL enforcing new hire reporting obligations but also warns employers of the consequences. Failure to report new hires and recalled employees may result in a statutory penalty. As a reminder, as of May 1, 2008, employers with five or more employees must report new hires through Alabama’s New Hire Electronic Filing System.
The Emergency rule from July 10, 2020 can be found here.
The new warning regarding new hire filings is found at the top of this webpage.
What do employers need to do?
Alabama employers should review their new hire practices to ensure that they are correctly submitting their required documents and ensure that they provide a notice to employees regarding unemployment benefits at the time of separation.