CHAPTER 76

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 273

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 4 AND SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 19 OF THE DELAWARE CODE TO MODIFY UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE TAX RATES, PROVIDE FOR BENEFITS BASED UPON ANNUAL WAGE HISTORIES, EXTEND THE PRESENT LEVEL OF MAXIMUM BENEFITS, AND RELATED PROVISIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF IMPROVING THE SOLVENCY OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION TRUST FUND.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Three-fifths of the members elected to each branch thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend §3302 of Title 19, Delaware Code, by striking the first paragraph of subsection (17) thereof in its entirety and substituting in its place a new paragraph to read as follows:

"'Wages' means all remuneration for personal services, Including commissions, bonuses, dismissal payments which the employing unit is not legally required to make, holiday pay and the cash value of all remuneration in any medium other than cash.'

Section 2. Amend §3302 of Title 19, Delaware Code, by striking subparagraphs (D) and (E) thereof of subsection (18) in their entirety and by designating existing subparagraph (F) thereof as subparagraph (D).

Section 3. Amend Title 19, Delaware Code, by striking existing §3313(b) thereof and by substituting in its place a new §3313(b) to read as follows:

"(b) An individual's weekly benefit amount shall be:

(1) Claims filed for weeks of unemployment beginning July 1975 and prior to July 1, 1981, the computation of an Individual's weekly benefit amount shall be an amount equal to 1/26 of his total wages for employment by employers paid during that quarter of his base period in which such total wages were highest;

(2) Claims filed for weeks of unemployment beginning July 1, 1981, the computation of an individual's weekly benefit amount shall be an amount equal to 1/104 of his total wages for employment by employers paid during his base period.

(3) In the case of claims filed under Subsections (1) or (2) of this section:

a. Claims filed for weeks of unemployment beginning July 1975, such amounts, if more than $105, will be $105 or, if less than $20, it shall be $20.

b. Claims filed for weeks of unemployment beginning July 1976, such amount will not be less than $20 or more than 60 percent of the statewide average weekly wage as defined in subdivision (21) of §3302 of this title.

c. Claims filed for weeks of unemployment beginning July 1977, such amount will not be less than $20 nor more than 63% of the statewide average weekly wage as defined in subdivision (21) of §3302 of this title; however, for the period beginning July 1, 1979, and ending June 30, 1983, claims filed for weeks of unemployment will not be less than $20 nor more than $150.

d. Claims filed for weeks of unemployment beginning July 1983 and thereafter, such amount will not be less than $20 nor more than 66 2/3 percent of the statewide average weekly wage as defined in subdivision (21) of §3302 of this title.

e. For purposes of subparagraph a, b, c and d above:

1. If an individual's weekly benefit amount is not an even dollar amount, it shall be raised to the next whole dollar.

2. Computation according to subsection (b)(2) of this section shall commence with claims filed on or after July I, 1981. Claims filed prior to July I, 1981, shall be computed according to subsection (b) (1) of this section."

Section 4. Amend Title 19, Delaware Code, by repealing §3316 thereof.

Section 5. The Secretary of Labor shall make a report to the General Assembly on or before April 1, 1983 concerning the feasibility of increasing the maximum benefit to 66 2/3% of the statewide average weekly wage.

Section 6. Amend §3314(5)(A) of Title 19, Delaware Code by striking the words "but if more than 75 percent of a claimant's base period wages were paid for seasonal employment as defined in §3316 of this title, such claimant shall be eligible to receive benefits in accordance with §3316 of this title if during his base period he has been paid wages for employment equal to not less than $300," in the first paragraph thereof and the words "(excluding claimants whose eligibility is based upon seasonal employment)," in the second paragraph thereof.

Section 7. Amend §3345 of Title 19, Delaware Code by adding a new subsection thereto, to be designated subsection (d), to read as follows:

"(d) Beginning July 1, 1981, the taxable wage base as specified in subsection (b) of this section may be increased as follows:

(1) An increase shall occur if the federal government shall relieve Delaware employers from reductions in credits under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act which have been projected as follows:

(i) .9% for 1981 wages

(ii) 1.2% for 1982 wages

(iii) 1.5% for 1983 wages

(iv) 1.8% for 1984 wages

(v) 2.1% for 1985 wages

(vi) 2.4% for 1986 wages

(vii) 2.7% for 1987 wages and thereafter.

(2) The amount of any such increase shall be in an amount determined by regulation by the Secretary of Labor equivalent to the estimated savings effected by such federal relief. Such determination shall be reviewable only for abuse of discretion. The Secretary of Labor's estimate shall be effective upon the effectiveness of any such federal relief.

(3) To the extent federal requirements pertaining to eligibility for tax credits or administrative grants permit, the proceeds of any such increase may, at the direction of the Secretary of Labor, be deposited by the State Treasurer in a special fund, prudently invested, and dedicated to repayment of any amounts borrowed from the federal government for unemployment compensation purposes. Such repayment shall be made upon the authorization of the Secretary of Labor.

(4) As soon as present and any future borrowings from the federal government for unemployment compensation purposes are completely repaid, further increases in the taxable wage base pursuant to subsection (d)(1) of this section shall cease, and the taxable wage base shall continue at its level as of the time of such complete repayment.

(5) On or before six months following the time of such complete repayment, the Secretary of Labor shall report to the General Assembly concerning the feasibility of adjustments to the taxable wage base."

Section 8. Amend §3302(18) of Title 19, Delaware Code by striking the words "Wages does not include:" as they appear on the first line thereof and by substituting in their place the words "Except as provided in subsection (d) of §3345 of this Title, wages does not include:".

Section 9. Amend Title 19, Delaware Code, by striking existing §3348 thereof and by substituting in its place a new §3348 to read as follows:

"(a) On or before December 31 of each year, the Secretary of Labor shall establish an average industry contribution rate for the next succeeding calendar year for each of the industrial classification categories (carried to 2 places) listed in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Manual furnished by the federal government. The average industry contribution rate for each standard industrial classification category shall be computed by multiplying total taxable wages paid by each employer in the industrial classification category during the twelve consecutive months ending on September thirtieth by the employer's contribution rate established for the next calendar year and dividing the aggregate product for all employers in the industrial classification category by the total of taxable wages paid by all employers in the industrial classification category during the twelve consecutive months ending on September thirtieth.

(b) For any employing unit which first becomes subject to this chapter on or after the effective date of this Act, the standard rate shall be the average industry contribution rate in that employer's SIC category. In all other cases, the standard rate shall be 2 7/10 percent.

(c) The SIC category pertaining to each employer shall be as determined by the Secretary of Labor or his designee and shall be reviewable only for abuse of discretion.

(d) In the event no Delaware employers exist in a particular SIC category, the standard rate for such category shall be 2 7/10 percent.

(e) In the event that it is determined that subsection (a) of this section is inconsistent with federal requirements pertaining to eligibility for tax credit or administrative grants, the standard rate shall be 2 7/10 percent.

(f) An employer's standard rate, once assigned, shall not vary until the employer becomes a rated employer as defined in section 3349 of this Title."

(g) Each employer shall pay assessments equal to the standard rate, except as may be otherwise prescribed in this chapter."

Section 10. Amend §3350(5) of Title 19, Delaware Code, by striking all of existing §3350(5) and by substituting in Its place the following:

"The basic assessment rate for each employer for the current calendar year shall be determined prior to the due date of the first basic assessment for such year in accordance with the following table:

If the employer's benefit wage ratio exceeds the percentage in the last column of the table opposite the State Experience Factor, his contribution rate shall be 7%."

Section 11. Amend §3350(6), Title 19, Delaware Code, by striking the words"2 7/10" as they appear therein and by substituting in their place the words "6 3/10".

Section 12. Amend §3356 of Title 19, Delaware Code, by striking the last sentence thereof.

Section 13. The provisions of this Act are severable, and If any phrase, clause, sentence or provision of this Act, or the application of such phrase, clause, sentence, or provision, to any person or circumstances shall be held invalid or inconsistent with federal requirements pertaining to tax credits or administrative grants, the remainder of this Act and the application of such provision or provisions to persons and circumstances other than to those to which it was held Invalid or inconsistent, shall not be affected thereby.

Section 14. This Act shall be effective July 1, 1981 for taxes due on taxable wages paid in the year commencing January 1, 1982, provided, however, that the provisions of Section 10 of this Act shall not apply to any contractor as defined in Section 2501, Chapter 25, Title 30 of the Delaware Code or to the wages paid by any such contractor, until commencing January 1, 1983 which shall be the effective date for the provisions of Section 10 with respect to any such contractor. Such contractor's basic assessment rate for each of the quarters of 1982 shall be determined in accordance with the provisions of §3350 (5) of Title 19, Delaware Code as they were In effect immediately prior to this amendment by Section 10 of this Act for assessments due for the calendar year 1981.

Approved June 30, 1981.