CHAPTER 121

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 202

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 33, TITLE 19 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend § 3317 of Chapter 33, Title 19 of the Delaware Code by inserting "(a)" before the first sentence of § 3317 which begins "Claims for benefits shall ....".

Section 2. Amend § 3317 of Chapter 33, Title 19 of the Delaware Code by adding new subsections (b) and (c) to read as follows:

"(b) Whenever an individual files a claim for benefits, the Department shall forward to the employer by whom the claimant was most recently employed, hereafter the 'last employer', and to each base period employer relating to the individual's claim a separation notice. The last and base period employer(s) shall return such notices completed, indicating the reason for the claimant's separation from work with them and the individual claimant's last date of work with them, within seven (7) days of the date contained on the separation notice. Any last or base period employer who fails to timely return a separation notice or who fails to complete a separation notice within the period prescribed above shall be barred from claiming subsequently that the individual claimant to whom such separation notice applied shall be disqualified under any provisions of § 3315, Title 19, and shall be barred from seeking relief from benefit wage charges to its experience merit rating account under § 3355 or under § § 3349-56, Title 19, unless the Department for reasons found to constitute good cause, shall release such employer from the default. If the last or base period employer fails to timely submit a completed separation notice, the Department shall not be required to issue a determination on said claim or to make an examination of said claim or be required to follow the remaining procedures as set forth in 19 Del, C, § § 3318-3320.

(c) Upon receipt by the Department of a timely submitted and completed separation notice from the last or base period employer, and if said employer's statement on the separation notice does not contest the claimant's entitlement to benefits by raising a potentially disqualifying issue as the reason for the claimant's separation or indicates that the claimant was laid off due to lack of work, the employer shall be subject to benefit wage charges to its experience merit rating account in accordance with 19 Del. C § 3355 and § § 3349-56; and such employer shall not be entitled to any further appeal or relief of benefit wage charges on the basis of such claim. In such cases, the Department shall not be required to make an examination of said claim or of benefit wage charges to the employer's experience merit rating account, nor shall the Department be required to issue or send a determination to the last or base period employer or to the claimant on such claim for benefits nor shall the Department be required to follow the remaining procedures for determination of such claims as set forth in 19 Del. C § § 3318-3320. In addition, in such cases, benefits shall be paid unless it is later determined by the Division that such claimant is not otherwise qualified or eligible for benefits, but in no event, shall such employer be entitled to be a party to such later determination or be entitled to benefit wage charge relief on such claim".

Section 3. Amend § 3318(a) of Chapter 33, Title 19 of the Delaware Code by deleting (a) in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(a) If the last employer timely files a completed separation notice in accordance with § 3317 of this Title and the employer's statement on the separation notice does raise a potentially disqualifying issue as to the reason for the claimant's separation, the claim shall be referred to a representative of the Department, hereinafter referred to as a Claims Deputy, who shall examine the claim and on the basis of the facts found by him shall initially determine the individual's qualification and non-monetary eligibility for benefits, and issue a determination in which it is determined whether or not such claim is valid. If valid, the Claims Deputy shall further determine the week with respect to which benefits shall commence. In lieu of making a determination, the Claims Deputy may elect to refer such claim or any question involved therein to an appeal tribunal which shall make its decision with respect thereto in accordance with the procedure described in subsection (c) of this section. In either case, the Claims Deputy shall promptly notify the claimant and the last employer of his determination and the reasons therefor. The Claims Deputy may for good cause reconsider a determination and shall promptly notify the claimant and the last employer of his amended determination and the reasons therefor, as the case may be. Base period employers who have submitted timely and completed separation notices in accordance with § 3317 may seek relief from benefit wages charged to their experience merit rating accounts in accordance with § 3355 of this Title except that for a claim in which the last employer is also a base period employer for such claim, the issue of benefit wage charge relief or such base period employer shall be determined in accordance with the determination on the issue of the claimant's last separation from such employer."

Section 4. Amend § 3318(b) of Chapter 33, Title 19 of the Delaware Code by deleting (b) in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"(b) Unless a claimant or a last employer who has submitted a timely and completed separation notice in accordance with Section 3317 files an appeal within ten (10) calendar days after such Claims Deputy's determination was mailed to the last known addresses of the claimant and the last employer, the Claims Deputy's determination shall be final and benefits shall be paid or denied in accordance therewith. If a Claims Deputy's determination awards benefits, such benefits shall be paid promptly in accordance with such determination upon its issuance. If an appeal is filed from a Claims Deputy's determination that awards benefits, benefits shall be paid in accordance with such determination notwithstanding such appeal, but if the appeals tribunal's determination or a determination of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board under Sections 3320, 3321, and 3322 of this Title, or judicial review under Section 3323 of this Title, modifies or reverses the award of the benefits, the claimant shall be paid benefits for the weeks of unemployment following the issuance of such an appeals tribunal, Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board or judicial review decision only in accordance with such decisions."

Section 5. Amend § 3355 of Chapter 33, Title 19 of the Delaware Code by deleting § 3355 and its heading in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following:

"§ 3355. Notice to employers of benefits paid and status of accounts; employer applications for review and redetermination of benefit wages charged to their experience merit rating accounts (relief from charges).

(a) The Department shall provide quarterly notification to base period employers of benefit wages charged to their experience merit rating accounts hereafter referred to as 'benefit wage charge notices'.

(b) Such benefit wage charge notices shall become conclusive and binding upon the base period employer unless, within Neat (15) days after the mailing of the notice thereof to the last known address or in the absence of mailing within fifteen (15) days after the delivery of such notice, a base period employer who is subject to tax rate assessments under § 3345(a) of this Title files an application for review seeking relief from benefit wages charged to its experience merit rating account. A § 3345(u) base period employer who has filed a timely application for review of its benefit wage charge notice shall be entitled to relief from such benefit wage charges contained in such notice only on the basis that: (I) the claimant's separation from the base period employer (if such separation was separate from and prior to the claimant's separation from his last employer and if the base period employer is not also the last employer) was not qualifying under subdivisions (1), (2) mid (7) of § 3315 of this Title and (11) the Department administratively erred in calculating the correct amount of certain benefit wages charged to its account. However, as to (I) and (II) above, any such base period or last employer who has failed to return a completed separation notice which is applicable to the benefit wage charge at issue in a timely manner in accordance with § 3317 shall be barred from seeking benefit wage charge relief unless the Department for reasons found to constitute good cause should release the base period or last employer from the default. Regardless, no employer shall have standing to seek benefit wage charge relief pursuant to the procedure established in § § 3317-3325.

(c) Applications for review shall be referred to an individual designated by the Department, who shall examine the basis for each request for relief from benefit wage charges made to the employer's experience merit rating account. After such review, the Department's representative shall promptly notify the-base period employer and .each claimant involved of his decision on the base period employer's request for review, and such decision shall become final unless within fifteen (15) days after the mailing of notice thereof to the last known address or in the absence of mailing within fifteen (15) din's after the delivery of such notice, the base period employer files and application for redetermination with the Department.

(d) Unless the request for redetermination is withdrawn, an appeals tribunal, after affording the base period employer and the claimant, if a claimant is involved, and the Department a reasonable opportunity for fair hearing with regard to each benefit wage charge, shall affirm, modify, or reverse those portions of the benefit wage charge notice challenged by the employer. The base period employer, the Department, and a claimant, if involved, shall be duly notified of the appeal tribunal's decision on each benefit wage charge for which redetermination is requested, together with its reasons therefor, which shall be deemed to be final unless within fifteen (15) days after the delivery of such decision, a petition for judicial review is filed in the Superior Court. In any proceeding under this section the findings of the appeals tribunal as to the facts, if supported by evidence and in the absence of fraud, shall be conclusive and the jurisdiction of the Court shall be confined to the questions of law. No additional evidence shall be received by the Court but the Court may order additional evidence to fee taken before the appeals tribunal or the Department and the Department or appeals tribunal may, after hearing such evidence, modify its redetermination and file such modified redetermination, together with a transcribed copy of the additional record with the Court. Such proceedings shall be heard in a summary manner and shall be given precedence over all other civil cases except cases arising under § § 3317-25 of this Title and the Workmen's Compensation Law, Chapter 23 of this Title.

(e) Such redetermination of benefit wage charge notices which have become final and binding after notice and after providing the opportunity for hearing or appeal, and the findings of fact in connection therewith, may be introduced in any subsequent administrative or judicial proceedings involving the determination of the rate of assessments of any employer for any calendar year and shall be entitled to the same finality as is provided in § 3354 of this Title with respect to findings of fact made by the Department and proceedings to redetermine the assessment rate of an employer."

Section 6. Amend 19 Del. C, § 3354(b) by inserting after the citation "§ § 3317-3325" as it appears therein the following citation: "or § 3355"; and by inserting after the words "only in the event that he was not" and before the words "a party to such determination redetermination or decision or to any other proceedings under this chapter in which the character of such services WAS determined" as they appear therein the following: "provided the opportunity, via the issuance of a separation notice by the Department, as required pursuant to § 3317(b) of this Title, to be",

Section 7. This Act shall become effective upon enactment and shall apply to all claims for benefits and notices of statement of benefit wage charges to employer's merit rating accounts mailed, issued, filed, or appealed on or after the effective date of this Act.

Approved July 3, 1995