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New York Introduces New Rules for Partial Unemployment Benefits Shifting the calculation from days worked to hours worked

Cuomo

On January 18, 2021, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that under his direction the Department of Labor (DOL) will implement a new rule that redefines how part-time work impacts unemployment benefits. NYS DOL’s new partial unemployment system uses an “hours-based” approach. Under the new rules, claimants can work up to 7 days per week without losing full unemployment benefits for that week if they work 30 hours or fewer and earn $504 or less in gross pay excluding earnings from self-employment. With this change, claimants’ benefits will not be reduced for each day they engage in part-time work and will be reduced in increments based on total hours of work for the week.

For comparison, NYS DOL’s previous system for partial UI counted part-time work in full-day increments. Under this approach, a claimant who worked part-time would lose 25% of their weekly benefits for each day worked regardless of the number of hours worked on each of those days. For example, a claimant who earned just $45 during a three-hour shift would have lost a quarter of their weekly benefits.

NEW SYSTEM: HOURS WORKED PER WEEK 

OLD SYSTEM: NUMBER OF DAYS TO REPORT TO UI

% REDUCTION IN UI

0 - 4

0 DAYS

0

5 - 10

1 DAY

25%

11 - 20

2 DAYS

50%

21 - 30

3 DAYS

75%

31+

4 DAYS

100% 


When calculating the hours worked, the claimaint should round up to the nearest whole hour.

Starting Sunday, January 24, 2021, New Yorkers will report using the new method for the benefit week of Monday, January 18, 2021 to Sunday, January 24, 2021 – and all benefit weeks forward.

What should employers be doing?

While the change is intended to assist those who, through no fault of their own, have lost full-time employment and may be legitimately collecting benefits, the change could also lead to new claims from individuals who normally work part time to now seek benefits.

This may impact employers with part-time employees who may file for partial unemployment benefits, which would impact the employers experience rating, and ultimately, their unemployment insurance costs.

Employers with part time employees should have those employees complete an availability worksheet, so that there is a record of how many hours per week an employee is available. Having some form of documentation may help an employer protest partial benefits down the road.

HR One clients can download an availability worksheet template in the “Forms > Employment Records” section of the Member Login area above.