Quick Guide - Laying Off Employees
This page can help you understand the process if you have to lay off employees.
Before you lay off any employees, consider our Shared Work program, which allows employers to reduce hours without losing any of their valued, experienced workers.
Steps that may occur when laying off an employee:
- Report Termination. Employers must notify the Family Support Division within 10 days of terminating an employee under wage withholdings (child support) and report the last known address of the obligor and the name and address of the obligor’s new employer (if known). Reporting may be done by using the Department of Social Services’ online reporting system.
- Benefit Claim. If the worker files for unemployment benefits, and if he/she is eligible, the benefits paid will be charged against any base period employers’ accounts, possibly resulting in an increased experience rate (or a direct charge for employers with reimbursable accounts). Claimants can receive a maximum of 20 weeks and $6,400 under the regular program. Other extensions may apply. Learn more about eligibility.
If a claim is established, the employer will be sent a notice explaining that a claim has been filed.
- Employer Protest. If an employer receives a notice that an employee filed for unemployment benefits and believes that the claimant should be ineligible or disqualified from receiving benefits because they either quit or were discharged, the employer may protest the benefit claim. A protest must be filed within 10 days of the claim notice.
When filing a protest, the employer should provide all available facts in regard to the case, including relevant dates, information on payments such as holiday, vacation, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (W.A.R.N.) pay, pension, etc. This will assure that all facts are considered by the deputy in making the determination. It will also permit the deputy to make a determination without taking up the employer's time to secure a second statement.
See Common Grounds for Employer Protests
- Deputy Determination. After the protest period, a deputy gathers all facts in regard to the claim and issues a determination showing whether the claimant is disqualified or eligible to receive benefits. A determination is mailed to the employer and claimant.
If the deputy's determination disqualifies a claimant as a result of separation from work or because of refusal to accept work with the employer, the account of the employer may not be charged. Learn more about Account Charge Protection.
If the claimant has received benefits to which he/she was not entitled, the employer’s account can be credited for the overpaid amount. Learn more about overpayments.
A deputy's determination involving only an eligibility issue does not relieve any employer's account of charges for weeks outside the specific ineligible period. An employer has the right to appeal a determination if it believes that the law was incorrectly applied or that all the facts were not considered when the determination was made. An appeal may be filed by any managerial employee of a corporation, partnership or other business entity authorized by law. An appeal can also be filed by a licensed attorney. Learn more about Appeals.
Other Important Information:
Extended Benefits and Emergency Unemployment Compensation
When the rate of insured unemployment in Missouri equals or exceeds levels specified in the law, an eligible claimant may be paid additional benefits through federal programs. The cost of this is subsidized in full or in part by the federal government.
Penalties that may be Assessed Against Employers
A penalty may be assessed when an employer commits fraud by misrepresenting, misstating or failing to disclose information in order to deny unemployment benefits. For a first occurrence of fraud, the amount of penalty is 25 percent of the amount of benefits denied. The amount of penalty goes up to 100 percent of the amount of benefits denied for subsequent occurrences of fraud.
An employer can also be found guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine or imprisonment in the county jail for making a false statement or knowingly failing to disclose a material fact to prevent or reduce the payment of benefits.
Employers also may be penalized for delinquent quarterly reports. The penalty is 10 percent of the contributions due or $100.00, whichever is greater, for each quarterly contribution and wage report not filed timely. This penalty will continue to be imposed each month or fraction of a month the report is not filed. The maximum penalty per quarter is 20 percent of the contributions due or $200.00, whichever is greater. Learn More.
The Electronic Mass Claims Filing system is available to employers during a temporary mass layoff. Employee information provided by the employer allows the DES to quickly and efficiently file initial and renewed unemployment claims on behalf of employees. This filing is available when at least 20 workers become totally unemployed. The temporary layoff cannot exceed eight consecutive weeks. For additional information, contact the Unemployment Insurance Programs Section at 573-751-3641. To view required file structures click here . To view system requirements click here.