Gov. Northam announces temporary changes to Virginia’s unemployment insurance

Gov. Northam announces temporary changes to Virginia’s unemployment insurance
Gov. Northam holding a press briefing in Richmond (FILE) (Source: VPM)

RICHMOND, Va. (WHSV/Office of Gov. Northam Press Release) — On Tuesday, Governor Ralph Northam announced temporary changes to Virginia’s Unemployment Insurance Program that will support workers and businesses throughout the commonwealth who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a press release from the governor’s office, this change will protect Virginia businesses from having to pay an additional $200 million to replenish the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. The release also says Northam is directing the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) to begin distributing unemployment insurance benefits to unemployed residents who have been held in the agency’s determination process.

The release says approximately 1.4 million people have filed for unemployment this year, more than 10 times the number of claims that were filed in 2019.

“Governor Northam signed the special session budget that included $210 million to backfill the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which is currently borrowing federal dollars to pay out benefits,” the release stated. “In addition, to improve customer service, the Governor’s budget proposal includes nearly $15 million to support technology upgrades and additional customer service staff at the VEC.”

According to the release, Unemployment Insurance Employer Tax Rates for 2021 are assigned by the previous calendar year from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020. Employers receive a Base Tax Rate, dependent on their particular account history and circumstances. In recalculating the tax rate for 2021, the VEC is required to not penalize businesses for lay-offs that occurred during the pandemic from April through June 2020.

You can read the full press release from Gov. Northam’s office here.

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