Alternate Base Period
South Carolina received $97 million in federal funds to modernize its Unemployment Insurance program. This updating provides an “alternate base period” to help claimants who don’t qualify for Unemployment Compensation using the standard base period.
The alternate base period includes the four most recently completed calendar quarters, including “lag quarter” wages—the most recently completed quarter preceding a new claim’s effective date.
Note: To use the alternate base period, no wages from federal, military, or out-of-state employment can be missing.
Base Period wages typically establish monetary eligibility for Unemployment Compensation (UC). The “standard base period” comprises the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding a claim’s starting date.
Note: Unlike the alternate base period, the standard base period doesn’t use “lag quarter” wages.
Your claim’s effective date controls your base period—not the date you become unemployed. For instance, if your claim goes into effect during January, February, or March, your base period is the first three quarters in the last year plus the last quarter of the previous year. Even if your claim takes effect March 31, the quarter’s last day, your base period consists of the first three quarters in last year plus the previous year’s last quarter.
Quarter 1 = January 1st – March 31st
Quarter 2 = April 1st – June 30st
Quarter 3 = July 1st – September 30st
Quarter 4 = October 1st – December 31st
The benefit ratio is defined as the total benefits charged to an employer’s account in the previous seven years divided by the employer’s taxable payroll over that same period. A higher benefit ratio indicates a greater use of the system and thus results in higher tax rates for that employer. Employers that have less than seven years of experience but more than one year will have their benefit ratio based on the number of years for which they have been liable employers. Employers’ benefit ratios for 2011 are based on the firms’ experience between July 1, 2003 and June 30, 2010.
Most recent former employer where you earned eight times your weekly benefit amount.
When two or more related corporations concurrently employ an individual but compensate that individual through only one corporation, it’s a "common paymaster” relationship.
The existence of an employment relationship between an employee and two or more related corporations.
All employers will be charged a contingency assessment of 0.06%. These funds are used by the Employment and Training division for reemployment services; the assessment has been effective since 1986.
"Covered employer" means an employing unit subject to DEW law provisions either because of the number of its workers and duration of employment, the amount of wages paid for employment, the nature of employment, or through voluntary election.
Even when sufficient wages qualify you for benefits, other reasons can disqualify you including:
- Leaving work voluntarily without good cause*
- Being discharged for misconduct connected with employment
- Being discharged for cause, other than misconduct
- Refusing to accept a suitable job offer from an SC Works center or employer
- Voluntarily retiring
- Becoming unemployed as a party to a labor dispute
* If you leave your job voluntarily without good cause, you will be ineligible for benefits. You must return to work in covered employment and earn eight times your weekly benefits amount with one employer. Then if you become unemployed a second time due to no fault of your own—a layoff or being terminated or discharged for non-disqualifying reasons—you can file another claim for unemployment benefits in that same year.
Note: The length of disqualification depends on circumstances.
An employing unit must file contribution and wage reports and pay contributions quarterly for at least two calendar years, i.e., the year in which liability was incurred and the following year. Once an employer becomes legally liable, such liability continues each year and contribution and wage reports must be filed and contributions paid, regardless of the number of employees, until we grant termination of coverage.
- Any employing unit, which, after December 31, 1971:
- Paid for service in employment wages of $1,500 or more in any calendar quarter in either the current or preceding calendar year; (or)
- For some portion of a day in each of 20 different calendar weeks—whether or not such weeks were consecutive—in either the current or the preceding year, employed at least one individual (regardless of whether the same individual was in employment in each such day).
An employing unit may become subject to the law under certain other conditions.
- By acquisition. Any employing unit, which acquired substantially all of another business, that at acquisition was subject to the law and continues operating such acquired business. However, if only a part of another business is acquired, the employing unit acquiring it isn’t considered an employer unless such part, if operated separately, would have been a liable employer under the law. Any employing unit which acquired substantially all of another employing unit’s business, if the employment record of such employing unit subsequent to such acquisition, together with the employment record of the acquired business prior to such acquisition, both within the same calendar year, will be sufficient to constitute such employing unit as an employer subject to the law; provided, however, that if only a part of the business of another is acquired by an employing unit, the employment record of such part prior to acquisition shall be considered and not the whole employment record of the business from which such part was acquired, as if such part were conducted separately.
- By voluntary election. The South Carolina Employment Security Law provides that an employing unit not otherwise subject to the Law may voluntarily elect coverage thereunder. An employing unit not otherwise subject to the law, which files with the Commission its written election to become an employer subject to the provisions of the Law for not less than two calendar years, shall, with the written approval of such election by the Commission, become an employer subject to the same extent as all other employers as of the date stated in such approval and shall cease to be subject to the Law as of January 1 of any calendar year subsequent to such two calendar years if by the 30th day of April of such year it has filed with the Commission a written notice to that effect.
Any individual or organization, including a partnership association, trust, estate, joint stock company, insurance company or corporation—domestic or foreign, the receiver, trustee in bankruptcy, trustee or successor thereof or legal representative of a deceased person, which has, or subsequent to January 1, 1935, had employed one or more individuals performing services for it in this state.
The term "employment" means service performed for wages under a contract of hire, written or oral, expressed or implied, including service in interstate commerce. This definition includes services performed by:
- Any officer of a corporation
- Any individual who, under the usual common law rules applicable in determining the employer-employee relationship, has the status of an employee
- Any individual other than an individual who is an employee who performs services for remuneration for any employing unit
- An agent-driver or commission-driver engaged in distributing meat products, vegetable products, fruit products, bakery products, beverages, or laundry or dry-cleaning services, for his principal;
- A traveling or city salesman, other than as an agent-driver or commission-driver, engaged upon a full-time basis in the solicitation on behalf of, and the transmission to, his principal (except for sideline sales activities on behalf of some other person) of orders from wholesalers, retailers, contractors, or operators of hotels, restaurants or similar establishments for merchandise for resale or supplies for use in their business operations.
The term "employment" includes services described above only if:
- The contract of service contemplates that substantially all of the services are to be performed personally by such individual
- The individual does not have a substantial investment in facilities used in connection with the performance of the services (other than in facilities for transportation) and the services are not in the nature of a single transaction that is not part of a continuing relationship with the person for whom the services are performed.
Employment covers all services rendered for wages or under any contract of hire unless it has been shown to the satisfaction of the DEW that:
- Such individual has been and will continue to be free from control or direction over the performance of such services both under his contract of service and in fact; and
- Such service is either outside the usual course of the business for which it is performed or that such service is performed outside of all places of business of the enterprise for which it is performed.
Service performed for an employer covered by South Carolina law.
A person who’s been paid wages for insured work in a base period equal to or exceeding 1.5 times the total wages paid for insured work in the base period’s highest quarter. Note: No one qualifies as an insured worker until he earns at least $4,455 in his base period for insured work and at least $1,092 in the highest quarter of his base period.
“Interested party” is a claimant, the claimant’s most recent bona fide employer, or any employer whose account claim adjudication affects.
”Money Wages” means the money amount paid to a worker before any deductions for such items as
- House rent, electricity, and water
- Board and lodging
- Purchases at the company store
- Union dues
- Employee payments into pension or benefit funds
- Employees’ tax under Subchapter A of Chapter 9 of the IRS Code
- Premiums on group insurance.
Money wages reported must include all payments for time worked and also such other payments as those for (1) time lost due to sickness or accidents, unless paid out of benefit funds or other special accounts; (2) paid vacations; (3) expense allowances which are not regularly and reasonably segregated; (4) dismissal wages which the employer is required by law or contract to make and which do not represent the worker’s interest in a pension or other special fund; (5) all TIP income received while performing services which constitute employment.
Notice of Contribution Report
A report mailed to the employer showing his contribution rate for the current year. This form details a schedule of the rate’s computation.
Employers are required to submit a wage report every three months with their quarterly contribution report.
Beginning January 1, 2011 South Carolina will use a traditional base period or an alternate base period to determine if an individual monetarily qualifies for unemployment insurance benefits. Because of the addition of an alternate base period, employers are requested to file their quarterly contribution and wage reports within 15 days after the quarter ends. The shorter reporting time is expected to reduce additional contacts to the employer from SCDEW’s staff, reduce paperwork and clerical costs for the employer, and expedite the claims filing process. This is currently a request as it requires legislative approval. The legal filing date continues to be the last day of the month following the end of a quarter.
Separation information is the detailed information needed to determine whether a claimant is eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. The information pertains to why an employee and employer parted ways and provides details on amounts paid the claimant and other relevant information.
“Wages” includes ordinary money wages and the reasonable cash value of most remuneration in any medium other than cash. Total wages include all employment remuneration, whether designated as wages, salary, bonus, or any other term, and whether paid on the basis of piece rate, hourly rate, daily rate, or fixed weekly, monthly, or annual salary. Wages include the remuneration of all workers of all ranks, provided such workers are in employment covered by the law, including corporation officers.
When determined eligible for benefits, you must wait one week. During this week—the waiting period—you must be completely or partially unemployed, and you must meet all legal eligibility requirements. You will not receive benefits during the one-week waiting period.
The amount of the weekly payment you qualify for per week. With all new claims effective January 1, 2011 and thereafter, the minimum weekly amount will be $42.