Unemployment Insurance Definitions
Able to work
To be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, a worker must be able and available for full time work. A worker is required to register for work and actively seek and report a required number of work searches, unless deferred. To be considered able for full time work, a worker must be physically and mentally able to perform the job duties of the position sought.
Attending school or training for the purpose of obtaining employment in business or professional occupations; is considered academic when the courses are part of a program of instruction that is directed toward a degree or intended for transfer to apply towards a degree from an institution of higher education. School or training is considered academic when the subject matter of the course attended is academic.
At will employment
Alaska law permits employment “at will”. This means an employer in Alaska has the right to terminate a worker unless the termination is in conflict with applicable labor laws and/or the terms of collective bargaining contract. The discharge is not considered misconduct in connection with work, unless the cause of the discharge meets the definition of misconduct under the statute.
Available for work
To be eligible for UI benefits, a worker must be available to accept suitable full time work immediately. A worker must have transportation to work (car, bus, etc.) and child care to be considered available for work. A worker may not be considered available for full time work if incarcerated or under other legal restrictions.
Benefit Internet Filing. Workers can file for unemployment insurance benefits with BIF at my.alaska.gov.
Bi-weekly certification or weeks claimed
To receive benefits, once a worker has established an eligible claim, a bi-weekly certification must be submitted. Workers can file bi-weekly certifications online, by telephone through VICTOR, and when requested paper certifications.
Combined wage claim
A claim based on wages earned from covered employment during the base period in multiple states.
A continued or weekly claim for which a monetary benefit is payable or has been paid, or for which a credit against an overpayment is allowable or has been allowed.
Wages paid by an employer subject to contributing to Employment Security Tax. The amount of covered wages earned during the base period determines the amount of UI benefits the worker is eligible for.
Deferral end date
The date in which a worker’s deferred work registration expires. It is the worker’s responsibility to contact the claim center and update their work registration once the deferral has ended.
Deferred work registration
A worker may be deferred from registering for work under the following circumstances: temporarily unemployed with a definite date to return to full-time work within 45 days; unemployed due to a strike or labor dispute; traveling immediately within 14 days of filing an initial claim for the purpose of relocating outside of Alaska; or under an approved waiver of availability under AS 23.20.378 or 23.20.382.
Definite disqualification period
A worker may be denied benefits for a determined number of weeks. The worker is advised of the beginning and end date of the disqualification period. Definite disqualification periods can be due to eligibility issues such as a disqualifying reason for separating from last employment.
Definite return to full time work
When a worker reports being temporarily laid off with a definite date to return back to full time work within 45 consecutive days of an initial claim they may potentially be assigned a deferred work registration. The maximum length a registration can be deferred due to a definite return back to full time work date is 45 consecutive days.
Discharge or termination
A separation from work in which the employer’s action resulted in the separation; in which the worker did not have the choice of remaining employed regardless of efforts to preserve employment.
An act, circumstance or condition that is potentially disqualifying under Alaska state law, regulation or policy. Non-monetary eligibility issues affect the disbursement of benefits. Monetary determinations state the weekly benefit amount and amount of weeks a worker is eligible to receive in UI benefits, including dependent allowances and/or the potential requalification for a new benefit year.
Full time employment
Working the customary number of hours in a week, in a specified occupation and identified labor market area. Unless the facts clearly indicate otherwise, 40 hours per week is considered full-time. For example, employees for the DOLWD work 37.5 hours a week, which is considered full time for these workers state of Alaska workers.
Full work registration
All workers with a full registration will be required to register for work with ALEXsys which includes creating and maintaining a work registration, profile and posting a resume online in Alaska Job Bank. Failure to meet these requirements within seven days from filing an initial claim, will potentially result in the denial of UI benefits for that week. All workers receiving a full work registration will also be required to actively seek work and report two weekly work search contacts for each week claimed. Failure to report the required number of valid work searches timely can potentially result in the denial of benefits for that week.
Total earnings received before any deductions. To calculate gross earnings, multiple the total hours worked by the hourly wage. Gross income must be reported in the week in which it was earned not received.
Indefinite disqualification period
A worker may be denied benefits for an indefinite amount of time in which there is a determined beginning date of the disqualification. The end date is determined by when the disqualifying condition no longer exists.
Interstate work registration
All workers residing outside of Alaska must meet the work registration requirements determined by the local state employment office in the resident state. All workers must register for work in accordance with the statutes, regulations and procedures of the state in which the worker resides. Failure to meet these requirements within seven days of filing an initial claim will potentially result in the denial of UI benefits for the week. All workers receiving an interstate registration will also be required to actively seek work and report two weekly work search contacts for each week claimed. Failure to report the required number of valid work searches timely can potentially result in the denial of benefits for the week.
Any controversy concerning terms or conditions of employment, controversies between employer and employees over wages, hours, conditions of work, failure to comply with law or contracts or concerning the representation of persons in negotiating terms or conditions of employment is considered a labor dispute. It is not required that a union or any organized group must be formed, a walkout of a group of employees is a valid dispute. An example of a labor dispute: a worker states, “All the warehouse employees went on strike because the heaters were broken in the warehouse and our employer has not repaired them in a month. We all walked out together because we could not work in such conditions in winter.”
A reduction in a work force made by an employer because there is a lack of work to perform. A lay off is not the result of actions of the employee. Some examples of lay off situations: The fishing season ended, a business closed, a project was completed, a construction project began and due to weather had to stop work until further notice.
The worker’s address on record with DOLWD in which all UI correspondence will be mailed. The worker is responsible for having a valid mailing address on record in which to receive UI correspondence and to respond to UI correspondence timely. UI correspondence may be sent for the following purposes: to submit additional information, notification of monetary and nonmonetary determinations and other reasons. UI correspondence cannot be forwarded to another address by law.
For a worker’s actions to be considered misconduct, it must be shown, that the worker’s conduct was a willful and wanton act that breached a duty owned to the employer or a gross or repeated negligence that showed a substantial disregard of a duty owed to the employer. The conduct must be injurious to the employer or tend to injure the employer’s interest.
A determination issued to a worker in the form of a written notice which lists the base period employers and wages the claim was based on and the potential benefit amount. When a worker is determined to be monetarily eligible, the monetary determination states the benefit year, weekly benefit amount, dependence allowance amount, duration of weeks and maximum benefit amount. The worker is mailed the monetary determination.
Net Income from self-employment
Income earned from self-employment services performed after business expenses are deducted. To calculate the net income earned in self-employment for the week, subtract the business expenses for that week from the total income earned. Self-employment net income must be reported in the week in which the services were performed, regardless if the worker has been compensated or will be compensated for the work done.
A written notice to the worker and other interested parties which advises of the worker’s eligibility with respect to acts or circumstances which are potentially disqualifying under the provisions of AS 23.20.360 through AS 23.20.387 and AS 23.20.505.
On call working
A worker is working on call when the worker is called into work by the employer as needed and does not have a permanent schedule. Example: worker states, “My employer calls me in to work on the weekends when it is busy sometimes and I fill in when other staff call in sick.”
Part time work
A worker is working part time when he is working less than the individual’s customary full-time hours for his regular employer and whose wages from that work during a particular week are less than one and one-third times the individual’s weekly benefit amount, excluding the allowance for dependents, plus $50.
The physical address or location where a worker is standing when filing a claim. This information is necessary to establish labor market availability and assignment work registration. A worker is responsible to report truthful where there are located when filing a claim and cannot report a post office box for a physical address.
Registration for work
A worker who files a claim for benefits is required to register for work and maintain an active resume as required by AS 23.20. A worker will not be considered available for work for any week this requirement is not met.
Rotational or shift employment
A worker who receives a week, or multiple weeks, off as part of the normal work schedule is not unemployed during the time off when the hours for one complete cycle of work and leave average at least 40 hours per week. Some examples of cyclical employment are State of Alaska employees working for the Alaska Marine Highway or workers in the logging, mining, oil extraction industry.
Rural Alaskan work registration
All workers residing more than 55 road miles from a local Alaskan Job Center will receive a rural Alaskan registration and will not be required to meet the work registration requirements of those workers residing within 55 road miles of a local job center.
A worker is considered performing self-employment services when the work performed results in the provision of services to others. A worker can be self-employed without holding a business license and may be employed in the same line of work as the self-employment services. A worker performing self-employment services must report net earnings and hours worked, whether payment was received or not in the week in which the services were performed.
Employment that is in the worker’s customary occupation that meets the prevailing wage and working condition for the locality and labor market and that which is suitable for the worker based on experience or training.
Unemployment Compensation for Federal Employees, these are claims based on federal civilian employment. The federal government is a reimbursable employer that pays dollar for dollar for UI Benefits and 100% of extended benefits when available. The Federal government maintains the trust fund, FECA, the Federal Employees Compensation Account, to fund UCFE benefits for Federal employees. Eligibility determinations regarding covered federal employment, dates of employment and the reason for separating from federal employment is made by the federal government not DOLWD. DOLWD administers UCFE.
Unemployment Compensation for Ex-Military Employees, these are claims based on military service. UCX benefits are paid from FECA (Federal Employees Compensation Account) not the Alaska UI general fund. DOLWD administers the UCFE program for the federal government UCX eligibility is based on the DD214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. UCX benefits are paid to eligible veterans of the Armed Forces which include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and members of the Alaska National Guard and Reserve components.
Union work registration
All workers normally dispatched for work by a labor union must be in good standing with their union and on the out of work list to receive a union work registration.
For work to be determined unsuitable, it must meet these provisions: the open job cannot be available because of a labor dispute, the wages and/or hours of the job cannot be substantially less favorable than those prevailing for similar work in the locality and the conditions of employment cannot require that the worker join a company union or resign from or refrain from joining a bona fide labor organization.
Courses that include remedial, basic skills or literacy training; which are considered prerequisites to occupational-specific training, or necessary for success in searching for work or to increase general work performance and employability.
Instruction or training for the purpose of employment in trades, skills or crafts including training in the processing, machine trades, bench work, structural work, transportation, agriculture, fishery and forestry occupations; and training for employment in technical, service or para-professional occupations. A training course is considered vocational when the content is vocational, and the course is not intended for credit towards a degree from an institution of higher education or the school is for-profit educational institution.
A job separation when the worker chooses to cease performing services for the employer or the worker severs an ongoing employer-employee relationship, regardless of whether the worker is performing services at that time. Some examples: A worker tells his employer, “I quit.” Or a worker does not return to work after a leave of absence or stops reporting to work as scheduled and does not notify the employer.
Workers filing for regular unemployment insurance (UI) benefits must actively seek and report timely a required number of work searches, starting with the week in which a claim is filed, unless instructed otherwise. A worker must contact an employer or a person with the authority to hire, who may reasonably be expected to have job openings suitable to that worker’s skills and training, using the appropriate method of contact for that employer and industry.
Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services (WPRS)
A WPRS program identifies which workers, residing in Alaska, are likely to exhaust regular UI Benefits and need job assistance services to find new employment. Those workers selected from the profiled group are referred to the appropriate reemployment services. When a worker is selected for WPRS, participation is required and mandatory; unless excused or the requirements are completed. Failure to participate by the scheduled due date may result in denial of UI benefits for that week.