Who Elected Me This Guy's Parent?

My company, as I have written before, gets hosed on unemployment insurance in states like California where the government does nothing to police cheating.  Many of my seasonal employees take vacations during the winter, but draw unemployment from California because the state has absolutely no interest in really checking to see if they are looking for work (which is a legal requirement of drawing unemployment).

This week I received the  most amazing ruling from California on unemployment.  If you don't understand how it works, the state taxes me a percentage of my payroll in the state as unemployment insurance premiums.  The rate is set so that the premiums I pay are about equal to the payments my ex-employees receive.  This means that the rate can adjust up and down, and also means that any incremental payouts are eventually paid by my company.  The rules are that the employee must have been terminated, not voluntary quit, and can't have been terminated for cause (i.e. theft) though in the latter case states like California give employees a huge benefit of the doubt (so huge, that I have never been able to prove "cause" to their satisfaction, and end up paying the unemployment for people who stole from me).

So I got this notice this week:

The claimant quit your employment on his/her doctor's advice.   A leave of absence was not available or would not have resolved the problem.  Available information shows that the claimant had good cause for leaving work [the claimant admits in a second document to having had a motorcycle accident on his own time]

Great.  The state has agreed to exactly the facts as we submitted them.  Victory at last!  Or not:

Your reserve account will be subject to charges.

An employee of mine has a motorcycle accident on his own time, and my company has to pay his wages while he is hurt?  Why?  Because we were the nearest people at hand to grab the money from?  Who elected me this guy's parent?


  1. Allen:

    Do you have a ballpark guess on how much more you could pay your employees if it wasn't for paying unemployment insurance? It seems like the system isn't just punishing you but also punishing the good employees who don't abuse it.

  2. Daublin:

    I understand why socialists want public welfare, but I have never understood the part about leaning on a person's most recent employer. I think of employment as money paid for a job done, so I don't understand why you would want to sock pension, sick leave, and medical costs on employers. It not only screws up private industry, but it makes people's welfare dependent on an unreliable source. The last thing I want is to have my pension depend on whether some company continues to exist!

    I can only think of two answers. The most immediate pressure is that that employer is the nearest source of money. The long term idea, meanwhile, is that society should be carefully designed. Employers and employees are not private citizens working out ad-hoc deals. Instead, they are all employees of The System.

  3. John:

    Just stop doing business in CA. If enough folks did this, the state would be forced to change it's ways. I personally moved out of the state because its business climate was so bad.

  4. Noumenon:

    I should move to California... at my factory here in Wisconsin whether you get unemployment or not depends on whether the employer decides to contest your case. If they do, you don't get it. My friend got fired for sleeping in the break room without even ever being written up for it, and he never got any unemployment.

  5. Mark Seecof:

    The strange thing is that California's own unemployment-insurance website says that workers may not draw unemployment when they leave work because they're injured or sick-- it says they must draw state disability insurance (SDI).

    Presumably a worker who is too injured to work is not "immediately available for employment," and "actively seeking work," which are required to draw unemployment.

    I realize that, as you have pointed out, California just takes workers' claims to be "available and seeking" at face value even in the face of evidence of fraud, but in this case the worker apparently admitted to EDD-- and they found-- that he was was not available for work.