Section 58A. There is hereby established a special fund to be known as the contingent fund which shall be maintained by the state treasurer separate and apart from all public moneys or funds of the commonwealth. The fund shall consist of all interest, penalties and fines collected under this chapter after July first, nineteen hundred and sixty-six, together with any interest earned on moneys in this fund. Any provisions of this chapter to the contrary notwithstanding, all interest, penalty and fine payments collected after such date shall be deposited in the clearing account of the Unemployment Compensation Fund for clearance only and shall not become a part of such fund. After clearance thereof, the moneys derived from such payments, less refunds made pursuant to this section and other provisions of this chapter, shall be deposited in the contingent fund. Said moneys shall not be expended or available for expenditure in any manner which would permit their substitution for, or a corresponding reduction in, federal funds which would in the absence of said moneys be available to finance expenditures for the administration of this chapter, but nothing in this section shall prevent said moneys from being used as a revolving fund, to cover expenditures for which federal funds have been requested but have not yet been received, subject to the charging of such expenditures against such funds when received. The moneys in this fund shall be used by the commissioner for the payment of costs of administration which he finds are not properly and validly chargeable against federal grants (or other funds) received for or in the employment security administration account. The moneys in this fund are hereby specifically made available to the commissioner for replacement, within a reasonable period of time, of any moneys received by this commonwealth in the form of grants from the federal government for administrative expenses which because of any action or contingency have been lost or have been expended for purposes other than, or in excess of, those found by the United States Secretary of Labor to be necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the employment security law. Such moneys shall be available either to satisfy the obligations incurred directly or by transferring the required amount from the contingent fund to the employment security administration account.
Refunds of interest, penalties and fines erroneously collected pursuant to this chapter may be made from this fund, the Unemployment Compensation Fund, or from the interest, penalty and fine moneys which are temporarily in the clearing account in the Unemployment Compensation Fund pending their transfer to the contingent fund; provided that interest and penalty payments collected after July first, nineteen hundred and sixty-six shall not be refunded from the Unemployment Compensation Fund. The moneys in this fund shall be continuously available to the commissioner for expenditures and refunds in accordance with the provisions of this section and shall not lapse at any time or be transferred to any other fund or account except as herein provided. All moneys in the contingent fund shall be deposited, administered and disbursed in the same manner as is provided by law for other special funds in the treasury of this commonwealth. If on September thirtieth of any calendar year the balance in the contingent fund exceeds ten thousand dollars by one thousand dollars or more, the state treasurer shall transfer such excess to the Unemployment Compensation Fund.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, the commissioner may pay from the contingent fund to an individual who has voluntarily provided information to the department which leads to the establishment of an overpayment or to a determination that an employer has filed a false or fraudulent contribution report an amount not to exceed 10 per cent of the total amount of the penalty assessed and collected pursuant to subsection (a) of section 15, section 47, section 69D or section 69E. An employer shall not take any adverse action against an individual because the individual has reported such information to the department. Any employer who takes such adverse action shall be liable in a civil action, action for contempt or other appropriate proceeding to such employee for all wages and employment benefits lost by the employee as a result of such action, litigation costs and reasonable attorney fees. An employee may bring an action in the appropriate district court department or the superior court department of Suffolk county for the relief provided in this subsection. The department shall make available a toll free telephone number for the purpose of reporting such fraudulent acts and shall adequately promote and advertise the number to the public.