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  • Acts
  • 2002
  • Chapter 347 AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE SYSTEM.

Whereas , The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is forthwith to further regulate the unemployment insurance system, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Section 9N of chapter 23 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 1 and 28, the word "department" and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following words:- division of employment and training.

SECTION 2. Said section 9N of said chapter 23, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 2 and 24, the word "commissioner" and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following words:- deputy director of employment and training.

SECTION 3. Section 6 of chapter 151A of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out subsection (a) and inserting in place thereof the following subsection:-

(a) service in agricultural labor, except as otherwise provided in subsection (b) of section 4A and section 8C, by an individual who is an alien admitted to the United States to perform agricultural labor pursuant to section 214(c) and 101(a)(15)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act;.

SECTION 4. Said section 6 of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "thereof", in line 139, the following words:- or an Indian tribe.

SECTION 5. Section 6A of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "subdivisions", in line 5, the following words:- or Indian tribes.

SECTION 6. Said section 6A of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the word "commonwealth", in line 14, the following words:- or tribal law.

SECTION 7. Section 14 of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the first paragraph the following paragraph:-

In addition, an employer who has been assigned a contribution rate pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (i), has filed all reports required under this chapter and has paid all contributions, interest and penalties due under this chapter, may make voluntary contributions. Such voluntary contributions shall be paid not later than 30 days after the date on which the division has issued a notice of the employer's contribution rate pursuant to subsection (m) or prior to the expiration of 120 days after the start of the calendar year for which the contribution rates are effective, whichever is earlier. Upon timely payment of a voluntary contribution, the contribution shall be credited to the employer's account balance and that employer shall receive a recomputation of its contribution rate for that calendar year. No voluntary contribution shall be refunded in whole or in part.

SECTION 8. Paragraph (3) of subsection (d) of said section 14 of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the fourth sentence, the following sentence:- If a base period employer recalls an employee to work during the benefit year and the employee subsequently leaves such employment within the benefit year for reasons which would result in the denial of benefits under subsection (e) of section 25 had such employer been the employee's most recent employer, then any benefits paid to such employee following that separation which, in accordance with this paragraph, would be charged to such base period employer's account shall not be so charged but shall be charged to the solvency account.

SECTION 9. Said section 14 of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 144, the words "December thirty-first" and inserting in place thereof the following word:- November 30.

SECTION 10. Paragraph (3) of subsection (i) of said section 14 of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence and inserting in place thereof the following sentence:- Any newly subject employer classified in the 2 digit North American Industry Classification System code 23 shall pay contributions at a rate equal to the average rate as of the most recent computation date paid by all employers so classified.

SECTION 11. Said chapter 151A is hereby further amended by inserting after section 14L the following section:-

Section 14M. Benefits paid to employees of Indian tribes shall be financed and paid in accordance with this section.

(a) The term "employer" shall include an Indian tribe for which service in employment as defined under this chapter is performed.

(b) The term "employment" shall include service performed in the employ of an Indian tribe, as defined in section 3306(u) of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, in this section called FUTA, provided such service is excluded from "employment" as defined in FUTA solely by reason of section 3306(c)(7) of FUTA and is not otherwise excluded from employment under this chapter.

(c) Benefits based on service in employment defined in this section shall be payable in the same amount, on the same terms and subject to the same conditions as benefits payable on the basis of other service subject to this chapter.

(d)(1) Indian tribes or tribal units, subdivisions, subsidiaries or business enterprises wholly owned by such Indian tribes, subject to this chapter shall pay contributions under the same terms and conditions as employers subject to section 14, unless they elect to pay into the Unemployment Compensation Fund amounts equal to the amount of benefits attributable to service in the employ of the Indian tribe.

(2) Indian tribes electing to make payments in lieu of contributions shall make such election in the same manner and under the same conditions as provided in section 14A pertaining to nonprofit organizations subject to this chapter. Indian tribes shall determine if reimbursement for benefits paid will be elected by the tribe as a whole, by individual tribal units or by combinations of individual tribal units.

(3) Indian tribes or tribal units shall be billed for the full amount of benefits attributable to service in the employ of the Indian tribe or tribal unit on the same schedule as other employing units that have elected to make payments in lieu of contributions.

(4) At the discretion of the commissioner, an Indian tribe or tribal unit that elects to become liable for payments in lieu of contributions shall be required within 30 days after the effective date of its election to:

(i) execute and file with the commissioner a surety bond approved by the commissioner; or

(ii) deposit with the commissioner money or securities on the same basis as other employers with the same election option.

(e)(1)(i) Failure of the Indian tribe or tribal unit to make required payments, including assessments of interest and penalty, within 90 days of receipt of the bill, shall cause the Indian tribe to lose the option to make payments in lieu of contributions, as described in subsection (d), for the following calendar year unless payment in full is received on or before December 31.

(ii) An Indian tribe that loses the option to make payments in lieu of contributions due to late payment or nonpayment, as described in subparagraph (i), shall have the option reinstated as of the next calendar year if, after a period of 1 year, all contributions have been timely made and no contributions, payments in lieu of contributions, penalties or interest remain outstanding.

(iii) The commissioner shall notify the United States Internal Revenue Service and the United States Department of Labor of any determinations made under subparagraphs (i) and (ii).

(f) The commissioner shall notify annually those Indian tribes or their tribal units who fail to make the required payments, including assessments of interest and penalties, that failure to make full payment by December 31 shall cause the Indian tribe:

(1) to be liable for taxes under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act; and

(2) to lose the option to make payments in lieu of contributions.

(g) Extended benefits paid that are attributable to service in the employ of an Indian tribe and not reimbursed by the Federal government shall be financed in their entirety by the Indian tribe.

SECTION 12. Section 18 of said chapter 151A, as appearing in the 2000 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after the word "judgment", in line 46, the following words:- without interest.

SECTION 13. Said section 18 of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out the last paragraph.

SECTION 14. Section 29E of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 14, the words "fifteen percent" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- 10 per cent.

SECTION 15. Said section 29E of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in line 24, the words "five and ninety-five hundredths percent" and inserting in place thereof the following words:- the rate of tax specified in subsection (b) of section 4 of chapter 62.

SECTION 16. Section 46 of said chapter 151A, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:-

(h) Nothing in this chapter shall prohibit the commissioner from participating with the commissioner of revenue in a program which permits employing units subject to this chapter to file with the department of revenue a consolidated return which shall include, but need not be limited to, unemployment insurance, unemployment health insurance, workforce training, income tax withholding and wage reporting information, together with the required payment.

SECTION 17. Sections 7 and 9 shall take effect relative to computation dates occurring not less than 90 days after the effective date of this act. Section 8 shall take effect relative to new initial claims filed on or after October 6, 2002. Section 10 shall take effect relative to computation dates occurring on or after September 30, 2002. Section 11 shall take effect as of December 31, 2000, except that the election of a tribe as defined in section 3306(u) of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, which is subject to chapter 151A of the General Laws as of the effective date of this act, to make payments in lieu of contributions shall not be effective until the January 1 after the effective date of this act. Sections 14 and 15 shall take effect relative to benefits paid on or after July 1, 2002.

Approved October 9, 2002.