Entries in Unemployment Insurance (3)


Exotic Dancers Can Collect Unemployment, Kansas Supreme Court Says

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TOPEKA, Kan.) -- The Kansas Supreme Court ruled that exotic dancers at a strip club have the right to collect unemployment insurance as employees and not independent contractors.

In 2005, a dancer at Club Orleans in Topeka filed an unemployment claim.  The dancers earn money through tips, while the club maintains that it is offering “rental space” for them to perform.

By ruling that the workers are employees because they had to follow a number of house rules, the state Supreme Court decided that the club’s owners must contribute to the state unemployment-insurance fund, as first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

The Kansas Department of Labor argued that the minimum rates for particular dances and rules binding interactions with customers could be interpreted as rules for employees.

The Department of Labor would not release the name of the worker who filed for unemployment.

Michael Merriam, an attorney for Milano’s, a company that owned Club Orleans since 2002, told ABC News that the ruling “was incorrectly decided.”

“The court relied almost entirely on the fact that we had some house rules, which were requested by the dancers.  They were designed to keep everything legal,” Merriam said.  “And the court relied on that fact alone to say we had control over them and that made them employees.”

He said his client does not plan to appeal the decision.

“This is the Kansas Supreme Court.  This is where it ends,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Labor said this ruling applies to the workers at issue in this case.

“All decisions concerning unemployment are based on the applicable law and the specific facts of each case,” she said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Californians to Receive Unemployment Benefits in Debit Cards

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) -- Late last week, out-of-work Californians eligible for unemployment insurance learned their checks would soon no longer be in the mail.

Instead, they'll be getting debit cards pre-loaded with their benefits.

The Golden state announced it was distributing 10,000 cards a day so that eventually all 1.2 million people collecting benefits from California can get their payments by using them just like other ATM cards.

The unemployed can insert them in machines and receive their money or transfer funds to personal accounts.  Distributed by Bank of America, the cards can also be used to make store purchase at retailers that accept Visa.

According to the Employment Development Department, the switchover should save the state millions in postage.  California sent out 42 million unemployment checks last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


POTUS to Propose Allowing States to Raise Taxes on Employers in 2014 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Tuesday announced that in next week's budget proposal for FY2012, the president will propose that states be allowed to raise taxes on employers starting in 2014 to pay for unemployment insurance. The proposal is being made in the context of trying to help states avoid raising taxes this year and next, senior administration officials said.

Under an agreement with the federal government, states collect taxes from employers on the first $7,000 in wages, at whatever rate they choose. The Obama administration proposal will allow them to collect taxes on the first $15,000 in wages. Hypothetically, the states could tax the larger amount at half the rate so taxes stay the same, but administration officials anticipate that states will not do that, given the rate of insolvency.

Right now states owe the federal government $42 billion in debt in terms of their obligations to the federal government for unemployment insurance -- the largest debt they've ever incurred under the present agreement.

Three of the states hardest-hit economically -- Michigan, Indiana and South Carolina -- have already seen tax rates for employers automatically triggered to a higher rate so as to avoid greater debt, and the administration says triggers for 20 other states are about to kick in.

For 2011 and 2012, as part of this proposal, the Obama administration would require a moratorium on states raising taxes to pay for unemployment insurance, and would allow states to avoid paying interest on their unemployment insurance debt.

Administration officials say this is a way for states to be given some breathing space to readjust their budgets during this period of economic recovery.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

ABC News Radio