Originally Published by: Muskogee-Phoenix 3/19/2020
The following information is from Ryan Davis, center manager for the Muskogee Oklahoma Employment Security Commission Office .
I have to close my business due to COVID-19. What has to be done for my employees to file a claim?
If you are closing permanently: Claims are taken online. Individuals may access the online application by going to https://unemployment.state.ok.us/. If assistance is needed in filing claimants must call 1-800-555-1554.
If you are closing temporarily: There are two options in this case, depending on the size of your business. The easiest method would be to have employees file online at the address above. When filing, they would need to provide a return to work date within eight weeks of the last day worked. Another option is for your business to submit a mass claim.
What is a mass claim?
A mass claim is a claim initiated by the employer when a temporary shutdown occurs. In order to file the mass claim the employer must have at least 25 employees and must complete an Excel file with specific information on each employee. The file will establish claims and employees will need to file weekly certifications for payment until they return to work. Inquiries on mass claims may be sent to MASSClaims@oesc.state.ok.us. Please note, mass claims need a few days to process to ensure that the file is correct. If you have closed and are unable to correspond with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC), please have your employees file their own claims at https://unemployment.state.ok.us/.
Do my employees have to look for other work while the business is closed?
If a return to work date has been given to the employee, he/she will not have to search for other work during the layoff period. If there is no return to work date, work search must be completed.
Is Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) available?
Not at this time.
If DUA is approved for the COVID-19 pandemic, what should employers do?
Indicate on OESC correspondence that the separation is due to COVID-19 and fax it to 405-962-7504.
Is there any type of extended benefit assistance available?
Not at this time.
I have to close my business permanently due to COVID-19, do I need to report this to the OESC?
Yes. To do this submit a termination form (OES-24) online through the EzTaxExpress portal at https://eztaxexpress.oesc.state.ok.us
Will COVID-19 affect my ability to pay unemployment insurance tax?
No. Tax payments should be submitted online thru the EzTaxExpress Portal at https://eztaxexpress.oesc.state.ok.us, either credit card or ACH Debit. No cash payment will be accepted when we are closed to the public.
Will COVID-19 affect my ability to file unemployment insurance quarterly reports?
No. All reports are to be submitted online thru the EzTaxExpress Portal at https://eztaxexpress.oesc.state.ok.us
What do I do if I am able to recall employees sooner than expected?
Notify OESC in writing of the return to work date by faxing the information to (405) 962-7504.
My employees are required to show identification. How will they do that if local Workforce offices are closed?
ID documentation (one government issued photo-ID and another document such as Social Security Card, school ID card, birth certificate, or voter’s ID card) must be faxed to (405) 962-7524 or mailed to: OESC, PO Box 52006, Oklahoma City, OK 73152-2006.
How will my tax rates be affected if staff are sent home?
Tax rates are computed annually. There are no expected changes to the 2020 tax rates due to COVID-19. The 2021 tax rate may increase due to claims filed during this time.