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What Are State Employment Agencies?
State employment agencies are offices that deal with employment and labor issues. Every state has different laws and regulations when it comes to unemployment and employment law. These employment agencies help facilitate those laws and ensure they are practiced correctly by all employers in the state. They also provide services for employees that need help finding jobs or need certain benefits.
The History of State Employment Agencies
State employment agencies have been around for a while. They were started during the Great Depression, as the government looked for a way to combat the economic struggles and ensure that citizens had the support they needed in finding jobs and providing for their families. By November 1934, 22 state employment services became affiliated with the United States Employment Service. In June 1935, 24 more states became affiliated with the United States Employment Services.
Over the years, the focus of these employment agencies has evolved. They originally started as a place to help citizens find jobs, but over time they began to offer more services than employment. These functions are explored in the following paragraphs.
What Are the Functions of a State Employment Agency?
Here are three functions of a state employment agency to keep in mind:
1. Enforce Labor Laws
State employment agencies help enforce labor issues that arise. While many of the employment laws are standard on a federal level and can be found in the FLSA, ADA and FMLA, some states vary on other labor laws that they enforce. This could include issues such as overtime, child labor laws, exempt and non-exempt status, unions and wage claim disputes. Some states also vary on how they implement Federal laws that come out, such as the recent Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
It is vital for employers to understand the labor laws of the state that they operate in, as well as the state their employees live in if they work remotely. All issues that arise in the workplace are handled and overseen by state employment agencies.
2. Administer Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits are awarded to employees that are let go with cause, lose their job, have their hours cut due to a reduction in force or voluntarily quit their job due to a change in their employer agreement or unsuitable working conditions.
State employment agencies help administer unemployment benefits. They review each claim submitted by an employee and decide if the employee is eligible for unemployment benefits. They also decide how much the employee gets in unemployment benefits.
These agencies don’t pay the employee unemployment benefits, as those funds come from the unemployment tax that every employer is required to pay by the state. State employment agencies determine how much each employer has to pay in unemployment taxes. That amount is determined, based on the amount of unemployment claims filed against the employer.
3. Mediate Employer-Employee Conflicts
State employment agencies also mediate between employer and employee when legal concerns arise with an employer and employee. These issues can range from wage disputes, unjust termination, discrimination, sexual harassment and illegal activity. If an employee feels like they don’t get paid all the wages for the hours they worked, they can file a wage claim through the Labor Commission, which is part of state employment agencies.
If an employee feels like they were treated unfairly and fired without cause, they can file a claim with the state. This also applies if they feel like they are being discriminated against or experiencing sexual harassment. Many of these issues can be resolved by an employee and employer talking to each other and resolving the problem, but if they are unable to resolve the issue, then it escalates to state employment agencies.
How To Find Your Local State Employment Agency
All state employment agencies’ contact information can be found online. You should be able to find the contact information by doing a simple Google search of “name of state you live in” employment agency. Here is a website you can refer to which provides contact information for all state employment agencies.
How To Use a State Employment Agency
How you use a state employment agency will depend on what you are using it for. If you need to find a job, file for unemployment, file a wage audit, report discrimination or request food stamps and Medicaid help, each of these services have different steps involved. Here is a little how-to on the basics of accessing these services.
The first step in order to access any of the services state employment agencies have to offer is to register on their website. Every state might vary on how to register, but this is the first step you will want to take. After registering, some of the services provided might require additional registration or steps to get set up for that requested service.
2. Fill Out the Proper Form
You will then need to fill out the required form for the service that you are requesting. Each state employment agency website should have instructions on what form you’ll need to fill out for the service you are requesting. If you are wanting to use the website to apply for a job, it might ask you to provide your personal information and write a bit about yourself.
3. Providing Documentation
When reporting or filing any kind of claim with the state, you will need to provide documentation. The documentation might be past pay stubs, proof of termination, proof of how you were wrongly treated at a job or proof of the hours you worked (you might need this if filing a wage claim).
Whatever you might be filling, make sure you have the necessary documentation. Sometimes an employer may need to provide an employee with the necessary documentation. The employer should try to be helpful and responsive to the employee when they request certain documentation.
The employer also wants to make sure they respond timely when state employment agencies request information and documentation. Often states will audit their services, which includes making sure their information matches up with the employer’s information.
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