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44-709. Claims for benefits; filing; determination of; appointment of referees; appeals, time; procedures; board of review, membership, compensation and duties; witness fees; judicial review of order of board; findings, judgments, determinations and orders hereunder not admissible or binding in separate or subsequent action or proceeding. (a) Filing. Claims for benefits shall be made in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the secretary. The secretary shall furnish a copy of such rules and regulations to any individual requesting them. Each employer shall post and maintain printed statements furnished by the secretary without cost to the employer in places readily accessible to individuals in the service of the employer.

(b) Determination. (1) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, a representative designated by the secretary, and hereinafter referred to as an examiner, shall promptly examine the claim and, on the basis of the facts found by the examiner, shall determine whether or not the claim is valid. If the examiner determines that the claim is valid, the examiner shall determine the first day of the benefit year, the weekly benefit amount and the total amount of benefits payable with respect to the benefit year. If the claim is determined to be valid, the examiner shall send a notice to the last employing unit who shall respond within 10 days by providing the examiner all requested information including all information required for a decision under K.S.A. 44-706, and amendments thereto. The information may be submitted by the employing unit in person at an employment office of the secretary or by mail, by telefacsimile machine or by electronic mail. If the required information is not submitted or postmarked within a response time limit of 10 days after the examiner's notice was sent, the employing unit shall be deemed to have waived its standing as a party to the proceedings arising from the claim and shall be barred from protesting any subsequent decisions about the claim by the secretary, a referee, the employment security board of review or any court, except that the employing unit's response time limit may be waived or extended by the examiner or upon appeal, if timely response was impossible due to excusable neglect. In any case in which the payment or denial of benefits will be determined by the provisions of K.S.A. 44-706(d), and amendments thereto, the examiner shall promptly transmit the claim to a special examiner designated by the secretary to make a determination on the claim after the investigation as the special examiner deems necessary. The parties shall be promptly notified of the special examiner's decision and any party aggrieved by the decision may appeal to the referee as provided in subsection (c). The claimant and the claimant's most recent employing unit shall be promptly notified of the examiner's or special examiner's decision.

(2) The examiner may for good cause reconsider the examiner's decision and shall promptly notify the claimant and the most recent employing unit of the claimant, that the decision of the examiner is to be reconsidered, except that no reconsideration shall be made after the termination of the benefit year.

(3) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other statute, a decision of an examiner or special examiner shall be final unless the claimant or the most recent employing unit of the claimant files an appeal from the decision as provided in subsection (c), except that the time limit for appeal may be waived or extended by the referee or board of review if a timely response was impossible due to excusable neglect. The appeal must be filed within 16 calendar days after the mailing of notice to the last known addresses of the claimant and employing unit or, if notice is not by mail, within 16 calendar days after the delivery of the notice to the parties.

(c) Appeals. Unless the appeal is withdrawn, a referee, after affording the parties reasonable opportunity for fair hearing, shall affirm or modify the findings of fact and decision of the examiner or special examiner. The parties shall be duly notified of the referee's decision, together with the reasons for the decision. The decision shall be final, notwithstanding the provisions of any other statute, unless a further appeal to the employment security board of review is filed within 16 calendar days after the mailing of the decision to the parties' last known addresses or, if notice is not by mail, within 16 calendar days after the delivery of the decision, except that the time limit for appeal may be waived or extended by the referee or board of review if a timely response was impossible due to excusable neglect.

(d) Referees. The secretary shall appoint, in accordance with K.S.A. 44-714(c), and amendments thereto, one or more referees to hear and decide disputed claims.

(e) Time, computation and extension. In computing the period of time for an employing unit response or for appeals under this section from the examiner's or the special examiner's determination or from the referee's decision, the day of the act, event or default from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of the period shall be included unless it is a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, in which event the period runs until the end of the next day which is not a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.

(f) Board of review. (1) There is hereby created an employment security board of review, hereinafter referred to as the board, consisting of three members. Each member of the board shall be appointed for a term of four years as provided in this subsection. Not more than two members of the board shall belong to the same political party.

(2) When a vacancy on the employment security board of review occurs, the workers compensation and employment security boards nominating committee established under K.S.A. 44-551, and amendments thereto, shall convene and submit a nominee to the governor for appointment to each vacancy on the employment security board of review, subject to confirmation by the senate as provided by K.S.A. 75-4315b, and amendments thereto. The governor shall either: (A) Accept and submit to the senate for confirmation the person nominated by the nominating committee; or (B) reject the nomination and request the nominating committee to nominate another person for that position. Except as provided by K.S.A. 46-2601, and amendments thereto, no person appointed to the employment security board of review, whose appointment is subject to confirmation by the senate, shall exercise any power, duty or function as a member until confirmed by the senate.

(3) No member of the employment security board of review shall serve more than two consecutive terms.

(4) Each member of the employment security board shall serve until a successor has been appointed and confirmed. Any vacancy in the membership of the board occurring prior to expiration of a term shall be filled by appointment for the unexpired term in the same manner as provided for original appointment of the member.

(5) Each member of the employment security board of review shall be entitled to receive as compensation for the member's services at the rate of $15,000 per year, together with the member's travel and other necessary expenses actually incurred in the performance of the member's official duties in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the secretary. Members' compensation and expenses shall be paid from the employment security administration fund.

(6) The employment security board of review shall organize annually by the election of a chairperson from among its members. The chairperson shall serve in that capacity for a term of one year and until a successor is elected. The board shall meet on the first Monday of each month or on the call of the chairperson or any two members of the board at the place designated. The secretary of labor shall appoint an executive secretary of the board and the executive secretary shall attend the meetings of the board.

(7) The employment security board of review, on its own motion, may affirm, modify or set aside any decision of a referee on the basis of the evidence previously submitted in the case; may direct the taking of additional evidence; or may permit any of the parties to initiate further appeal before it. The board shall permit such further appeal by any of the parties interested in a decision of a referee which overrules or modifies the decision of an examiner. The board may remove to itself the proceedings on any claim pending before a referee. Any proceedings so removed to the board shall be heard in accordance with the requirements of subsection (c). The board shall promptly notify the interested parties of its findings and decision.

(8) Two members of the employment security board of review shall constitute a quorum and no action of the board shall be valid unless it has the concurrence of at least two members. A vacancy on the board shall not impair the right of a quorum to exercise all the rights and perform all the duties of the board.

(g) Procedure. The manner in which disputed claims are presented, the reports on claims required from the claimant and from employers and the conduct of hearings and appeals shall be in accordance with rules of procedure prescribed by the employment security board of review for determining the rights of the parties, whether or not such rules conform to common law or statutory rules of evidence and other technical rules of procedure. A full and complete record shall be kept of all proceedings and decisions in connection with a disputed claim. All testimony at any hearing upon a disputed claim shall be recorded, but need not be transcribed unless the disputed claim is further appealed. In the performance of its official duties, the board shall have access to all of the records which pertain to the disputed claim and are in the custody of the secretary of labor and shall receive the assistance of the secretary upon request.

(h) Witness fees. Witnesses subpoenaed pursuant to this section shall be allowed fees and necessary travel expenses at rates fixed by the board. Such fees and expenses shall be deemed a part of the expense of administering this act.

(i) Review of board action. Any action of the employment security board of review may not be reconsidered after the mailing of the decision. An action of the board shall become final unless a petition for review in accordance with the Kansas judicial review act is filed within 16 calendar days after the date of the mailing of the decision. If an appeal has not been filed within 16 calendar days of the date of the mailing of the decision, the decision becomes final. No bond shall be required for commencing an action for such review. In addition to those persons having standing pursuant to K.S.A. 77-611, and amendments thereto, the examiner shall have standing to obtain judicial review of an action of such board. The review proceeding, and the questions of law certified, shall be heard in a summary manner and shall be given precedence over all other civil cases except cases arising under the workers compensation act.

(j) Any finding of fact or law, judgment, determination, conclusion or final order made by the employment security board of review or any examiner, special examiner, referee or other person with authority to make findings of fact or law pursuant to the employment security law is not admissible or binding in any separate or subsequent action or proceeding, between a person and a present or previous employer brought before an arbitrator, court or judge of the state or the United States, regardless of whether the prior action was between the same or related parties or involved the same facts.

(k) In any proceeding or hearing conducted under this section, a party to the proceeding or hearing may appear before a referee or the employment security board of review either personally or by means of a designated representative to present evidence and to state the position of the party. Hearings may be conducted in person, by telephone or other means of electronic communication. The hearing shall be conducted by telephone or other means of electronic communication if none of the parties requests an in-person hearing. If only one party requests an in-person hearing, the referee shall have the discretion of requiring all parties to appear in person or allow the party not requesting an in-person hearing to appear by telephone or other means of electronic communication. The notice of hearing shall include notice to the parties of their right to request an in-person hearing and instructions on how to make the request.

History: L. 1937, ch. 255, § 9; L. 1941, ch. 264, § 6; L. 1943, ch. 190, § 4; L. 1959, ch. 223, § 4; L. 1965, ch. 320, § 1; L. 1970, ch. 191, § 5; L. 1973, ch. 205, § 5; L. 1976, ch. 226, § 4; L. 1976, ch. 370, § 61; L. 1979, ch. 161, § 2; L. 1980, ch. 149, § 1; L. 1982, ch. 347, § 18; L. 1982, ch. 216, § 1; L. 1982, ch. 312, § 2; L. 1984, ch. 318, § 9; L. 1986, ch. 191, § 3; L. 1986, ch. 318, § 59; L. 1987, ch. 191, § 4; L. 1990, ch. 186, § 3; L. 1993, ch. 251, § 5; L. 1995, ch. 235, § 4; L. 1995, ch. 241, § 5; L. 1997, ch. 19, § 1; L. 1999, ch. 167, § 2; L. 2003, ch. 158, § 6; L. 2004, ch. 105, § 3; L. 2004, ch. 179, § 58; L. 2010, ch. 17, § 75; L. 2013, ch. 104, § 3; L. 2013, ch. 133, § 17; L. 2015, ch. 57, § 5; July 1.

Revisor's Note:

Section was also amended by L. 2013, ch. 106, § 6, but that version was repealed by L. 2013, ch. 133, § 37.


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