KANSAS OFFICE of
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44-704. Benefits; limitations on; notification of claimant's employment to secretary for children and families. (a) Payment of benefits. All benefits provided herein shall be payable from the fund. All benefits shall be paid through the secretary of labor, in accordance with such rules and regulations as the secretary may adopt. Benefits based on service in employment defined in K.S.A. 44-703(i)(3)(E) and (i)(3)(F), and amendments thereto, shall be payable in the same amount, on the same terms and subject to the same conditions as compensation payable on the basis of other service subject to this act except as provided in K.S.A. 44-705(e) and 44-711(e), and amendments thereto.

(b) Determined weekly benefit amount. An individual's determined weekly benefit amount shall be an amount equal to 4.25% of the individual's total wages for insured work paid during that calendar quarter of the individual's base period that such total wages were highest, subject to the following limitations:

(1) If an individual's determined weekly benefit amount is less than the minimum weekly benefit amount, it shall be raised to such minimum weekly benefit amount;

(2) if the individual's determined weekly benefit amount is more than the maximum weekly benefit amount, it shall be reduced to the maximum weekly benefit amount; and

(3) if the individual's determined weekly benefit amount is not a multiple of $1, it shall be reduced to the next lower multiple of $1.

(c) Maximum weekly benefit amount. (1) For initial claims effective prior to July 1, 2015, the maximum weekly benefit amount shall be determined as follows: On July 1 of each year, the secretary shall determine the maximum weekly benefit amount by computing 60% of the average weekly wages paid to employees in insured work during the previous calendar year and shall, prior to that date, announce the maximum weekly benefit amount so determined, by publication in the Kansas register. Such computation shall be made by dividing the gross wages reported as paid for insured work during the previous calendar year by the product of the average of mid-month employment during such calendar year multiplied by 52. The maximum weekly benefit amount so determined and announced for the twelve-month period shall apply only to those claims filed in that period qualifying for maximum payment under the foregoing formula. All claims qualifying for payment at the maximum weekly benefit amount shall be paid at the maximum weekly benefit amount in effect when the benefit year to which the claim relates was first established, notwithstanding a change in the maximum benefit amount for a subsequent twelve-month period. If the computed maximum weekly benefit amount is not a multiple of $1, then the computed maximum weekly benefit amount shall be reduced to the next lower multiple of $1.

(2) For initial claims effective on or after July 1, 2015, the maximum weekly benefit amount shall be determined as follows: On July 1 of each year, the secretary shall determine the maximum weekly benefit amount by computing 55% of the average weekly wages paid to employees in insured work during the previous calendar year, but not to be less than $474, and shall, prior to that date, announce the maximum weekly benefit amount so determined by publication in the Kansas register. Such computation shall be made by dividing the gross wages reported as paid for insured work during the previous calendar year by the product of the average of mid-month employment during such calendar year multiplied by 52. The maximum weekly benefit amount so determined and announced for the 12-month period shall apply only to those claims filed in that period qualifying for maximum payment under the foregoing formula. All claims qualifying for payment at the maximum weekly benefit amount shall be paid at the maximum weekly benefit amount in effect when the benefit year to which the claim relates was first established, notwithstanding a change in the maximum benefit amount for a subsequent 12-month period. If the computed maximum weekly benefit amount is not a multiple of $1, then the computed maximum weekly benefit amount shall be reduced to the next lower multiple of $1.

(d) Minimum weekly benefit amount. The minimum weekly benefit amount payable to any individual shall be 25% of the maximum weekly benefit amount effective as of the beginning of the individual's benefit year. If the minimum weekly benefit amount is not a multiple of $1 it shall be reduced to the next lower multiple of $1. The minimum weekly benefit amount shall apply through the benefit year, notwithstanding a change in the minimum weekly benefit amount.

(e) All claims qualifying for payment at the maximum weekly benefit amount shall be paid at the maximum weekly benefit amount in effect when the benefit year to which the claim relates was first established, notwithstanding a subsequent change in the maximum weekly benefit amount.

(f) Weekly benefit payable. Each eligible individual who is unemployed with respect to any week, except as to final payment, shall be paid with respect to such week a benefit in an amount equal to such individual's determined weekly benefit amount, less that part of the wage, if any, payable to such individual with respect to such week that is in excess of the amount that is equal to 25% of such individual's determined weekly benefit amount, and if the resulting amount is not a multiple of $1, it shall be reduced to the next lower multiple of $1.

(1) For the purposes of this section, remuneration received under the following circumstances shall be construed as wages:

(A) Vacation or holiday pay that was attributable to a week that the individual claimed benefits; and

(B) severance pay, if paid as scheduled, and all other employment benefits within the employer's control, as defined in subsection (f)(3), if continued as though the severance had not occurred, except as set out in subsection (f)(2)(C).

(2) For the purposes of this section, remuneration received under the following circumstances shall not be construed as wages:

(A) Remuneration received for services performed on a public assistance work project;

(B) severance pay, in lieu of notice, under the provisions of public law 100-379, the federal worker adjustment and retraining notification act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2101 through 2109;

(C) all other severance pay, separation pay, bonuses, wages in lieu of notice or remuneration of a similar nature that is payable after the severance of the employment relationship, except as set out in subsection (f)(1)(B); and

(D) moneys received as federal social security payments.

(3) For the purposes of this subsection, "employment benefits within the employer's control" means benefits offered by the employer to employees that are employee benefit plans as defined by section 3 of the federal employee retirement income security act of 1974, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 1002, and that the employer has the option to continue to provide to the employee after the last day that the employee worked for that employer.

(g) Duration of benefits. Any otherwise eligible individual shall be entitled during any benefit year to a total amount of benefits equal to whichever is the lesser of 26 times such individual's weekly benefit amount, or 1/3 of such individual's wages for insured work paid during such individual's base period. Such total amount of benefits, if not a multiple of $1, shall be reduced to the next lower multiple of $1.

(h) For the purposes of this section, wages shall be counted as "wages for insured work" for benefit purposes with respect to any benefit year only if such benefit year begins subsequent to the date when the employing unit by whom such wages were paid has satisfied the conditions of K.S.A. 44-703(h), and amendments thereto, with respect to becoming an employer.

(i) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the contrary, any benefit otherwise payable for any week shall be reduced by the amount of any separation, termination, severance or other similar payment paid to a claimant at the time of or after the claimant's separation from employment during the benefit year.

(1) If any payment pursuant to this subsection is paid with respect to a month, then the amount deemed to be received with respect to any week during such month shall be computed by multiplying such monthly amount by 12 and dividing the product by 52. If there is no designation of the period with respect to which payments to an individual are made under this section, then an amount equal to such individual's normal weekly wage shall be attributed to and deemed paid with respect to the first and each succeeding week following payment of the separation pay to the individual until such amount so paid is exhausted.

(2) If benefits for any week, when reduced as provided in this subsection, result in an amount that is not a multiple of $1, such benefits shall be rounded to the next lower multiple of $1.

(3) Notwithstanding the reemployment provisions of K.S.A. 44-705(e), and amendments thereto, any individual whose benefit amount is completely reduced under this subsection for 52 or more weeks shall, upon exhaustion of the separation pay, be entitled to a new benefit year based upon entitlement from the base period of the claim that was reduced.

(j) Except as provided in subsection (k), for weeks commencing on and after January 1, 2014, and ending before September 5, 2021, if at the beginning of the benefit year, the three-month seasonally adjusted average unemployment rate for the state of Kansas is: (1) Less than 4.5%, a claimant shall be eligible for a maximum of 16 weeks of benefits; (2) at least 4.5% but less than 6%, a claimant shall be eligible for a maximum of 20 weeks of benefits; or (3) at least 6%, a claimant shall be eligible for a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits.

(k) On and after the effective date of this act, a claimant shall be eligible for a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits. A claimant who filed a new claim on or after January 1, 2020, and before the effective date of this act shall be eligible for a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits including the number of weeks of benefits received after January 1, 2020, and before the effective date of this act. This subsection shall not apply to initial claims effective on and after September 5, 2021.

(l) For weeks commencing on and after September 5, 2021, if at the beginning of the benefit year, the three-month seasonally adjusted average unemployment rate for the state of Kansas is: (1) Less than 5%, a claimant shall be eligible for a maximum of 16 weeks of benefits; (2) at least 5% but less than 6%, a claimant shall be eligible for a maximum of 20 weeks of benefits; or (3) at least 6%, a claimant shall be eligible for a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits.

(m) Upon the secretary of labor's receipt of notification that the claimant has become employed, the secretary shall notify the secretary of the department for children and families in order that the secretary for children and families may determine the claimant's eligibility for state or federal benefits provided or facilitated by the department for children and families. The department of labor and the department for children and families shall enter into a memorandum of understanding that shall provide for the transfer of information as provided in this subsection.

History: L. 1937, ch. 255, § 4; L. 1939, ch. 214, § 2; L. 1941, ch. 264, § 2; L. 1945, ch. 220, § 2; L. 1947, ch. 291, § 2; L. 1949, ch. 288, § 3; L. 1951, ch. 307, § 2; L. 1955, ch. 251, § 2; L. 1957, ch. 295, § 1; L. 1959, ch. 223, § 1; L. 1970, ch. 191, § 2; L. 1971, ch. 180, § 2; L. 1972, ch. 192, § 1; L. 1973, ch. 205, § 2; L. 1976, ch. 226, § 2; L. 1976, ch. 370, § 57; L. 1977, ch. 181, § 2; L. 1979, ch. 160, § 2; L. 1983, ch. 169, § 2; L. 1984, ch. 183, § 2; L. 1985, ch. 176, § 1; L. 1986, ch. 191, § 1; L. 1991, ch. 145, § 1; L. 1993, ch. 251, § 1; L. 1994, ch. 171, § 1; L. 2003, ch. 96, § 1; L. 2004, ch. 179, § 54; L. 2013, ch. 106, § 3; L. 2015, ch. 57, § 1; L. 2017, ch. 28, § 1; L. 2020, ch. 2, § 1; L. 2021, ch. 92, § 12; May 13.

Law Review and Bar Journal References:

"Potential Federalization of State Workmen's Compensation Law—The Kansas Response," James C. Wright and James P. Rankin, 15 W.L.J. 244, 262 (1976).

"Workmen's Compensation—An Introduction to Changes in the Kansas Statute," Bryce B. Moore, 24 K.L.R. 603, 604 (1976).

"Workmen's Compensation—Major Changes in Employments Covered, Benefits, Defenses, Offsets, and Other Changes," Alvin D. Herrington, 24 K.L.R. 611, 612 (1976).

"What Should Lawyers Know from the 2003 Kansas Legislative Session?" Whitney B. Damron, 72 J.K.B.A. No. 7, 16 (2003).

Attorney General's Opinions:

Authority of legislature to transfer money from special revenue funds into state general fund. 2002-45.

CASE ANNOTATIONS

1. Benefits paid in one calendar year might be based on previous year's earnings. State, ex rel., v. Sosna, 156 Kan. 722, 724, 725, 726, 137 P.2d 129.

2. "Holiday pay" held wages and deductible in determining benefits. Erickson v. General Motors Corporation, 177 Kan. 90, 93, 94, 96, 276 P.2d 376.

3. Trial court ruling that voluntary separation from employment rendered employee ineligible for unemployment benefits upheld. Palmer News, Inc. v. Kansas Employment Security Bd. of Review, 24 Kan. App. 2d 655, 656, 951 P.2d 546 (1997).


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