WIOA Final Rule include No new employer quarterly wage record reporting – Increased information exchange with Education

On August 19, 2016 the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act; Joint Rule for Unified and Combined State Plans, Performance Accountability, and the One-Stop System Joint Provisions; Final Rule was released by the US Department of Labor and the US Department of Education. See https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-08-19/pdf/2016-15977.pdf

The final rule responds to a number of comments, including comments submitted by UWC that clarification was needed to assure that employers were not required to change quarterly wage reports to show wages “earned” instead of “paid”. The final rule narrative clarifies this.

Departments’ Response: The Departments clarify that the wage record information held by State UC agencies, from which wage record information is drawn, only contain the wages paid to an individual. See 20 CFR 603.2(k)(1).

Moreover, sec. 1137(a)(3) of the Social Security Act, which creates the requirement that States provide quarterly wage reports, only requires that employers report wage information.

Similarly, sec. 3306(b) of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act defines wages as all remuneration for employment. Because the records only include wages paid, the Departments interpret WIOA sec. 116(i)(2)’s requirement to use State

UI wage records to mean that the States only are required to report on wages paid.

UWC also sought clarification that there was no expansion in the definition of “quarterly wage records” to be reported as the result of WIOA. The final rule clarifies the definition in Sections 361.175, 463.175, and 677.175, that

‘‘Quarterly wage record information’’ means intrastate and interstate wages paid to an individual, the social security number (or numbers, if more than one) of the individual, and the name, address, State, and the Federal employer identification number of the employer paying the wages to the individual.

There continues to be discussion through the Workforce Information Advisory Council (WIAC) established by WIOA with respect to potential expansion of wage record information reporting and a number of states, including Louisiana, have implemented or are considering some reporting expansion, however, there is no federal requirement through WIOA that employers provide additional information as part of quarterly wage records.

The final rule authorizes the implementation of new agreements to exchange quarterly wage information, subject to the applicable federal and state confidentiality requirements. There is also a recognition that employment and wage information may be needed from sources other than quarterly wage records to enable performance evaluation.

To the extent that quarterly wage records are not available for a participant, States may use other information as is necessary to measure the progress of those participants through methods other than quarterly wage record information.

The Governor may designate a State agency (or appropriate State entity) to assist in carrying out the performance reporting requirements for WIOA core programs and ETPs. The Governor or such agency (or appropriate State entity) is responsible for:

(1) Facilitating data matches;

(2) Data quality reliability; and

(3) Protection against disaggregation that would violate applicable privacy standards.

The Department of Labor and Department of Education plan to issue guidance and new data sharing agreements to facilitate wage record data matching required for all WIOA core programs in meeting performance requirements. The departments also plan to establish pilots through Governors relating to services for employers to assess the effectiveness in WIOA serving employers.

UWC continues to advocate policy that minimizes additional federal reporting burden while improving the performance of the public workforce system and increasing the value of WIOA program services.