Vision Payroll

October 15, 2010

Question of the Week: What Is the Impact of a Temporary Layoff on the HIRE Act Incentives?

What is the Impact of Temporary Layoff on the HIRE Act Incentives?
What is the Impact of Temporary Layoff on the HIRE Act Incentives?
This week’s question comes from Andrea, an HR director. We hired an employee who qualified for the HIRE Act Incentives, including payroll tax forgiveness. We had to lay him off temporarily and don’t know if he still qualifies under his previous layoff or if he needs to requalify. What is the impact of temporary layoff on the HIRE Act incentives? Answer: Under the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act), employers who hire certain unemployed workers are exempt from certain employment taxes and may receive other tax benefits. In order to qualify under the HIRE Act, employers are required to “get a statement from each eligible new hire certifying that he or she was unemployed during the 60 days before beginning work or, alternatively, worked fewer than a total of 40 hours for someone else during the 60-day period.” Workers who are temporarily laid off may or may not have to requalify and fill out a new Form W-11 or the Spanish-language equivalent, Form W-11(SP).

IRS Addresses Issue in Information Letter 2010-0198

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) addressed this issue in Information Letter 2010-0198. According to the IRS:

An individual who is already a qualified employee and who experiences a short term or temporary interruption in his or her performance of services continues to be a qualified employee unless the interruption constitutes a termination of employment. Whether a short term or temporary interruption of an employee’s performance of services constitutes a termination of employment depends on the facts and circumstances. In the case of an individual who was previously employed as a qualified employee and whose employment is terminated, the employee will have to again meet the requirements for qualified employee status at the time the employment relationship is reestablished.

Documentation Is Key to Support Employer Position

Vision Payroll recommends that employers document thoroughly why a “temporary interruption” was not a termination of employment if they do not requalify an employee under the HIRE Act. Consultation with a qualified labor law attorney to determine when employment terminates is strongly recommended.

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