Employment Law -- Employee

Louisiana Unemployment Law

Unemployment compensation, also called unemployment insurance (UI), is a federal government program administered by the states in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor. It’s intended to provide qualified unemployed workers with financial and work search support.

This page summarizes Louisiana’s unemployment law and links to more detailed articles that can help you answer specific questions. Because the law is complicated and may be different for your situation, we suggest consulting an employment law expert in a city near you to give you the best advice about your unique circumstances.

Unemployment Eligibility

Each state makes its own rules regarding unemployment eligibility and administration, so Louisiana may differ from other states regarding factors such as weekly benefit amounts and the duration of benefit payments. You can read more about the general unemployment process and requirements.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) administers the state’s unemployment insurance program.

A Louisiana claimant must meet the following requirements to qualify for UI:

  • Earned enough wages in a base period
  • Completely or partially unemployed through no fault of their own
  • Able to work
  • Available for work
  • Actively seeking work

Claimants may also be required to report to their nearest American Job Center to participate in reemployment assistance activities.

Eligibility rules can be confusing. The LWC publishes the Unemployment Benefits Rights Information guide to help claimants.

Am I Eligible for Unemployment Benefits if I Quit?

A claimant who quits without good cause is typically ineligible for unemployment benefits.

What if I Get Fired?

A terminated individual is eligible for unemployment benefits only when they are not at fault for being fired. For example, repeated employee misconduct, such as excessive absences, intoxication on the job, or sexual harassment, will typically disqualify the individual for unemployment benefits.

What if I Am Laid Off?

An individual whose employer laid them off or has experienced a significant reduction in hours due to lack of work is typically eligible for unemployment benefits. However, they must meet all other state eligibility requirements.

For instance, if Wendy from Lafayette is fired because her employer is reducing its workforce, she will be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Maintaining Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits

Louisiana unemployment insurance recipients must recertify their eligibility by filing a weekly claim. In filing a weekly claim, the claimant confirms they were unemployed for at least part of the previous week and met all conditions to receive benefits.

Claimants must also contact at least three employers weekly about job openings and report this work search activity.

What Is the Weekly Benefit Amount?

Benefits are available to eligible claimants in Louisiana for up to 26 weeks in the benefit year. The state may extend the benefit period in certain circumstances.

The claimant’s weekly benefit amount ranges from $10 to $275 based on their wages during the base period. The state makes benefit payments via debit card or direct deposit.

What Information Must the Employer Provide?

While states vary in what information they require from an employer for an unemployment insurance claim, the following is typical:

  • Confirmation that the employer was required to pay unemployment insurance contributions on the employee’s wages
  • The reason for the employee’s separation
  • The employee’s last day of work
  • Whether the separation is temporary
  • The employee’s gross wages for each week during a specified period

Are Unemployment Benefits Taxable?

Louisiana does not tax unemployment benefits, but they count as part of gross income for federal income tax. The state provides the worker with Form 1099-G reporting the unemployment benefits paid and federal income tax withheld.

So Casey, from New Orleans, must report his unemployment benefits on his federal, state, and local taxes.

When Can Requirements for Unemployment Benefits Be Waived?

States or the federal government can waive the requirements for unemployment benefits under exceptional circumstances, such as when an emergency forces companies to shut down for some time. For example, New YorkFlorida, and several other states waived their work search requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, and New York, among others, waive the work search requirement if the individual is temporarily laid off or seeking work through a union hiring hall.

What if Louisiana Denies My Application for Benefits?

Louisiana claimants can appeal a decision to deny benefits within 15 days from the determination mailing date.

Claimants can file an appeal online, by email, fax, or mail.

An Appeals Tribunal administrative law judge (ALJ) will hold a hearing. The claimant can appeal the ALJ’s decision to the Board of Review. Likewise, the claimant can appeal the Board of Review’s decision to the Judicial District Court.

For example, Sandy, from Baton Rouge, received a determination denying her benefits dated March 3, 2022. She has 15 days from that date to file an appeal.

If you need help filing an appeal, it is wise to discuss your options with an employment lawyer.

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