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SB-232 Employment Development Department: policies and practices.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/15/2021 09:00 PM
SB232:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 15, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  March 10, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 232


Introduced by Senator Nielsen

January 19, 2021


An act to add Section 340 to the Unemployment Insurance Code, relating to unemployment benefits.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 232, as amended, Nielsen. Employment Development Department: policies and practices.
Existing law requires the Employment Development Department to administer a program for the payment of unemployment compensation to the eligible unemployed. Existing law requires the department to periodically review policies and practices used to determine eligibility and benefits that result in delayed eligibility unemployment determinations or benefit payments and that fail to identify or prevent fraud. Existing law requires the director of the department to report the results of the first review to the Legislature on or before July 1, 2015, and authorizes the submission of subsequent reports.
This bill would require the Employment Development Department to take various actions in response to recommendations by the California State Auditor regarding the timely issuance of unemployment insurance benefits and the reduction of fraud associated with the payment of those benefits. Among other things, the bill would require the department, on or before May 31, 2021, 2022, to identify elements of the Benefit Modernization System IT project and to prioritize implementing these elements. The bill would also require the department, on or before May 31, 2021, 2022, to implement a policy establishing a process for tracking and analyzing the reasons why unemployment insurance claimants call for assistance. On or before October 31, 2021, 2022, and every 6 months thereafter, the bill would require the department to analyze the data to improve call center performance, as specified. The bill would require the department to provide the Legislature with a plan for assessing the effectiveness of its fraud prevention and detection tools by May 1, 2021, 2022, and to provide a report to the Legislature with an update on its progress on performing this analysis by July 1, 2021. 2022. The bill would require the department to designate a unit that is responsible for coordinating all unemployment insurance fraud prevention and detection efforts, as specified.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 340 is added to the Unemployment Insurance Code, to read:

340.
 Based on reports by the California State Auditor, the Legislature finds that it is imperative to implement as soon as possible the recommendations of the auditor regarding changes in policies and practices that will result in the timely issuance of unemployment insurance benefits and the reduction of the significant level of fraud associated with the program for the payment of those benefits. For these purposes:
(a) On or before May 31, 2021, 2022, the department shall identify the elements of the Benefit Modernization System IT project, commonly referred to as “BSM,” that will assist in making payments timely and that may be implemented incrementally. The department shall prioritize implementing these elements of the BSM that it identifies.
(b) On or before May 31, 2021, 2022, the department shall implement a formal policy that establishes a process for tracking and periodically analyzing the reasons why unemployment insurance claimants call for assistance. On or before October 31, 2021, 2022, and every six months thereafter, the department shall analyze the data to improve its call center performance by identifying and resolving weaknesses or problems with the ways in which its call center provides assistance to unemployment insurance claimants through self-service and noncallcenter non-call center options and developing specialized training modules to quickly train its call center staff on the most commonly requested items with which callers need assistance.
(c) The department shall assess the effectiveness of its call center operations. On or before May 31, 2021, 2022, the department shall implement a policy for tracking and monitoring its rate of first-call resolution. The department shall review first-call resolution data at least monthly and evaluate whether the department is providing effective assistance to callers.
(d) The department shall create model workload projections that account for possible scenarios that may cause a sudden increase in unemployment insurance claims. These workload projection assessments shall occur quarterly in order for the department to plan staffing adjustments in accordance with the likelihood of those scenarios. The department shall have a contingency plan for less likely scenarios that may have a significant impact on the department’s workload.
(e) (1) The department shall develop a recession plan that accounts for the lessons learned from previous economic downturns, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan shall include indicators for the department to monitor to assess workload increases that are likely to occur and shall include steps that the department shall take in response in order to address increases in workload. The initial plan shall be reported to the Legislature on or before January 1, 2022, 2023, and shall be updated every three years thereafter.
(2) The report required by this subdivision shall be provided consistently with the requirements of Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(f) (1) The department shall provide the Legislature with a plan for assessing the effectiveness of its fraud prevention and detection tools by May 1, 2021, 2022, and shall provide a report to the Legislature with an update on its progress on performing the assessment that the plan identifies by July 1, 2021. 2022.
(2) On or before January 1, 2022, 2023, and annually thereafter, the department shall analyze and assess the effectiveness of its fraud prevention and detection tools and shall submit this analysis and assessment to the Legislature.
(3) The plan, assessments, and reports required by this subdivision shall be provided consistently with the requirements of Section 9795 of the Government Code.
(g) The department shall designate an exclusive unit that is responsible for coordinating all unemployment insurance fraud prevention and detection. The unit shall have sufficient independent authority to carry out its duties, which shall be consistent with the best practices that are applicable to fraud detection and prevention.