Reporting, Responding Online Saves Employers Time, Money

Idaho employers save time, money and easily meet the deadline for responding to employee separations when they manage their unemployment insurance accounts online and communicate with the Department of Labor electronically.

“Many of our documents we get electronically anyway, so prior to having this I would have to go through and print them, get everything together and fax them,” said Connie Herbert, human resources representative for King’s retail. “With this new program I can have it up on one screen and payroll up on another and look up all the information. There’s places I can attach supporting documents and since they’re already electronic that’s really easy.”

SIDES E-Response  is a free online program that notifies businesses by email about any benefit claims filed against the business account. It also provides information for the employer to send an initial response.

Since the program began in 2013, nearly 4,000 employers have signed up to use SIDES nationwide. The program accounts for 30 percent of the unemployment separation responses for Idaho.

“We would like to encourage other employers to sign up for SIDES,” said Tyler Smith, SIDES program administrator for the Idaho Department of Labor. “Using SIDES can help prevent fraud and overpayments, which keeps tax rates low.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 12 percent of the $54.5 billion in unemployment insurance benefits paid in 2013 were paid improperly. By using SIDES E-Response, much of this confusion can be avoided and documents can be submitted faster.

“We have around 350 employees, not all Idaho employees,” Herbert said. “If I need something from someone involved I can save information and add the additional information before I submit it. It has made the process much smoother.”

Nationally, nearly 230,000 unemployment requests have been sent using SIDES E-Response with 99.25 percent of them submitted on time. The average response time is less than six days nationally using the SIDES program.

To register for SIDES E-Response or find more information, visit labor.idaho.gov/SIDES.

— Sean Bunce,
Idaho Department of Labor