FOCUS: A New Vision for Tennessee's Workforce
FAST Enterprises employees work with Unemployment Insurance staffers

Unemployment Insurance (UI) employees work last summer on the state's new e-Services system for unemployment benefits and appeals. 

Tennessee Marks a Major Milestone in the Journey
to Modernize Its Unemployment System

The more than two-year journey to streamline and improve a customer’s experience with Tennessee’s Unemployment Insurance system reached a major milestone recently. The Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) debuted the state’s new e-Services system for unemployment benefits and appeals on February 20.

New E-Services System Statistics Before and After Launch

The new e-Services system is part of a reimagined jobs4TN, Tennessee’s online workforce development portal that provides access to job seeker and business services and the Unemployment Insurance program for claimants and employers, from one easy-to-navigate page.

The guiding principle for the development of the new e-Services system was to make the Unemployment Insurance program easier and more efficient to use for both claimants and employers.

“Before we launched the new system, it could take a person 40 minutes to an hour to file a claim for unemployment benefits,” said Jason Cecil, Assistant Commissioner and Project Lead for the development of the e-Services system. “We knew we could do better, and that was our goal.”

Quietly, on the afternoon of February 19, the day before the publicized launch, TDLWD pushed the new Unemployment e-Services system into production.

Within 24 hours of that soft launch, 5,900 Tennesseans had set up their new Claimant e-Services account and completed their weekly certifications. Those claimants got into and out of the new system much faster than they did the last time they completed their weekly certification in the former system.

“The new system shows us real-time data, and we can see that claimants were logging into the new system and completing their weekly certifications in five to seven minutes,” Cecil explained. “Before, that process took them 10 to 15 minutes to complete.”

The statistics show the system’s efficiency. In just the first week after the new system launch, 4,710 Tennesseans spent 15.87 minutes, on average, filing their claims. Meanwhile, 15,804 claimants spent an average of 7.83 minutes completing their weekly certification.

“To say I’m proud of what’s been accomplished … is an understatement,” said Rusty Felts, the Assistant Commissioner of the Employment Security Division at TDLWD. ”It took a lot of thought, hard work, and long hours for the project team to make this system a reality, and I would say the result is a monumental success."

What’s Available?

The new jobs4TN landing page has a clean and simple design, with separate menus for individuals and employers. Users can quickly find what they need without having to scour the site.

In the section for individuals, claimants can find links on how to:

• File for unemployment
• Complete their weekly certification
• Search for a new job
• Post their resume
• Improve their reading, writing, or math skills

In the employers section, there are links on how to:
• Respond to an unemployment claim notice
• Submit a mass layoff or employer-filed claim
• Find job applicants
• Post a job opening
• Review resumes of matched job candidates

The page also includes short step-by-step videos on how to file a claim, reset a password, update a tax withholding preference, and more.

Once users navigate to the new e-Services system from the jobs4TN homepage, they will find several self-service options. Previously, users could not reset their password without an agent’s assistance. Now they can change it themselves, freeing up time and resources for staff to process claims.

“I think it will drastically increase our productivity,” said Allyson Johnson, a Program Specialist 3 with the Benefit Payment Control Unit of TDLWD. “I think it will help us make decisions easier, and I think it’s just all around a user-friendly system.”

FAST Enterprises employees work with Unemployment Insurance (UI) staff members

Unemployment Insurance (UI) employees work last summer on the state's new e-Services system for unemployment benefits and appeals. 

What are the Benefits for Employers?

The new e-Services system not only benefits individuals with an unemployment claim, but it also streamlines the process for Tennessee employers. Once inside the new system, they will find it’s now much easier to respond to unemployment claims and contact TDLWD. They’ll also discover new features, easy-to-navigate pages, and options for customization. 

After logging in to their Employer e-Services account, employers will find a simplified dashboard.

An Action Center near the top of the page alerts employers of tasks that need to be completed or information that is required from the state. Uncompleted tasks may also be displayed in red type elsewhere on the page, making them hard to miss.

These tasks could include responding to a fact-finding questionnaire. That process now involves just a few simple questions and the option to add attachments, such as notices or other forms of proof for TDLWD to review. Previously, non-liable employers had to mail their fact-finding responses to TDLWD. Now they can submit them electronically through the new e-Services system.

After clicking the Employer Services link, employers will find tabs listing their charges, determinations, and appeals. They can enter a date range to search by a specified period, or they can search by employee ID.

Communication is also streamlined in the new system. In the Messages section of the dashboard, employers can select the topic they have questions about, such as appeals and protests. From there, they can click on further options to narrow their query. After they enter their message and hit the Submit button, the message will be sent to a worker in that unit. Employers no longer have to worry about emailing the wrong person or unit, possibly delaying a response.

Other tasks employers can complete in the new system, often with just a few clicks of the mouse, include:

• Managing third-party administrator access

• Submitting employer-filed claims

• Viewing all forms they’ve submitted through e-Services

The Journey Continues

February’s launch was just the first step toward a fully integrated Unemployment Insurance system.

While the most recent changes affect only unemployment claims services, work has already started to build a modernized Employer Unemployment Tax system. 

While the team designs and builds the new tax system, employers will continue to use the Tennessee Premium and Wage Reporting System (TNPAWS) to file their quarterly reports and pay their Unemployment Insurance taxes.

Employers who navigate and use the new e-Services system now will be better prepared when the tax rollout occurs, said Eric Glapa, Director 2 with TDLWD.

“The sooner they register and use the system, the easier it will be in the future for them when more functionality is added,” he said.

The modernization journey continues in Tennessee. Over the next 15 months, TDLWD will streamline and improve every interaction an employer has with the unemployment system, making it even easier to do business in the Volunteer State.

jobs4TN logo


How Do Employers Sign Up for an
e-Services Account?

• To create an Employer e-Services account, an employer can visit the new jobs4TN homepage. They will need to create an Employer e-Services account even if they have previously used jobs4TN.

• Under the Employers heading, click the top link that reads “Login to Unemployment Employer e-Services.”

• In the box in the top right corner, click the link to sign up for an online account. Follow the prompts. Employers will need their Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), the State Employer Account Number (EAN), and the Access Code for their business. The Access Code appears on the quarterly tax notices letter employers receive, and they will need to enter an email address and create a new password.

• This will give employers access to all benefit-related tasks, such as fact-finding inquiries and potential benefit charges.

Employers need to know they will now have two accounts, one for unemployment tasks and one for business services tasks. They can access their Business e-Services account within jobs4TN with the same username and password they’ve used in the past. This is where they can post job openings, find applicants, review resumes, and perform other business-related tasks.

FOCUS is a publication of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

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