Tennessee Employer
If you are having trouble seeing this view it online at Employer Newsletter
TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development - December 2012

Bureau of Labor Statistics
Tennessee injury and illness rates decline

The average rate of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses reported by private industry employers in Tennessee has gone down faster than the national rate and has reached its lowest rate on record. Tennessee’s total recordable case incidence rate (TCIR) for private industry was 3.5 percent for 2011, which means 3.5 full-time workers per 100 had reportable injuries or illnesses at a level above first aid; the TCIR was 4.8 in 2006 and has gone down steadily since.

The national TCIR for private industry for 2011 was also 3.5, but Tennessee’s rate has fallen 1.3 percentage points in the past five years compared to the national rate drop of .9 percentage point.

The TCIR for all industries, including state and local governments, has also steadily declined and was 3.7 for 2011. The U.S. rate for 2011 for all industries was 3.8. Figures for all industries have only been kept since 2008

  Steve Hawkins

“We’re pleased to see Tennessee’s TCIR for the private sector fall significantly since 2006,” said Steve Hawkins, Administrator for TOSHA. “And the TCIR for Tennessee for all industries is lower than the national average because Tennessee has a much lower illness and injury rate in state and local government than the nation. We attribute these improvements to Tennessee employers’ doing a better job of keeping the workplace safe.”

TOSHA’s no-cost Consultative Services program assist employers in developing safety and health management systems and evaluating workplaces for chemical, physical, and biological hazards, provided without risk of citations or penalties. For more information on TOSHA programs call (615) 741-2793.

Calandar Graphic
Employer Accounts

End-of-year reminders

Remember to take advantage of the full 5.4% credit on your annual Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) return. In order to claim this credit, you must pay all amounts due your state unemployment insurance fund by the due date of the FUTA return, January 31, 2013.  Tennessee employers enjoy the benefit of the full 5.4% FUTA credit because Tennessee is not a “credit reduction state.”  Employers in a credit reduction state must calculate a credit reduction as an adjustment to their FUTA tax on their 2012 IRS Form 940, effectively losing anywhere from 0.3% to 0.9% of their FUTA tax credit. Credit reduction states are those states with outstanding loans from the Federal government to pay unemployment benefits. 
Any adjustments and/or refund requests must be submitted by the end of February 2013 in order for the amount of the adjustment or refund to be included in the calculation of the employer’s reserve ratio and premium rate for the new rate year that begins July 1, 2013. For the fastest service, please mail your payment to P. O. Box 101, Nashville, TN 37202-0101. Mailing your report or payments to our street address could result in delays. Please make sure to include your state Employer Account number on the check.

Please use our agency’s pre-printed Premium and Wage reports whenever possible
The scanning equipment used to read the reports is highly sensitive to any variations in position or darkness, and numerous misreads tend to occur when we attempt to process reports on forms that have either been copied or were not printed by our agency. If you ever need to be provided with another Premium and Wage report form, please contact the Employer Services Unit at (615)741-2486.


Unemployment Insurance
Federal EUC benefits ending

Unemployment claimants in Tennessee who are receiving federally extended unemployment insurance will cease receiving those benefits the first week of January 2013.

Beginning January 2, 2013, Tennessee will return to the system in which an approved new claim will have a maximum of up to 26 weeks of state-funded (Tennessee Unemployment Compensation) benefits.

Wages in lieu of notice and severance pay affect UI

The Unemployment Insurance Accountability Act of 2012 denies unemployment insurance benefits to any claimant who is receiving or has received wages in lieu of notice equivalent to the wages he could have earned in that week had he been permitted to work during the period of notice. Wages in lieu of notice are wages paid under circumstances in which the employer did not give an advance notice of separation to the employee and are paid irrespective of the length of service of the employee.

UI benefits will also be denied to any claimant for any week in which he received a severance package that includes an equivalent amount of salary the employee would have received if he were working during that week.

Both the wages in lieu of notice and the severance provisions will not apply to claimants whose separating employer filed notice of a reduction in operations, in accordance with Tennessee Employment Security law, prior to July 1, 2012.


Labor Market Information
Tennessee’s employment in certain healthcare, production, and transportation occupations above national average

Tennessee Occupational Employment Statistics published for 2012 are now available.  The Occupational Employment Survey, conducted by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Labor Market Information Division, collects employment and wage data for more than 500 occupations.  Data produced includes average entry level pay and pay for experienced workers,  25th, 50th (median average), and 75th percentile wages for occupations,  and a breakdown of employment by occupation and area.
Tennessee had a higher concentration than the national average in several employment categories:  healthcare practitioners and technician occupations (177,160), production occupations (230,250), and transportation and material moving occupations (236,840) in 2011. 
Within these categories, detailed occupations with an employment composition notably above national averages include:

  • Team Assemblers
  • Assemblers and fabricators
  • Heavy and tractor-trailer drivers


Median hourly wages in management occupations ($35.23) and architecture and engineering occupations ($32.71) led all occupations statewide. Occupational categories displayed in the following table that were notably below national median wage averages include two:

  • Computer and Mathematical Occupations ($30.62)
  • Education, Training, and Library Occupations ($19.57)

The Occupational Employment Statistics Survey is conducted by the Labor Market Information Section of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Employment Security Division.  More than 4,000 companies are surveyed semi-annually and response rates equal or exceed 75 percent.  All sizes of employers are included, based on a stratified random sampling technique which includes all Tennessee industries.  The survey data are available for the state, MSAs, and four balance-of-state areas at http://www.state.tn.us/labor-wfd/wages/intro.htm
For more information, contact Martha Wettemann or Roger Broach at 615-741-3639.

Employer Survey
Tell us what you'd like to know by taking this short survey

We want to include stories in this newsletter that you, as an employer, want to see — TN Department of Labor information that is of interest to you and that you can use. Please take a minute to answer the survey question by clicking on the Survey Monkey logo here, and thank you.


Employment Security
Definition of suitable work now tied to duration of unemployment

Claimants for unemployment insurance who refuse to accept an offer of suitable work can be disqualified from receiving benefits. Recent changes to Employment Security Law require claimants to decrease salary and wage demands the longer they receive benefits. Employers with questions regarding this law change should call the department’s Employer Customer Service Unit at 615-532-5110, toll-free 855-286-7417. Read more here.

Adult Education
Major GED changes only a year off

The GED® Test will be changing in 2014. The new assessment will be administered through testing on computer (also known as computer-based testing or CBT) at Official GED Testing Center™ locations and must be taken in person; it cannot be taken online. 

Until the new assessment is launched, the 2002 Series GED® Test will continue to be administered in both PBT (paper-based testing) and CBT formats.

The cost to adults taking the GED® test is increasing. Currently the paper-based test in Tennessee costs between $65 and $75; the computer-based test is $120. The increased cost will be a barrier for those taking the test once CBT becomes the sole format.

Tennessee is looking at an option to the GED® test that will be aligned with the common core standards, will be recognized by employers and post-secondary institutions in Tennessee and other states, and will be less costly to test-takers as per SB2511/HB2861. 

Enrollment is increasing in local adult education programs in anticipation of the new test. Programs are working to prepare as many as possible to take the current test before the cost goes up and it becomes a computer-based only option. First quarter enrollment was 20,616 as compared to last year’s first quarter enrollment of 15,476.  GEDs are slightly up the first quarter over the first quarter of last year. We are expecting record increases in the number of GEDs from  July through December 2013. 

Employer Outreach
Employer meetings give up-to-date info on legislation

What specifically defines “misconduct” that disqualifies a person from receiving unemployment insurance? What is meant by “suitable work” for UI claimants? How do documented work searches affect a claimant’s unemployment? These are some of the questions that are answered in the 2012 Employment Security Law changes enacted by the 107th Session of the Tennessee General Assembly, and the Department of Labor invites you to attend a meeting in your area to hear more about the changes that affect employers.


The department’s legislative liaisons Omari Winbush and Karen Walker are presently speaking at many of the Workforce Employer Outreach Committee (WEOC) meetings being held across the state. Their presentations on the 2012 Law Changes have been a popular topic for questions and discussion.

WEOCs are a link between the Department of Labor and Tennessee employers. In addition to legislative updates, the WEOC meetings feature programs such as the Drug-Free Workplace, the UI Appeals Process, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, and Labor Market Information. Seven business services specialists statewide coordinate the WEOC meetings. If you would like additional information on the employer meetings in your area, please contact Danna.Douglas@tn.gov or call (615) 741-7374.


22,000 qualified applicants
90,000 jobs
Free to place jobs and search for employees


| TN Dept of Labor | UI Tax Information| Adult Education |
| Workers Compensation | SIDES | Automated Partials | Jobs4TN.gov |

Send us comments or suggestions on department topics to jeff.hentschel@tn.gov

Twitter logoFacebookFlickerYouTube
Follow the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development on Twitter