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Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Weekly Claims and Extended Benefits Data and Weekly Initial and Continued Weeks Claimed

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Employment and Training Administration, Labor.




The Department of Labor (Department), as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, provides this notice to the public and Federal agencies to provide an opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing collections of information in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 [44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)] (PRA). The PRA helps ensure that respondents can provide requested data in the desired format with minimal reporting burden (time and financial resources), collection instruments are clearly understood, and the impact of collection requirements on respondents can be properly assessed. Currently, ETA is soliciting comments concerning the collection process for unemployment insurance (UI), Extended Benefits, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM is titled, Federal-State Unemployment Compensation Program; Implementing the Total Unemployment Rate as an Extended Benefits Indicator and Amending for Technical Corrections; Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (RIN 1205-AB62).


Comments must be submitted in writing on or before September 8, 2015.


You may submit comments, identified by Regulatory Information Number (RIN) 1205-AB62, by only one of the following methods:

  • Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail/Hand Delivery/Courier: Submit comments to Adele Gagliardi, Administrator, Office of Policy Development and Research (OPDR), U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, 200 Constitution Avenue NW., Room N- 5641, Washington, DC 20210. Because of security-related concerns, there may be a significant delay in the receipt of submissions by United States Mail. You must take this into consideration when preparing to meet the deadline for submitting comments. The Department will post all comments received on without making any changes to the comments or redacting any information, including any personal information provided. The Web site is the Federal e-rulemaking portal and all comments posted there are available and accessible to the public. The Department recommends that commenters not include personal information such as Social Security Numbers, personal addresses, telephone numbers, and email addresses that they do not want made public in their comments as such submitted information will be available to the public via the Web site. Comments submitted through will not include the email address of the commenter unless the commenter chooses to include that information as part of his or her comment. It is the responsibility of the commenter to safeguard personal information.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and the OMB Control Number for this PRA. Please submit your comments by only one method.

Docket: All comments will be available for public inspection and copying during normal business hours by contacting OPDR at (202) 693-3700. You may also contact OPDR at the address listed above. As noted above, the Department also will post all comments it receives on

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Adele Gagliardi, Administrator, OPDR, Employment and Training Administration, (202) 693-3700 (this is not a toll-free number) or 1-877-889-5627 (TTY). Individuals with hearing or speech impairments may access the telephone number above via TTY by calling the toll-free Federal Information Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

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The Department published an NPRM on October 27, 2014, in the Federal Register (79 FR 63859). The NPRM proposes to amend 20 CFR 615, Extended Benefits, by implementing the Total Unemployment Rate (TUR) indicator, an optional calculation methodology for triggering on Extended Benefits, in regulations. The NPRM also proposes to revise the regulatory requirements at § 615.15, pertaining to records and reports State agencies must submit. More specifically, paragraphs (a) and (b) are proposed to be revised for clarity by deleting unnecessary language regarding the Secretary's authority to request Extended Benefit Program reports and to appoint audit officials for those reports. Furthermore, we propose to delete paragraphs (c) and (d). The reporting instructions for the proper and timely submission of data are provided in ET Handbook No. 401, which governs Unemployment Compensation required reporting.

The ET Handbook is a more effective way to communicate reporting requirements, because codifying the reporting requirements in paragraphs (c) and (d) of the regulation prevents the Department from adapting reporting instructions to changing conditions or needs. The ET Handbook requires the weekly submission of Forms ETA-538 and ETA-539. These forms have been Start Printed Page 38748computerized and contain information on initial Unemployment Insurance claims and continued weeks claimed. These figures are important economic indicators. Form ETA-538 provides information allowing release of advance unemployment claims information to the public five days after the close of the reference period. Form ETA-539 contains more detailed weekly claims information and the State's 13-week IUR that is used to determine eligibility for the Extended Benefits program. The reporting requirements in paragraphs (c) and (d) of the old regulation are included in the ET Handbook and elimination of the requirements in regulation allow for ease in making future modifications by simply updating the ET Handbook.

Furthermore, paragraph (d) existed during the implementation phase of the insured unemployment rate (IUR) indicator and required States to submit the method used to identify and select the weeks used for EB trigger purposes to ensure that States were consistent and comparable in their methods. With 30 years of experience, as well as numerous data validation and data quality programs in effect, it is unnecessary to compel State administrators to provide this information. Current reporting guidelines contained in the ET Handbook are clear enough that States continue to have clear standards about which claims are used for constructing totals used to compute trigger values, thus permitting the deletion of this paragraph. The NPRM does not change the existing reporting requirements for Forms ETA-538 or ETA-539.

The preamble to the NPRM stated that the Department had determined the proposed rule did not contain new information collections. However, to ensure transparency and full opportunities for public participation under all appropriate authorities, the Department has decided to submit an Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to revise the PRA approval for the information collections to reflect this rulemaking. See 44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(B); 5 CFR 1320.11. As part of that process, we seek public comments on the removal of specific information collection requirements in the NPRM and on the general Extended Benefit reporting requirements in Handbook 401 and Forms ETA 538 and 539 in light of specific areas of interest to minimize so-called “paperwork” burdens on the public.

A Federal agency generally cannot conduct or sponsor a collection of information, and the public is generally not required to respond to an information collection, unless it is approved by the OMB under the PRA and displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. In addition, notwithstanding any other provisions of law, no person shall generally be subject to penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information that does not display a valid Control Number. See 5 CFR 1320.5(a) and 1320.6. We obtain OMB approval for this information collection under Control Number 1205-0028. This notice is to provide the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed changes to the information collections in the rule, in preparation for an ICR to revise the current PRA approval to reflect the changes in the rule.

Interested parties are encouraged to send comments to the address shown in the ADDRESSES section within sixty (60) days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. In order to help ensure appropriate consideration, comments should mention OMB Control Number 1205-0028. We are particularly interested in comments that:

  • Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;
  • Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;
  • Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and
  • Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

This information collection is summarized as follows:

Agency: DOL-ETA.

Action: ICR Revision.

Title of Collection: Weekly Claims and Extended Benefits Data and Weekly Initial and Continued Weeks Claimed.

OMB Control Number: 1205-0028.

Affected Public: State, Local, and Tribal Governments.

Total Estimated Number of Respondents: 53.

Total Estimated Number of Responses: 5,512.

Total Estimated Annual Time Burden: 3,675 hours.

Total Estimated Annual Other Costs Burden: $0.

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Portia Wu,

Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training.

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[FR Doc. 2015-16590 Filed 7-6-15; 8:45 am]