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Governor's Executive Order Relieves Impact of Second Quarter 2020 Claims for Employers

 January 07, 2021

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – On December 29, 2020, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed executive order 20-54. The order provides relief to employers by excluding unemployment claims during the second quarter of 2020 in the calculation of employer UI tax rates.

“Keeping our businesses open and our economy thriving is a priority as we navigate through this season of uncertainty,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “I signed the executive order to help provide relief to Arkansas employers who have been hit hard during the pandemic and I look forward to working with our legislature to establish a solution to mitigate COVID-19 related charges beyond the second quarter of 2020.”

“The second quarter was the highest level of unemployment for Arkansans during the pandemic,” said Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston. “This action avoids a catastrophic increase in UI rates for employers already struggling with the effects of the pandemic. We are grateful that members of the legislature have expressed an interest in making statutory changes in the upcoming session to ensure this relief extends beyond the end of the pandemic.”

“As a pro-business advocate, I am delighted to work with the Governor and the Department of Commerce to save employers from paying incredibly high rates due to the pandemic,” said State Senator Missy Irvin. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to find the best solution during the upcoming legislative session.”

"I appreciate Governor Hutchinson and Secretary Preston for providing this solution to a major problem for small businesses in Arkansas, said State Representative Jack Ladyman. “Without this, hundreds of small businesses in Arkansas would be devastated and possibly forced to close. I have committed to be the primary sponsor of a bill, to be presented in the 93rd. General Assembly, to make this solution permanent."

“I applaud Governor Hutchinson for signing the executive order to save our businesses from financial strain,” said State Representative Michelle Gray. “This is a necessary step in securing economic and financial stability of Arkansas’ economy. It is important for our businesses to remain open and for employees to return to work.”

The executive order allows the Division of Workforce Services (DWS) to begin notifying employers of their 2021 tax rates. Statements will be distributed as soon as possible.

About the Arkansas Department of Commerce 

The Arkansas Department of Commerce is the umbrella department for workforce and economic development drivers. Its divisions and regulatory boards include Division of Aeronautics, Waterways Commission, Wine Producers Council, Division of Workforce Services, Office of Skills Development, State Bank Department, Insurance Department, Securities Department, Economic Development Commission and Development Finance Authority. It was established July 2019 as part of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s wide-sweeping efficiency and transformation efforts to reduce 42 cabinet agencies to 15 while maintaining services for all Arkansans.

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Department of Commerce