JEFFERSON CITY, MO (STL.News) – The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (LIRC) has drastically reduced the average time it takes to resolve unemployment appeals from employers and workers. Ninety-five percent of cases are now completed within 40 days of reaching the Commission.
On December 31, 2017, the LIRC had 606 cases with an average age of 103 days. To combat the length of these cases, the LIRC reviewed its processes, pinpointed problem areas, and created solutions to streamline the resolution time of unemployment dispute cases. Today, the LIRC has only 43 pending cases with an average age of 12.6 days. This is the first time in over 20 years the LIRC has less than 100 pending unemployment cases.
Commissioner Reid Forrester has been an advocate of this project since his appointment to the Commission in May 2018. “Moving from a completion rate of approximately 3% to 95% of pending cases in 40 days or less, provides needed funds to unemployed workers in a timely manner, helping them through a possibly difficult time,” said Commissioner Forrester. “Adjudicating these cases quickly provides certainty for the employers and is one of the building blocks that will keep the state economy stable or growing.”
The significant change in resolution time has been the outcome of an improved workflow process that allows LIRC staff easy and up-to-date access to a shared work filing system so the workload is more evenly distributed. An internal logging system was also created to track the age of cases and identify areas of potential issues.
The LIRC also teamed up with the Department of Labor’s Division of Employment Security (DES) and Office of Administration’s Information Technology Services Division to create reports to identify cases that have longer than normal pending periods and others that have been incorrectly charged to the LIRC. “The collaborative and concentrated effort of the LIRC and DES staff show how quickly an area of concern can be addressed and move from being a sore talking point to an area of success and pride for everyone,” explained LIRC Chairman Robert Cornejo. “We were faced with obstacles that were beyond our control, but by systematically and methodically addressing the issues, we were able to overcome those obstacles and turn the situation around to become a true highlight of how working together brings good government to the citizens of the State of Missouri.”
The LIRC hears all appeals from decisions and awards in unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and prevailing wage at the highest administrative level. In connection with these appellate duties, the LIRC holds hearings and renders written opinions. To learn more about strategic changes to benefit Missouri’s businesses and workers, visit strategicchange.mo.gov.