TN Employer graphis
TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development
MAY 2014

Career Coaches improve employment opportunities in local areas
Lowe's Home Improvment hires several qualified workers in Dyersburg

The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development has begun an initiative to take its Career Center services to areas with higher unemployment levels in Tennessee this spring and summer via the department’s three Career Coaches.

“We’re targeting the state’s counties with higher unemployment rates,” said Labor Commissioner Burns Phillips. “We will have the coaches at familiar locations in those counties to give job seekers the same services they would have as if they visited one of our Career Centers. In many cases, we will also have area employers on-site to interview prospective workers.”

David Burnham, human resources manager for Lowe’s in Dyersburg, was on hand for a recent Career Coach recruiting event in Ripley.  “The Career Coach job fair was a really good – and fun – experience,” he said. “The Department of Labor staff was great to work with. We recruited several workers that day who passed the assessment and whom we’re going to call back to see about working at Lowe’s. We were very pleased and hope to do it again.”

Career Coaches travel to all areas of the state – not just those with high unemployment – and can be made available to employers for recruitment and interviewing space. For a schedule of all Career Coach visits go to


Conference addresses Workers’ Compensation reform - Register to attend now!

Registration is under way for the 17th Annual Workers’ Comp Conference. The conference is scheduled for June 18-20, 2014, at the Nashville Marriott.

The new Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims and other reforms will be highlighted. Last year more than 650 people attended the event, and interest is running higher this year with the changes that become effective July 1.

New this year: The Wednesday portion of the conference targets physicians, with that day’s conference agenda offering medical topics of particular interest and importance for physician and accompanying medical staff. Continuing Medical Education credits will be given.

Click here to link to agenda and registration information for the Wednesday only portion as well as the full conference.





TNPAWS Access Codes changed for 1st quarter 2014

The Tennessee Premium and Wage Reporting System (TNPAWS) is an Internet method of filing the quarterly Premium and Wage Reports. The TNPAWS Website located at is available for use by any employer with an active employer account number. To use TNPAWS, employers must have the department-issued Access Code.

For security reasons, the Access Codes change in the first quarter of each calendar year. The Access Code appears on either the pre-printed 1st quarter 2014 Premium Report (LB-0456) or the letter reminding previous TNPAWS users to file by the due date. If you cannot locate the 2014 Access Code, you may retrieve it from the TNPAWS Website by clicking the link provided. 

The first quarter is the best time to begin using TNPAWS because the employee information you report is saved and displayed in the following quarters. Returning users only need to add and/or delete employees and enter the current quarter wages to complete the report. TNPAWS calculates the total, excess, and taxable wages of each employee before determining the premium due for the quarter.

While employers can start using TNPAWS at any time, we encourage you to begin in the first quarter of the calendar year. If you have additional questions about the operation of TNPAWS, please call (615) 741-2346.


Silica dust exposure for grinder operators is silicosis concern

Crystalline silica dust exposure is a one of the top health hazards in the workplace, especially in the construction industry. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, silica exposure is a serious threat to about two million U.S. workers. More than 100,000 of those workers are in high-risk jobs such as highway and bridge construction and repair; building construction, demolition, and repair; abrasive blasting; masonry work; concrete finishing; drywall finishing; rock drilling; mining; sand and gravel screening; and rock crushing (for road base).

Breathing in silica dust over time can cause silicosis, a disabling and sometimes fatal lung disease. Employers should be alert to construction activities that result in silica exposure and should make sure workers are given adequate protection. Of particular concern is silica exposure to users of hand-operated grinders in the construction industry. An OSHA Fact Sheet on ways to reduce silica exposure to grinder operators is available here.





JULY 20-23
  Registration is now open for this year’s Tennessee Safety and Health Congress. The congress will be held at Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland, July 20-23. To register and to see a list of presentations, events, and exhibitors, click here.


New ombudsman program helps unrepresented employers and employees understand Workers’ Comp

Tennessee Workers Compensation Law was amended last year. In addition to changes in the benefit structure, the law created a position called the ombudsman. The purpose of the new position is to help self-represented employers and employees navigate the workers’ compensation claims process.

Individuals trained to provide helpful information will staff the Ombudsman Office.  Many times knowing accurate information about the law or the process helps prevent disputes from becoming roadblocks to agreements. Even if an agreement is not reached, it will be helpful to self-represented customers to understand the process better, to know where to get various forms, and to know where to submit them.

In addition to the assistance offered in the new law, the Division of Workers’ Compensation has added other helps to the program. The ombudsman will add value for self-represented employees and employers by identifying referral sources that may be of use such as procurement of insurance coverage, information on safety programs for employers, and access to training or job placement support and state or federal programs that may be of assistance to injured workers. This proactive approach to helping Tennesseans solve issues and gain access to programs is an exciting enhancement to the Workers’ Compensation Division’s current services. This new assistance for self-represented employers and employees will be a great help when they are facing a challenging period. 

  • Employer rates unchanged for 1st and 2nd quarters 2014
    Employer premium rates for the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2014 will remain unchanged from rates used in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2013. Tennessee premium rates will only change on January 1st in those years when there is a change in the Premium Rate Table as determined by the balance of the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. Since July 1, 2013, Premium Rate Table 5 has been in effect. Premium Rate Table 5 is used when the balance of the Trust Fund is between $750 million and $850 million.

  • Reminder: Tennessee’s taxable wage base is $9,000
    Effective January 1, 2009, the taxable wage base in Tennessee increased from $7,000 to $9,000. Tennessee employers are responsible for paying unemployment insurance premiums on the first $9,000 paid to each covered employee in a calendar year. Please be certain your taxable wage calculation is correct.


| TN Dept of Labor | UI Tax Information| TOSHA Safety Programs | SIDES | Automated Partials | |

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