Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are SIDES and SIDES E-Response?
Developed through a strategic partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) and state unemployment compensation (UC) agencies, the State Information Data Exchange System (SIDES) and SIDES E-Response systems offer employers and third-party administrators – free of charge – a secure, electronic and nationally standardized format to respond to UC information requests. SIDES and SIDES E-Response will reduce follow-up phone calls and streamline UC response processes.
2. What are the differences between SIDES and SIDES E-Response?
SIDES E-Response provides an easy and efficient way for employers with a small number of UC claims to respond to UC information requests.
SIDES allows TPAs and employers with a large amount of UC claims to respond to UC information requests through an automated data-exchange interface between employers’ IT systems and SIDES. It is designed for employers and TPAs that typically deal with a large volume of UC information requests. It is especially helpful to those employers and TPAs that operate in multiple states.
3. Who can use SIDES or SIDES E-Response?
SIDES E-Response is available free of charge to every employer.
SIDES is available free of charge to large employers and TPAs.
4. What kind of information is exchanged through SIDES and SIDES E-Response?
Currently, employers can use SIDES and SIDES E-Response to provide the department with information related to job separations. In the future, additional information will be exchanged with or available to employers, such as earnings verifications, nonmonetary determinations, potential monetary charges, and hearing and appeal decisions.
5. What are the benefits of using SIDES or SIDES E-Response?
SIDES and SIDES E-Response give employers and TPAs an electronic way to simplify and streamline responses to UC information requests, saving time and money by:
eliminating delays related to paper mail delivery, allowing more time to gather information and respond timely;
ensuring more complete information is provided through standard edits, validations and business rules, reducing time-consuming follow-up phone calls;
reducing paper handling, staff time and postage costs; and
improving UC contribution rates by reducing erroneous benefit payments.
6. Who developed SIDES and SIDES E-Response, and why?
SIDES and SIDES E-Response were developed through a strategic partnership between the USDOL and state UC agencies to improve the UC information exchange process, reduce instances of improper UC payments, and save employers and TPAs time and money.
7. Who administers SIDES and SIDES E-Response?
In Pennsylvania, SIDES and SIDES E-Response are administered by the PA Department of Labor & Industry (L&I).
8. What is needed in order to use SIDES and SIDES E-Response?
SIDES E-Response in Pennsylvania requires submission of the enrollment form, a working Internet connection, a SIDES employer account and an employee who will enter the needed information for the response. When the department receives the completed enrollment form, an email with further instructions will be sent to the employer email address that was provided on the enrollment form.
SIDES requires programming to connect an employer’s or TPAs internal IT system to the SIDES central broker. Please visit the SIDES website
for additional information about participating in SIDES for TPAs and large employers.
9. How much does it cost to use SIDES and SIDES E-Response?
SIDES E-Response is offered free of charge to employers.
SIDES is offered free of charge to employers and TPAs, although there will be internal IT system development costs to integrate SIDES.
10. How much does it cost to integrate an employer’s or TPAs IT system with SIDES?
Employers and TPAs will need to assess the cost of integrating their IT system with SIDES. The cost will depend on an employer’s or TPAs existing system design.
11. How secure are SIDES and SIDES E-Response?
Both SIDES and SIDES E-Response have multiple layers of security. SIDES E-Response uses secure communication protocols, and SIDES requires authentication certificates and uses encrypted records and files. The highest standard of security is important given the sensitive data exchanged between L&I and employers and TPAs.
12. What are the main causes of improper UC payments?
The two largest causes of improper UC payments are a lack of timely complete and accurate information about why a worker was separated from his or her job, and people who work while collecting UC benefits. Erroneous UC payments, which could be prevented if the UC agency receives timely and accurate information, negatively impacts an employer's tax rate.
13. Are SIDES and SIDES E-Response expected to reduce erroneous UC payments?
Yes. Both options have the potential to reduce improper UC payments by improving the UC information exchange process.
14. How does an employer or TPA determine which option is best suited for its business?
SIDES E-Response is best suited for employers with a limited number of unemployment compensation claims.
SIDES is best suited for larger employers and TPAs who need to handle many UC claims.
15. I am an employer who uses a TPA, and I want to sign up for SIDES.
If you use a large TPA that is not listed below or, has not started development of the SIDES broker application, notify your TPA to contact the SIDES team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Currently, the following TPAs are using SIDES:
ADP Unemployment Compensation Services (California)
ADP Unemployment Group (St. Louis Operations)
Thomas & Thorngren
Corporate Cost Control
If you are using a TPA that is listed above and have questions about SIDES, contact your TPAs representative for information and instructions.
16. The person who used to receive UC notifications for SIDES E-Response is no longer working for the firm, and I don’t have access to the e-mail account that the notifications are going to. What should I do?
All master administrators receive a copy of SIDES E-Response requests. You can have one master administrator. If the business no longer has a master administrator, the account would need to be disabled by the UC SIDES Systems Administrator at L&I. An owner or principal of the business can make this request by e-mailing PASIDES@pa.gov
. Once the account is disabled, you will need to create a new SIDES employer account with a new master administrator who can sign up for SIDES E-Response.
17. Can I provide Separation and Monetary responses using the SIDES E-Response website?
Currently, Pennsylvania is only requesting Separation information via the SIDES E-Response website. Expanded services, such as requesting Monetary and Earnings information, may be included by Pennsylvania at a future date.
18. Where can I find my SIDES E-Response access code (PIN)?
When a request for separation information is posted to the SIDES E-Response website, an email notification, which includes the employer’s PIN, will be sent to the employer. If multiple requests to an employer are posted to the SIDES E-Response website on the same day, the employer will receive just one notification.
19. How does an employer sign up for SIDES E-Response?
An employer must complete and submit an enrollment application
requesting participation in SIDES E-Response. The instructions for applying are provided on the SIDES E-Response enrollment application.
20. How does an employer receive SIDES E-Response notifications?
E-Response notifications will be sent electronically to the email address that the employer must provide when applying to participate in SIDES E-Response.
21. When an employer has an E-Response notification, what does the employer need to do?
The employer will log onto the E-Response website using their log in information and PIN and be presented with a request, or a list of requests, for separation information. Each request has a Response Status and a Due Date. The employer will be able to tell which responses have already been submitted and which requests are new. To provide the requested separation information, the employer clicks on Create Response, enters the requested information and submits the response. After the employer has submitted the separation information, a PDF of the E-Response is created by SIDES. The PDF can be printed or saved as an electronic file for future reference.
22. How can I submit attachments to the separation information?
Near the end of the process for entering an E-Response, the user will arrive at a screen that provides step-by-step instructions for including an attachment(s) with the E-Response. Acceptable file formats for attachments are: csv, pdf, rtf, tiff, and txt. The user can attach up to 10 attachments with an E-Response. However, the total size of all attachments to a single response is limited to a maximum of 5 MB.
23. How can I modify my response?
After a response has been submitted, it remains on the SIDES E-Response website for 30 days from the date of the request. If, within that 30-day period, there is a need to correct, or provide additional information, the user can log back onto the E-Response website, identify the claimant on the Requests page and click Create Amendment. The same series of screens will be presented. Before submitting an amended response, the user will be asked to explain why the previous response is being amended and what has changed. After the amended response is submitted, the user will be able to see both the original and the amended response. An E-Response can be amended up to nine times.