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Department of Labor

UI Information Sharing FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What information is available?

A: Wage Record (WR) information, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) information. A detailed data dictionary can be found on the New York State Department of Labor's (NYSDOL) website at http://www.labor.ny.gov/data-sharing/UI Data Sharing Elements.pdf.


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Q: Who can request the data?

A: Any Federal, State or Local governmental agency, including SUNY and CUNY, or their agents or contractors, may request data.  See Question No. 4 below regarding the application process.


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Q: What can the information be used for?

A: Governmental agencies (or their agents or contractors) may use the information for the purposes outlined below:

  • Evaluation of program performance including, but not limited to, longitudinal outcome analysis to the extent permitted by federal law
  • Financial or other analysis required by federal, state, or local law or regulation
  • Preparation of reports required by federal, state, or local law or regulation
  • Operation of public programs by federal, state or local governmental agencies or their agents, contractors and subcontractors for the purpose of improving the quality or delivery or program services or to create operational efficiencies
  • Establishment of a common case management system between federal, state or local agencies delivering or supporting workforce services for a shared customer base for the purpose of fostering workforce partnerships, program coordination, inter-agency collaboration, improving program services, or creating operational efficiencies.

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Q: How do I get access to the information?

A: Requests for data should be submitted using the standard application available on NYSDOL's website at
https://www.labor.ny.gov/data-sharing/NYSDOL Standard Application.docx. This application requires:

  • The purpose for which data are being requested
  • Identification of all parties who may receive the information
  • How long the data will be needed/retained
  • If the data will be merged with other data, and
  • Confidentiality safeguards
Applications may be supplemented as needed with additional information (e.g., regarding the particular purpose for which the data is being requested). If approved, the Application will assist NYDOL to develop the necessary data sharing agreement (see below). Applications may be emailed to NYSDOL at [email protected]. Applications may also be mailed or faxed to the address or fax number available on NYSDOL's website at www.labor.ny.gov/data-sharing/.

NYSDOL will review the application within 20 business days:

  • Agencies have 20 business days to provide additional information, if requested
  • NYSDOL provides approval or denial within 30 calendar days of receipt of additional information
If the Application is approved, NYSDOL will prepare a data sharing agreement:

  • Between NYSDOL and other NYS state agencies, the agreement will be developed as an inter-agency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU
  • Between NYSDOL and non-state governmental agencies such as local governments, the agreement will be developed as a State contract.
The time to develop the data sharing agreement may vary depending on the complexity of the request and how quickly the signed agreement is returned to NYSDOL. For disclosures of data to an agent or contractor of a governmental agency, the agreement will be between NYSDOL and both the agent or contractor and the governmental agency. The governmental agency will be responsible for ensuring that its agent or contractor complies with applicable confidentiality requirements.


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Q: What are the costs?

A: NYSDOL cannot use federal funds to pay for the costs of disclosing UI and WR information for non-UI purposes. The cost to disclose UI and/or WR data includes, but is not limited to:

  • The cost to handle and review the application
  • The cost to develop and process the required data sharing agreement or MOU
  • The cost to produce the data, including initial start-up costs, such as any computer programming necessary to respond to the request
  • Ongoing costs, if data is being provided on an ongoing basis
  • NYSDOL costs to review and inspect the safeguards and procedures for protecting the confidentiality of data disclosed (e.g., confidentiality compliance review, audit, or on-site inspection/monitoring visit)
There will be a onetime cost of $1,000.00 to set up each agreement. This cost covers review of the application and the development of the Memorandum of Understanding or State contract. This cost also covers the initial review of the Self Assessment Questionnaire, which applicants are required to complete on an annual basis to determine compliance with confidentiality safeguards and controls. In addition to the initial fee, the cost to produce the data will be charged at an hourly rate and will vary according to the complexity of the request. We expect the hourly fee (salary and fringe) to be $80 to $100/hr., depending on the skill sets required to complete the request. The number of hours it takes to provide the information is dependent upon the complexity of the request. However, simple requests for individual level data should take fewer than five hours to complete each time a data set is generated. Any on-site audits or inspection visits will result in additional expenses.

Where the data recipient is a public agency, NYSDOL will invoice after each disclosure, and payment will be due at that time.


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Q: Will a full list of data elements be made available?

A: Yes, a list is posted on our website at http://labor.ny.gov/data-sharing/UI Data Sharing Elements.pdf.
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Q: What type of information is available?

A: Individual data (data that may disclose identifying information about specific individuals or employers). Individual data may be used by government agencies (or their agents or contractors) for the authorized purposes outlined in Question No. 3 above.

If your request does not fall within an exception to the non-disclosure of identifiable data, NYSDOL may be able to provide you with de-identified or aggregate data.

De-identified data is individual information data stripped of identifiers, such as name or Social Security number, or any other information that could result in a record becoming individually identifiable. De-identified UI and WR data must not be combined or grouped into data cells containing information about fewer than 10 individuals. In the case of employer information (QCEW), cells can contain information about no fewer than three employers and no single employer can make up more than 80% of the data set. With de-identified individual UI or WR data requests, a Social Security number is required by NYSDOL to do the match.

Aggregate data is data produced in aggregated data cells, which cannot identify specific individuals or employers.

NYSDOL's aggregation parameters are:

  • As to Employers: the data set must consist of a minimum of three employers with no one employer making up more than eighty percent (80%) of the total.
  • As to Individuals, the data set must consist of 10 or more individual unemployment insurance or wage records.
The disclosure of de-identified or aggregated data may also be subject to a data sharing agreement and the payment of costs. Since this data is not individually identifiable, the data recipient will not need to comply with the safeguards and security requirements that would otherwise be applicable to the disclosure of individually identifiable UI and/or WR data. In addition, the data recipient will not need to complete an annual Self Assessment form or be subject to on-site confidentiality compliance monitoring.


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Q: What are adequate safeguards and procedures to protect the confidentiality of the data?

A: The safeguards to protect the confidentiality of the data will be specified in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or State contract and are consistent with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publications 800-53, Recommended Security Controls for Federal Information Systems and Organizations. In addition to technical, operational and management controls commensurate with the confidentiality of the data, NYSDOL will also require the following:

All individuals with access to the confidential data must annually sign a non-disclosure agreement, and these individuals must receive instruction, as required by federal law, regarding the confidentiality requirements of state and federal law, the safeguards and security requirements applicable to this data, and the sanctions specified in state law for unauthorized disclosure of such data. This instruction is accomplished through the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Confidentiality Training developed by NYSDOL.

The data requestor must permit NYSDOL and/or USDOL and/or their designee(s) to conduct on-site compliance monitoring of their safeguards and procedures for protecting the confidentiality and limiting the dissemination of confidential data.

The data requestor must complete an annual Self-Assessment report developed by NYSDOL in order to monitor compliance with the terms of the MOU or State contract.


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Q: What type of file formats will be used and how will the data be transferred?

A: The data will be provided in CSV (Comma Separated Values) format. The secure file transfer of the confidential data is required to be encrypted in transit and at rest (PGP) and transferred via a secure file transfer (SFTP) or HTTPS.


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Q: What is the required confidentiality training?

A: The required confidentiality training discusses the legal requirements to protect information from the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, the consequences for disclosing confidential UI information and basic safeguards for protecting the information. An FAQ, outlining how to access the training and establish a user account can be found at NYSDOL's website at http://labor.ny.gov/data-sharing/UI-confidentiality-FAQ.pdf.


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Q: What is the required annual self assessment?

A: The data requestor will complete an annual Self-Assessment report developed by NYSDOL in order to monitor compliance with the terms of the MOU or State contract, including the obligation to safeguard and maintain the confidentiality of the data disclosed by NYSDOL under the MOU or State contract. The data requestor shall submit this completed self assessment, no later than June 30th during each year that the agreement is in effect.


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Q: How long can an agreement last for?

A: Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) are limited to no more than 10 years by statute (Labor Law Section 537(3)(g)(ii)(10)). Data Sharing Agreements (State contracts) are limited to no more than five years by the Office of the State Comptroller (beyond NYSDOL control). The length of the MOU/Agreement will be driven by the initial discussion on the intended use of the data. Entities may opt for a shorter duration, while others might prefer a longer duration.


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