CBS47 INVESTIGATES: Employees who answer EDD phone lines say their job is ‘unproductive’

CBS47 Investigates

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Employees contracted by the EDD are speaking out against what they are calling an unproductive workflow.

They work for a company that answers phone calls for the EDD regarding tax forms.

They tell us they are only able to help about one out of every ten people they speak to.

Their stories could explain why so many are struggling to get answers regarding their unemployment claims.

These contractors do not want to go on camera out of fear their jobs could be in jeopardy for coming forward.

They are speaking out about the inefficiencies within the EDD call center and telling us they only help about 10% of the people who call them at a time when help is needed for more than one million Californians with unemployment claims stuck in the system.

“EDD is incapable of doing what they’re supposed to do,” one of the contractors said.

These are strong allegations by contractors who answer phones for the Employment Development Department.

“Calling it an issue is an understatement.”

According to these contractors, they only help callers with one thing and that is obtaining their 1099G tax forms.

“We keep stressing to them we want to help you, but we are only solely allowed and have access to your information to help with this one thing.”

Any other problems, they say protocol is to pass them off to another department.

“We just heard too many people get hung up on, nobody calls them back after waiting three hours on the phone, it’s just not right.”

Three hours is on the short end.

These screenshots sent in to CBS47 show 4, 5, 8 hours on the line with the EDD.

Yet for those calling into the 1099G department, their wait time is much shorter.

“There’s a one-minute hold time in our department because there’s so many of us.”

They tell us out of every 10 callers, they are only able to help an average of one.

The other nine, asking for help with claims, are transferred back to an automated message

“Then it’s another Russian Roulette of am I going to get disconnected.”

And if you are disconnected, you start over.

“They don’t allow us to make call backs and that’s the real kicker.”

“If they gave us a little bit more training, we could be incredibly useful. There are a lot of good people with good skill sets on it that could do a lot, but we sit there for hours on end getting calls that we just transfer off.”

They openly admit their job position is ineffective.

“I wouldn’t say we’re efficient or productive at all.”

They have good jobs.

They work full time and get paid $17/hour to work from home.

“This has been a blessing to me to be able to make so much money doing nothing, but at the same time what about those people, I feel guilty even making this money to do nothing.”

The contractors tell us they do want to help.

They asked management for more training.

“Management tells us ‘let’s focus on what we can do instead of what we can’t do.’”

“We signed up to be customer service, to help people. Period.”

“Before this job, I was on unemployment. Before I got this job, I was in the system, on unemployment.”

So this employee relates to her callers.

“I was so excited, I could be in a position to keep people from being as frustrated as I was, I can answer questions. But that’s not what’s happening.”

People like Angie, Keith, Rosie, Linda, Veronica, Anthony, Ramona, and dozens more, write CBS47 On Your Side with no where to go with EDD troubles.

Words like “I have kids and no money” “All I do is sit and worry and cry” “I now live out of my car” scream through the screen for attention to their claims.

Screenshots of their accounts show they are eligible for thousands.

But payments are pending, pending, and pending.

“They have failed miserably.”

Similar words have been spoken by Assemblyman Jim Patterson over and over again.

“How often do we have to discover failure after failure?” Patterson said. “The California state EDD is a rat’s nest of incompetence.”

The contractors tell us local law makers are their only hope in seeing reform in the EDD system.

“Your local congressional representative in your district, may actually be able to help you. More than what the EDD can. They’re actually doing the EDD’s job.”

We reached out to the EDD for comment on the story.

They wrote back saying they received our inquiry and they will get back to us, but as of today, we haven’t heard back.

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