Georgia employers not charged for partial UI benefits related to COVID-19 partial claims

The Georgia Department of Labor announced this week that employers who file partial claims of unemployment insurance on behalf of employees as a result of COVID-19 will not be charged for those partial UI benefits if certain conditions are met.

The GaDOL updated its guidance to state that employers will not be charged for partial claims they file for any employee – whether full-time or part-time – whose hours are reduced as a result of a partial or total company shutdown caused by coronavirus public health emergency. Employees must be expected to return to work when the health crisis ends.

Two things are important to note in order to not be charged for the partial UI benefits:

  1. The partial UI claims must be submitted online; and
  2. The employer must be the one to file the claim – not the employee.

The purpose of these two provisions is to ensure that the benefits make it to the employee as quickly as possible. Online filing of claims is more efficient. Furthermore, when individuals file claims, the GaDOL has to go through the process of determining that the employee is not working due to no fault of their own. When employers file the partial claims, the employer is affirming this fact at the outset.

Again, these provisions apply only for those circumstances in which the employer is forced to reduce hours for employees due to the COVID-19 outbreak. If an employee voluntarily chooses not to come to work out of concern for the virus, that employee must file their own claims. If, on the other hand, you directed an employee who has COVID-19 or has been exposed to the virus in some way not to return to work, you may file that claim on their behalf.

Just as employers will not be charged for partial UI benefits under these circumstances, neither will partial claims filed by the employer affect their tax rate. Again, the key is that the claims are filed by the employer.

Do not submit claims for employees who:

  • Are on scheduled/customary vacation
  • Employed by a temporary agency and are currently working at your place of business
  • Were employed in another state in the last 18 months
  • Were employed with the federal government or on active military service in the last 18 months.
  • Are 1099 employees. are voluntarily out of work, e.g., quits, requested leaves of absence, self-quarantined, etc.; or
  • Have been permanently separated from your company.

This communication is intended to provide general information on legislative COVID-19 relief measures as of the date of this communication and may reference information from reputable sources. Although our firm has made every reasonable effort to ensure that the information provided is accurate, we make no warranties, expressed or implied, on the information provided. As legislative efforts are still ongoing, we expect that there may be additional guidance and clarification from regulators that may modify some of the provisions in this communication. Some of those modifications may be significant. As such, be aware that this is not a comprehensive analysis of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide specific recommendations to you or your business with respect to the matters addressed.