Unemployment Guidelines During the Pandemic
Georgia Department of Labor Employer Update
As many Georgia business owners know first hand, the state and federal guidelines for unemployment benefits and payroll assistance have been overwhelming, complex and very frustrating.
On April 13, 2020, the Georgia Department of Labor issued the following guidance, which we hope will take some of the confusion out of the state of Georgia employer-filed (Partial) claims and the CARES Act:
Employer Filed (Partial) Claims: All Georgia employers are required to file partial claims online on behalf of their full-time and part-time employees who are temporarily laid off or working reduced hours due to COVID-19. Employers filing for this reason will not be charged for benefits paid to individuals who are temporarily unemployed because of COVID-19. Employers can file via the Employer Portal on the GDOL website at dol.georgia.gov by using Single Entry or Multi-claim Upload (uploading an Excel spreadsheet). Employers may submit consecutive weeks of low or no earnings in excess of six weeks until further notice.
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act
The Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) is updating its current systems to distribute federal unemployment funds as part of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) bringing additional economic relief to many Georgians.
For those individuals currently receiving state unemployment benefits, the GDOL started delivering the additional $600 weekly supplement from the federal stimulus bill the week of April 13, 2020. This includes many employees that have been temporarily laid off or had their hours reduced due to COVID-19 and, as part of the federal stimulus package, will not be charged back to employers.
This supplement will be an additional payment to regular weekly state unemployment benefits and will include all eligible weeks beginning with the week ending 4/4/2020. The supplement amount is contingent upon any deductions required by the state or federal government. Since employers are filing employer-filed (partial) claims on behalf of these employees, those benefits will stop when these employees return to work.
Tips for Filing Successfully
- You must file your claims each week for benefits to be paid to your employees. Your employees do not request their weekly payments. Do not file subsequent claims less than 7 days after the week ending date (WED) of the previous week’s claims. Claims submitted for a WED that is less than 7 days after the previous week’s WED will not be paid.
- You must use the GDOL Excel template for multi-claim upload. Do NOT alter the template.
- You cannot submit claims for a future WED. The earliest you can file is the 8th day after the previous WED.
- Verify employees’ earnings for other employment and report combined gross earnings for each WED submitted, if applicable. Failure to do so could result in an overpayment.
- Enter the employees’ names as First Name Last Name. The first name must be entered first to match their GDOL wage record.
- Try to limit the Mailing Street Address to 25 characters. Do not use periods when abbreviating. Use # instead of “Apt.”
- If you answer “Yes” to the question “Did the employee earn at least $7,300 in your employ?”, do NOT enter an amount in Question 15 on Single Entry or Column R on the Excel spreadsheet.
- If you answer “No” to the question “Did the employee earn at least $7,300 in your employ?” enter the amount as four (4) characters, disregarding cents.
- Enter the employee’s gross weekly earnings in Question 16 on Single Entry or Column S on the Excel spreadsheet as five (5) characters with the last two (2) characters representing cents. Example: earnings are $125.75, enter as 12575. If the employee earned $1,000 or more during the week, enter 99999 ($999.99).
- Report all gross earnings, including any earned from another employer. Earnings over $50 will be deducted dollar for dollar from your employee’s benefit payment for weeks ending on or before March 28, 2020. Earnings over $300 will be deducted from the benefit payment for weeks ending April 4, 2020 or later.
- if you make an error on a claim, resubmit the claim for the individual as soon as possible with the corrected information.
What to Tell Your Employees
- Email the link to the COVID-19 Individual FAQs to your employees and review it yourself to help answer their questions.
- When you file the first week of claims, they will receive a Georgia Way2Go Debit MasterCard® within 7-10 days loaded with their first payment, unless they have direct deposit information on file with GDOL from a previous claim within the last 18 months.
- After the first week of claims, they can expect payment within 24-48 hours of you submitting their weekly claims.
- Do NOT tell your employees to claim their weekly benefits with GDOL. You are claiming their weekly benefits for them by filing each week.
- They can create a PIN online using UI Benefit Payment Methods after their claim is processed by GDOL.
- They can check the status of their claim and payments using My UI (Check My UI Claim Status). Their PIN is required.
- They can enroll in direct deposit using Benefit Payment Methods.
- They cannot enroll in direct deposit until AFTER the first claim is processed by GDOL.
- They can reset their PINs using Reset Your PIN
- They are exempt from work search requirements.
SIDES E-Response: SIDES E-Response is for providing separation information on claims filed by your employees only. You cannot file employer filed (partial) claims using SIDES E-Response. You are strongly encouraged to register for SIDES E-Response on the GDOL website to get immediate notification of claims filed by individuals. SIDES E-Response is a fast, secure, and standardized way to respond to requests for separation, especially if you are managing a high volume of claims and/or requests for multiple states.
SIDES E-Response gives you an easy, efficient way to provide separation information, saving time and money by:
- eliminating mail delivery.
- ensuring complete information is provided the first time.
- reducing the need for phone calls.
- reducing paper handling, staff time, and postage costs.
The Oberman Law Firm handles a wide range of legal matters for the business profession including, LLC & Professional Corporation Formation, Business Sales & Acquisitions, Partnership Agreements, Real Estate and Lease Agreements, Wills, Trusts, & Estate Planning, Employment Law, Non-Compete Agreements, Risk Management, OSHA Compliance. Founder Stuart J. Oberman, Esq., is a former GABB affiliate member.