Georgia Prepares To Expedite Unemployment Insurance Claims

It was just a couple of months ago we were writing about unemployment rates at the lowest on record. As many sections of the economy are shutting down amid the Covid-19 pandemic, layoff notices are going out.

As I’m typing this, CNBC is going over the number of hotel corporations issuing massive layoff notices due to virtually non-existent demand. Almost anything related to the travel and hospitality industry has seen demand fall off a cliff. Non-grocery brick and mortar retail is not too far behind. Restaurant after restaurant are closing their dining rooms if not shutting down altogether.

People are losing their jobs. That’s what happens when there are economic shocks. While we hope this is temporary, and the ability for these sections of the economy should rebound when, not if, our activities return to normal, we have mechanisms in place to provide a first line safety net to those who lose their jobs. Specifically, that’s unemployment insurance.

Today, Governor Kemp and Department of Labor Commissioner Mark Butler have taken administrative steps to streamline the process to go from initial unemployment claim to payment. Specifically, employers laying off employees are mandated to electronically file notice of terminations, so that the state may immediately process a claim for unemployment insurance.

A press release that details the procedures, expected outcomes, and current job opportunities available is as follows:

Atlanta, GA – Today Governor Brian P. Kemp and the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) addressed an increase in the number of partial claims filed as a result of businesses reducing work hours or temporarily closing their doors in light of recent developments regarding COVID-19.

“We are laser-focused on assisting the hardworking Georgians who have been impacted by the spread of the virus,” said Governor Kemp. “Working with GDOL and our partners across the public and private sectors, we can ensure affected employees land on their feet and are made aware of other employment opportunities. Together, we will protect Georgia’s top-notch workforce as we continue to fight the spread of COVID-19.”

As of an emergency ruling yesterday by the Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler, employers are mandated to electronically file partial claims on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily lay workers off.

“We are partnering with the Governor’s office and our federal and state authorities to make sure we are able to get the citizens of Georgia paid,” said Commissioner Butler. “We are working as an agency to provide innovative solutions to meet the needs of our customers, even when information is changing every day.”

Filing partial claims results in employees receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefit payments faster, usually within forty-eight hours for claims filed electronically. Employees for whom a partial claim is filed are not required to report to a GDOL career center, register for employment services, or seek other work. All Georgia employers will share in the cost of unemployment benefits paid to employees temporarily displaced due to COVID-19.

GDOL is continuing to work with employers across Georgia to also get Georgians employed. Today, over 101,000 jobs are listed online at www.EmployGeorgia.com for Georgians to access. GDOL offers online resources for finding a job, building a resume, and many other reemployment needs.

“Our agency specializes in not only providing unemployment support for those out of work, even if temporarily, but also giving Georgians every opportunity to find work and reenter the workforce,” said Commissioner Butler.

Information on filing an unemployment claim, details on how employers must file partial claims, and resources for other reemployment assistance can be found at www.gdol.ga.gov, and Georgians may visit www.EmployGeorgia.com for access to today’s job opportunities.

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