September 28, 2020

Volume X, Number 272

September 28, 2020

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September 25, 2020

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Georgia Department of Labor Issues Emergency Rule Requiring Employers to File Claims for Employees Affected By COVID-19

On March 16, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the state of emergency proclaimed by federal and state governments, the Georgia Department of Labor issued a new Emergency Rule. This new Rule shifts the burden of filing claims for unemployment compensation from employees to employers. Specifically, starting after the week of March 15, 2020, employers must file partial unemployment claims online for any week during which an employee works less than full time due to a partial or total company shutdown resulting from COVID-19. According to the Georgia Department of Labor and guidance provided by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, the mandate requiring that employers file partial claims for all employees whose employment is affected by COVID-19 – either because of reduced hours or a temporary shutdown of business – will streamline the process and result in employees receiving benefits more quickly.  Under this Emergency Rule, if an employer fails to file a claim, the employer will be required to reimburse the Commissioner the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee.

Importantly, although the scope of the claim-filing requirement is not entirely clear from the rule itself, the Department of Labor has taken the position that it applies to all employees for whom the employer pays unemployment benefits. This means that employers who lay off employees, furlough employees, reduce employee hours (whether the employee is full or part time), or temporarily shut down operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, must file unemployment claims online on behalf of their employees. This requirement will apply until further notice from the Department of Labor. See more information regarding this Emergency Rule and how to file unemployment claims contemplated by the Emergency Rule.

In addition, the Emergency Rule waives all work search requirements until Governor Brian Kemp lifts the state of emergency or until July 14, 2020, whichever is earlier. Employees for whom a partial claim is filed are not required to report to a career center, register for employment services, or seek other work.

©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 80


About this Author

Natasha Wilson, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Atlanta, Labor and Employment Law Attorney

Natasha L. Wilson is Co-Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s Complex Employment Litigation & Trials group and Co-Chair of the Atlanta Labor & Employment Practice. She focuses her practice on labor and employment law, and devotes her legal practice to representing management in all aspects of employment law, from prevention and compliance issues to arbitration and litigation. She has litigated a wide variety of employment issues on the federal, state and local levels before courts and administrative agencies. Natasha works closely with her clients...

Joshua Joel Employment Attorney

Joshua Joel focuses his practice on the representation of employers on matters related to discrimination, wage and hour, Family Medical Leave Act, OSHA investigations, negligent hiring and retention, and directors and officers liability. He manages pre-suit settlement negotiations, mediation, discovery, depositions, and pre-trial preparation. Joshua’s experience includes serving as a staff attorney for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the defense of employers in EEOC and OSHA administrative proceedings, as well as litigation in state and federal court.