In the state of Georgia, there are two important messages that the state wants passed along to the employers in the state. One thing is that the state needs the best information that you have in order to provide the best possible unemployment insurance system possible in Georgia. How do I know that accurate information is important to the unemployment insurance system in the state? I’ve been in touch with state sources.
The other important message is that all Georgia employers, according to state labor laws, are required to have an unemployment insurance poster in their work sites, each and every one of them. How do I know this message is important? Well, labor law posters are an important part of the law for any employer. Don’t have the right posters in your work places, and you’re looking at getting on the wrong side of a penalty or a fine. So I guess you could say that I am just looking out for you on this one.
Getting back to the first message, though. Providing accurate and up to date info on your employees is part of the Georgia Employment Security Law and the Rules of the Georgia Department of Labor. You have to complete an Employer Status Report according to these rules, and that is to make sure that you are providing the proper unemployment insurance taxes.
The other info that they are talking about with this law is info on your employees. For instance, when your employees are laid off, fired, quit, or left on leave, it is up to you the employer to keep accurate track of why and when they left. This can simply be done by using exit interview forms, Employee Discipline Forms, absence reports, and anything else that could be used as proof that your employee left, and that they might have left for bad reasons, other than getting laid off.
The Georgia Employment Security Law is designed to protect workers who become totally or partially unemployed through no fault of their own and are either looking for another job, have a definite recall within 6 weeks of the last day worked, or are in approved training. The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. Workers do not pay any of the costs.
I read that a worker must have worked for the last year for the employer. The worker may receive benefits for 26 weeks after losing their job.
If an employee’s loss was not the result of a lack of work (i.e. layoff, business closure), a decision on the reason for separation is required. If the employee can show that they quit for good work-related reasons, they may be able to collect. Examples of good work-connected reasons are material change in working conditions, material change in working agreement, nonpayment for work, and similar reasons. An employee will not be able to draw benefits if their reason for quitting was personal even though the personal reason was a good or compelling one.
Employees must also follow other rules to be eligible for benefits. They must:
Be able to do some kind of work that is available in their area and that they are qualified to do
Be available for work without placing undue restrictions on availability, such as lack of child care, lack of transportation, or other restrictions.
Be actively seeking work each week and be looking for full-time employment.
Not refuse any offer of suitable work or referral to suitable work without good cause.
Register for work with the department’s Employment Service Division, and must respond to any notices to come in for services.
I know that employees may file a claim for benefits at any office of the Georgia Department of Labor. They can also appeal any decision of the Department within 15 days of a refusal of benefits. The benefits are taxable.
In order to comply with Georgia law, employers must post a notice of the Georgia Unemployment Insurance rights in their place of business. The Georgia Complete Labor Law poster is currently available with all the most recent labor laws.
The Georgia Vacation Notice protects an employer from false claims of unemployment, and also lets them take absenteeism and excessive time off into account when determining unemployment benefits.
I read that under Georgia law, unemployment insurance is not payable when an employee is on:
- leave of absence at their own request
- paid vacation
- unpaid vacation, up to two weeks in a calendar year if provided by employment contract, or
- by established employer custom, practice or policy
Unemployment insurance provides limited replacement wages to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
Before the vacation notice was put into effect, I know that an employee could be ineligible for unemployment benefits if they were let go for excessive absences in violation of the employer’s attendance policy. The employer merely had to have advised the employee that excessive absenteeism was grounds for termination. If the employee unjustifiably failed to notify the employer, the employee would be ineligible for benefits (even if the absences were due to illness).
The law was changed in December 2005 so that now, when the absence leading to a discharge is illness-related, an employer seeking to disqualify the offending employee from receiving unemployment benefits may be required to show that it warned the employee, in writing and in advance of any absences, that unemployment benefits may be denied because of a violation of the employer’s attendance policy.
This warning (in writing and in advance) is accomplished by posting the Vacation Notice poster in an employer’s place of business. The Georgia Complete Labor Law poster is available to reflect the vacation notification. For more information, contact the Georgia Department of Labor.