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Q&A with Mark Butler, Commissioner of Labor​

As our lives and economy begin to inch back to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering how your company and employees could be impacted. Whether you’ve been experiencing employment issues, or are anticipating future struggles, The Partnership is here to help. Our CEO, Amanda Lucey, interviewed Commissioner Mark Butler of the Georgia Department of Labor to answer labor questions relating to small businesses. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

If your employer received funding through the PPP, he/she must use 75% of that money toward employee salaries. However, they are not required to pay the full salary amount to all employees.

The government has frozen all taxes that employers would typically pay for those receiving unemployment.

Currently, the state of Georgia, has a seamless process for individuals seeking unemployment compensation. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must file a claim with the state. The agency will then review your application and make an eligibility determination. However, an unprecedented number of people are currently filing claims, which is why the turnaround time is not ideal.

Regardless of weekly wages, employers are required to file partial claims on behalf of their employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily reduce work hours or there is no work available for a short period. 

If a worker refuses to return to work because they want to continue to collect state and federal unemployment benefits, then they are no longer eligible for the supplemental federal benefits. 

The timeframe to receive benefits is 14-20 weeks, depending on the state unemployment rate.

Just as with single claims, currently, the state of Georgia, has a seamless process for individuals seeking unemployment compensation. 

To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must file a claim with the state. The agency will then review your application and make an eligibility determination. However, an unprecedented number of people are currently filing claims, which is why the turnaround time is not ideal.

Yes, employers can file partial claims for employees after the PPP runs out.

The PPP, Payroll Protection Plan, is funding providing by the federal government to help employers make payroll for eight weeks. 

If the funds are used for anything other than payroll, rent and utilities, the employer must pay back the funds. UI, Unemployment Insurance, is money provided by the state government and does not have to be paid back.

Employers can only file partial unemployment for full-time employees who work less than full-time during a pay period due to lack of work only. The employees must still be attached to the employer and must have earned wages that do not exceed the weekly benefit amount plus $50.00. For full employment for losing a job, the employee must file him or herself.

A person who is working as a 1099 is not considered an employee; he/she is considered a contractor and is not eligible for unemployment. 

A person who is working as a 1099 is not considered and employee; he/she is considered a contractor and is not eligible for unemployment.

 Any individual that is a W2 employee is eligible for unemployment. 

Your weekly benefit amount is calculated by combining your wages from the two highest quarters in your base period and dividing that number by 42. Your weekly benefit amount is subject to a weekly minimum of $55 and a maximum of $365.

 A furloughed employee may also take unemployment benefits for their time without pay. In addition, furloughed workers who receive back pay for their time away from work will typically have to pay back any unemployment benefits they collected.

Partial unemployment insurance claims may be filed by employers for full-time employees who work less than full-time during a pay period due to lack of work only. Partial Claims should not be filed when an employee is not able and available to accept all work offered by the employer.

 Partial unemployment was available prior to COVID-19 and will continue to be available.

If there is no work available for those two employees, they can receive unemployment; however, age is not a determining factor.

If CDC approved safety measures are in place and an employee elects not to return to work, he or she is forfeiting the position.

The employee would need to provide documentation from a health care provider. 

Yes. If a caregiver is responsible for a child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID–19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work, that person is eligible for partial unemployment.

Yes. If an individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID–19, the employee is eligible for partial unemployment.

Canceling the claim is as simple as requesting that payments stop. You also can contact the state unemployment division to cancel your claim. If you don't cancel your claim, you might receive benefit over-payments that the state will force you to pay back, as well as a prosecution for unemployment compensation fraud.

The partial unemployment benefits would cease, and the employee would have to apply for unemployment him or herself.

Questions & Answers:

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Your Hosts:

Amanda Lucey, CEO & Owner, The Partnership

Amanda Lucey, CEO and owner of The Partnership, is a seasoned media professional and serves as a spokesperson for brands and partners. Amanda has been a communications leader, providing strategic public relations, branding and corporate communications for clients and companies across the country for over 20 years. Her background includes the management of all marketing and communications efforts and was responsible for issues and crisis management, media training and developing marketing strategies.

Mark Butler, Georgia Commissioner of Labor

Mark Butler became Georgia’s ninth Commissioner of Labor on January 10, 2011. As the first Republican to head the Georgia Department of Labor, Commissioner Butler has committed to reshaping the operations of a labor department. Commissioner Butler has been leading efforts surrounding Georgia’s response to the record number of unemployment claims that have been placed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.