As we previously communicated to you on March 20, 2020, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) passed an Emergency Rule requiring employers to file unemployment claims on behalf of their workers impacted by the pandemic. We had limited information at that time, and have been diligently leveraging our partnership with GDOL leadership to obtain more. We have received additional guidance from the agency:
Q. If a contributory OR reimbursing employer complies with this directive, will that employer be completely relieved of any charges associated with claims that are as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency?
A. Yes. It’s important to note that this directive applies to only temporary lack of work situations.
Q. If an employer does not file temporary unemployment claims on behalf of their impacted employees, what are the consequences to that employer?
A. They could be charged the full amount of benefits paid.
Q. If a worker has already filed his/her own unemployment claim directly with the GDOL, does the employer still need to employer-file it too?
A. In order to receive non-charging, the employer must employer-file the claim – regardless of any action taken/not taken by the worker. If the worker filed a claim directly AND the employer files on their behalf, the employer’s filing will override the claimant’s filing and will provide them with non-charging.
Q. The guidance from the agency (applicable to all employers) refers to “reimbursing for the full amount of UI benefits paid to the employee.” Is that a straight dollar-for-dollar reimbursement?
Q. If the employer does not file unemployment claims on behalf of their employees, but the employer/Third-Party Administrator responds timely to a request for separation information via SIDES, will the employer still be penalized in the same way as posed in the question above?
A. Yes. The determining factor is whether partial claims are filed by the employer. If this is a permanent separation or it is unknown at this time if this is a permanent separation, claims can be filed by the employee as normal.
Q. Can my Third-Party Administrator handle uploading of employer filed claims to the GDOL website on our behalf?
A. Unfortunately, this process requires account-specific login credentials for each employer. Security protocols do not support sharing of such credentials. Furthermore, we have been advised by the agency that employer filed claims must be uploaded directly by the employer. Any claims uploaded by a Third-Party Administrator do not meet the requirements of the Rule. That being said, we strongly encourage any employer utilizing the employer-filed claim process to provide the spreadsheet to their Third-Party Administrator service team after successfully uploading the information to the GDOL portal. This will allow your service team to better manage any subsequent requests or documents that may be received from the UI agency.
Q. How often do employers need to upload employer filed claims to the GDOL system?
A. These must be uploaded each week in which the company has employees who are partially or completely separated from work due to the pandemic. Click here for a template.
Q. What if employers don’t know the return to work date?
A. In the absence of guidance by the GDOL, we suggest you determine what is best for your company. You can leave the field blank or enter a date 6 weeks out.
Q. What if an employer needs assistance with the transfer of the administrator role to a different associate?
A. Employers in need of access assistance should complete the GDOL Admin Change 52819 form and submit it to the GDOL pursuant to the instructions.
Q. Where do employers go for more information about this process?
Employers who wish to provide feedback related to the employer filed claims procedure should contact Mark Butler, GDOL Commissioner. This link will take you to the GDOL’s “Email the Commissioner” page. https://dol.georgia.gov/email-commissioner