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August 20, 2020

Georgia emergency rule exempts employers from requirement to file partial UI benefit claims for part-time employees

The Georgia Department of Labor recently issued emergency rules that remove the requirement that employers file partial unemployment insurance (UI) benefit claims on behalf of part-time employees laid off due to COVID-19. Employers continue to be required to file these claims for full-time employees. Under the partial-benefit claim process, the employer, not the employee, files for UI benefits.

The revised rules are in effect for 120 days from the July 17, 2020 effective date.

As we previously reported, (see Tax Alert 2020-0895), employers will not be charged with state UI benefits attributable to COVID-19, provided the employer, not the full-time worker, files for partial UI benefit claims on worker's behalf. UI benefits attributable to claims filed by full-time workers will be charged to the employer's account.

Revised Rule Section 300-2-4-.09 now states:

(d) For partial claim weeks beginning on or after July 19, 2020:

  • All partial claims shall be filed online.
  • An employer shall file partial claims with respect to any week during which a full-time employee's hours and pay are reduced below the level of Full-time Continuous Employment, defined in Rule 300-2-1-.01(9)(d), due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • An employer shall be permitted, but not required, to file partial claims with respect to any week during which a part-time employee's hours and pay are substantially reduced due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Part-time employment is defined in Rule 300-2-1-.01(9)(g).
  • An employer shall not be required to file partial claims for an employee with respect to any week in which the employer offered to restore the employee's hours and pay to the preCOVID-19 impacted level.
  • Any employer found to be in violation of this subparagraph shall pay to the Commissioner for the unemployment fund the full amount of benefits paid to the employee.

Employers must continue to file these UI claims for full-time employees each week, certifying that workers continue to be eligible for UI benefits and reporting any wages the employee has earned for the week. Employees must be expected to return to work when the COVID-19 emergency ends.

Not only will non-employer filed COVID-19 UI benefits for full-time employees be charged to employer accounts, employers will be required to reimburse the Department for the full amount of the UI benefits paid to employees.

State's UI trust fund balance continues to drop

The Department reports that as of August 11, 2020, the state's UI trust fund balance was $385,365,324, down from the March 24, 2020 balance of $2,547,476,454. Since March 21, $12.3 billion has been paid to eligible Georgians in UI benefits. From week ending March 24, 2020 through August 8, 2020, 3,430,394 regular UI initial claims have been processed, more than the last eight years combined (3.3 million). Of these claims processed, 1,501,501 were identified as valid claims.

Previous emergency rule change expanded UI benefit eligibility

As we previously reported (see Tax Alert 2020-1254 ), the Department issued emergency rules that expand the unemployment insurance (UI) benefit program to allow workers as they return to work to earn up to $300 in wages per week (up from $50 per week) without causing a reduction in their weekly UI benefit amount. It also allows workers to collect the additional $600 in federal pandemic unemployment compensation under the federal CARES Act. Any amount earned over $300 will be deducted from a claimant's weekly benefit amount.

In addition, the emergency rules temporarily expand the maximum number of weeks a worker may collect regular UI benefits in a benefit year to 26 weeks, up from 14 weeks. This temporarily replaces the previous maximum that could vary from 14 to 20 weeks under the method of determining the maximum based on seasonal adjusted unemployment rates.

See the Department's COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for employers for instructions on how to file partial UI benefit claims and go here for more information (note that these sites have not been updated to reflect the emergency rule changes regarding part-time employees).

Ernst & Young LLP insights

Employers should carefully review their benefit charge statements to ensure that they are not being erroneously charged for COVID-19 UI benefits. Note that the Employer Portal shows a notice that states the following:

Employer benefit charge notices mailed July 24, 2020 contained erroneous charges. The notices will be corrected and released the week of August 2, 2020. Employers who are not charged for benefits paid will not receive another notice.


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Workforce Tax Services - Employment Tax Advisory Services
   • Debera Salam (
   • Kristie Lowery (
   • Kenneth Hausser (
   • Peter Berard (


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