Georgia Department of Labor Emergency Rule Requires Employers to File Partial Unemployment Claims on Behalf of Workers

Date   Mar 23, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 16, 2020, the Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) passed an emergency rule suspending all in-person requirements for those seeking services provided by the agency. As a result, employers must now file online partial benefits claims on behalf of their full and part-time employees if those employees’ hours are reduced or if there is a temporary shutdown of the employer’s operations.

On March 18, 2020, Governor Brian Kemp’s Office, in a press release, explained:

Filing partial claims results in employees receiving unemployment insurance (UI) benefit payments faster, usually within forty-eight hours for claims filed electronically. Employees for whom a partial claim is filed are not required to report to a GDOL career center, register for employment services, or seek other work.

Notably, employers that fail to file a claim on behalf of employees will be required to reimburse the DOL for the full amount of unemployment benefits paid. Accordingly, Georgia employers should become familiar with the DOL’s Employer Filing Instructions and should keep handy the Employer Filed Claims Desk Aid. Highlights from the DOL’s emergency rule include the following:

  • Employers DO NOT need to file claims for:
    • Employees on leave due to scheduled/customary vacations, plant shut downs, or plant closures;
    • Employees employed by a temporary agency;
    • Employees employed in another state in the last 18 months;
    • 1099 employees;
    • Employees voluntarily out of work (e.g., resignations, requested leaves of absence, self-quarantined, etc.); and
    • Employees permanently separated from the employer.[1]
  • Claims must be filed for each pay period. A week of partial unemployment consists of an employer’s established pay period week. Once a pay period is established, it should remain the same. There must be seven days between payment week ending dates.
  • Employers must accurately report the employee’s name, social security number (SSN) and date of birth when filing a claim.
  • The DOL will not accept claims filed prior to the week ending date. Employers must not file claims until after the week ending date on the claim.
  • Employers must report vacation pay, holiday pay, and/or earnings for the week in which it was earned – not during the week it was paid to employees.
  • Employers must report any additional income employees are receiving, except Social Security benefits, jury duty income, and pay for weekend military reserve duty.

The DOL’s Employer Filing Instructions also contain advice each employer must provide to its employees regarding benefits – including the process by which an employee may have benefits directly deposited into his/her account.

The full text of the emergency rule can be found here.

If you have any questions, please contact the author of this Alert, David Anderson,, counsel in our Atlanta office. Of course, you may also contact the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.

FordHarrison is closely monitoring the spread of Coronavirus and has implemented continuity plans, including the ability to work remotely in a technologically secure environment when necessary, to ensure continuity of our operations and uninterrupted service to our clients. We are following all CDC guidelines and state and local laws as applicable. We are committed to ensuring the health and welfare of our clients, employees, and communities while continuing to provide our clients with the highest quality service. Please see our dedicated Coronavirus Taskforce page for the latest FH Legal Alerts and webinars on Coronavirus, as well as links to governmental and industry-specific resources for employers to obtain additional information and guidance. For more information or to be connected with a Coronavirus Taskforce attorney, please contact


[1] Employers involved in a “mass separation” (i.e., when 25 or more workers employed at one establishment are separated on the same day, for the same reason, and the separation is permanent, for an indefinite period or for an expected period of 7 days or more) must otherwise comply with the DOL’s Mass Separation Notice requirements.