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GA Dept of Labor: Only Ten Percent of UI Initial Claims Due to Layoffs

Last week, regular UI initial claims totaled 19,761, down 988 over the previous week, the lowest number of weekly claims in 2021. However, a recent GDOL report announced only ten percent of individual claims filed are reported as layoffs and thus must undergo a manual review to determine eligibility, slowing down the process.

Initial claims are defined as any notice of unemployment filed to request a determination of entitlement to or eligibility for unemployment insurance compensation or to begin a second or subsequent period of eligibility within a benefit year. Initial claim numbers are not a direct correlation to layoffs. If the separation reasons provided by the employee or the employer report a quit or a discharge from the place of employment, the reason must be researched and adjudicated, as required by federal law. Although a claimant may potentially be eligible for UI benefits if they quit a job or are fired from a job, these circumstances do not normally lead to eligibility.

“Claims filed due to layoffs are determined quickly and payments can be released without delay,” said Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler. “However, we are not seeing many simple layoff claims at this time and we must review each claim thouroughly to ensure a claimant is eligible for payments, protecting the employer from wrongful claims and avoiding a potential overpayment for the claimant.”

According to the report, in April of 2020 at the height of the pandemic, 372,242 individual initial claims were filed and 49 percent of those filed were due to employers lacking work for the employee and laying off staff. In January 2021, these claims represented a quarter of UI claims filed. In March, the number dropped to twenty percent. Only 10 percent of this May’s 74,783 individual UI claims were reported as layoffs.

The Georgia Department of Labor recently ended the state’s participation in the federal unemployment insurance (UI) programs enacted through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act. The last payable week for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) was week ending June 26, 2021.

Claimants who reside in the state of Georgia must register with EmployGeorgia, the state’s reemployment website, and include his/her social security number during registration. Individuals are asked to create a resume or upload a searchable resume to the site. Claimants receiving regular state UI benefits are required to be able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work for each week benefit payments are requested.

More information on work search can be found on the GDOL website and work search can be submitted at Weekly Work Search.  It is recommended claimants submit work search information immediately upon completing their weekly request for payment. For more information about unemployment insurance requirements and how to meet them, claimants can reference the Unemployment Insurance Claimant Handbook online at dol.georgia.gov.

Today, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) announced it has processed 4,958,975 regular UI initial claims since March 21, 2020, more than the last 10 years prior to the pandemic combined (4.8 million).

As of today, over 203,000 jobs are listed on EmployGeorgia for Georgians to access.  EmployGeorgia uses artificial intelligence to match an individual’s skills to potential jobs. Claimants receive access to job listings, support to upload up to five searchable resumes, job search assistance, career counseling, skills testing, job fair information, job training services, and accessibility and special accommodations for people with disabilities and veterans transitioning back into the workplace. Video tutorials on how to register and utilize EmployGeorgia are available at https://employgeorgia.com//.

The GDOL has paid over $22.8 billion in state and federal benefits in the past sixty-eight weeks.  Last week, the GDOL issued $150 million in benefits, which included regular unemployment and federally funded Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) supplements, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), and State Extended Benefits.

Resources for reemployment assistance along with Information on filing an unemployment claim and details on how employers can file partial claims can be found on the agency’s webpage at dol.georgia.gov.

For more information on jobs and current labor force data, visit the Georgia Labor Force Market Explorer at www.explorer.gdol.ga.gov to view a comprehensive report.

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