House Bill 373 UI Law Changes

House Bill (HB) 373 was signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp on May 11, 2019, changing certain provisions of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated (O.C.G.A.) Title 34, Chapter 8. The following law changes are effective July 1, 2019.

Benefit Year

Initial Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims filed on or after July 1, 2019 will have a benefit year of 52 weeks, starting the Sunday of the week the claim is filed. The benefit year will end the Saturday of the 52nd week from the benefit year beginning date. If the claim is filed on Sunday, the benefit year will begin the date the claim is filed.

These rules apply on regular UI claims, interstate claims where Georgia is the paying state, and partial claims. The first week ending date for which an employer requests benefits will determine the benefit year beginning date of partial claims. 

Weekly Benefit Amount

Effective July 1, 2019, the minimum weekly benefit amount (WBA) will increase from $44 to $55. The maximum WBA will increase from $330 to $365.

As a result of this increase in the maximum weekly benefit amount, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has updated the Employer Separation Notice, DOL-800, and employer separation questionnaires to request confirmation of whether a minimum of $7,300 was paid to an employee. This information is needed by the Department when determining a claimant’s potential maximum unemployment benefit amount and the employer’s chargeability.

Fraud Penalty Period

Any person who knowingly makes a false statement or misrepresentation as to a material fact or fails to disclose a material fact to obtain or increase benefits either for himself/herself or for any other person, or accepts benefits to which he/she is not entitled shall forfeit all unpaid benefits, beginning the date on which the fraud overpayment is established through the remainder of that quarter plus the next four completed calendar quarters. The fraud period shall end on the last Saturday of the fourth completed calendar quarter.

Discharges Due to Attendance

Employers are no longer required to advise workers in writing that their unemployment benefits may be denied due to violation of the attendance policy.