COVID-19 Employer FAQs
Last updated 04/28/20
Why do I have to file an employer filed (partial) claims online during the COVID-19 public health crisis period? Why can’t my employees file for themselves?
Filing employer filed (partial) claims online is the fastest way for your employees to receive unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. When individuals file claims, the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) has to determine that they are temporarily working reduced hours or not working due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. When employers file employer filed (partial) claims online, the employer is affirming the employee is either temporarily working reduced hours or not working due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, expects the individual to return to work and benefits can be paid immediately
It is important for you to know that an emergency GDOL Employment Security Law Rule 300-2-4-0.5 Partial Claims was re-adopted on March 19, 2020 mandating employers to file partial claims online on behalf of their full and part-time employees who work less than full-time due to a temporary partial or total company shutdown caused by the COVID-19 emergency. Employers who refuse to file partial claims are in violation of the rule and will be required to reimburse GDOL for the full amount of benefits paid to their employees.
Which employees can I file for?
You may submit employer filed (partial) claims online for full and part-time employees who are temporarily laid off or whose hours have been temporarily reduced because of a lack of work due to COVID-19. Employees must be expected to return to work when the COVID-19 emergency ends. They must also be United States (U.S.) citizens or non-citizens who are authorized to work in the U.S.
Do NOT submit claims for employees who:
- employed by a temporary agency and are currently working at your place of business
- were employed in another state in the last 18 months
- were employed with the federal government or on active military service in the last 18 months
- are 1099 employees/independent contractors
- are voluntarily out of work, e.g., quits, requested leaves of absence, self-quarantined, etc.
- have been permanently separated from your company and are not expected to return to work when the COVID-19 emergency ends. (These employees must file their own claims)
How do I file?
File on the GDOL website using the Employer Portal. You must be a registered user on the Employer Portal with administrator or user privileges permitting you to submit partial claims. If your company is not registered on the Employer Portal, you must first establish an administrator account. Download th Administrator Guide on the Employer Portal login page and follow the step-by-step instructions. If a third-party service provider is the administrator on your account, ask them to add you as a user and give you the ability to file partial claims. If you are already a registered user on the portal, but are not currently permitted to file partial claims, contact your Employer Portal administrator for assistance.
Follow these steps to file partial claims on the Employer Portal:
- Log into the Employer Portal.
- Select the employer account number under Registered Account.
- Select the File Employer Filed Claims link under Common Links.
- Select your method of filing - Multi-Claims Upload or Single Claim Entry. You must download and use the GDOL Excel template for Multi-Claims Upload. DO NOT MODIFY THE TEMPLATE. The Partial Claims application will not retain your employee information when using Single Claim Entry. You must re-enter it each week.
- Follow the on-screen instructions.
NOTE: See the Employer Filed (Partials) Claims Desk Aid for instructions.
What information do I need to have available when I file?
You will need the following information for each employee:
- Name (FIRST NAME, LAST NAME, e.g. John Doe NOT Doe, John)
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Whether or not they want federal and/or state income taxes withheld (GDOL will withhold 10% for federal and 6% for state taxes.)
- Earnings (Report gross wages—amount of pay before deductions— for any work they performed during the week for which you are filing AND earnings from other employment. Report any leave pay, vacation pay, holiday pay, and/or gross earnings during the week in which it was earned, NOT during the week it was paid to the employee. Income for Social Security benefits, jury duty income, and pay for weekend military reserve duty should not be reported as earnings.
What do I tell my employees?
Advise your employees of the following:
- They do NOT have to file an unemployment insurance claim or request their weekly unemployment benefit payments. You are doing that for them.
- They can elect to have state and/or federal taxes withheld by GDOL.
- They have the option of using direct deposit or the Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard®
- They have the option of receiving benefit payments by direct deposit or the Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard®. The payment method will be debit card when you submit the first claim on their behalf. After the employer filed claim is processed by the GDOL system, then they can update their payment method to direct deposit at UI Benefit Payments Method. They may continue to check their claim and payment status on the My UI portal.
- Employees choosing direct deposit must enter their banking information on the GDOL website by selecting UI Benefit Payments Method under Online Services. Advise employees to follow the instructions below to set up a personal identification number (PIN) and change their payment method:
- Go to dol.georgia.gov.
- Select Claim Weekly UI Benefits Payments.
- Enter your Social Security Number and set up a PIN.
- Enter a 4-digit PIN of your choice in the field labeled "If you need to set up a PIN, enter it here."
- Re-enter your 4-digit PIN in the field labeled "Reenter for verification."
- Click on the Continue button and follow the instructions to update payment information.
- Unemployment benefits are paid on a weekly basis. All weekly earnings over $50.00 are deducted dollar for dollar from the benefit payment week ending dates prior to 3/29/2020. The earnings allowance is $300 for week ending dates on or after 3/29/2020.
- They are NOT required to report to a career center, register for Employment Services on EmployGeorgia.com, or search for work.
- If they receive notification from GDOL that their claim is not monetarily valid due to insufficient wages and they know they have other employment in the quarters listed, they should contact their local career center for assistance.
- Claims for non-citizens cannot be processed until their legal presence in the U.S. is verified by Homeland Security. If Homeland Security cannot verify their legal presence using the information you submitted when filing their claim, the GDOL will mail a Request for Verification of Citizenship or Alien Status (DOL-5154PC) to the employee. They must submit a copy of the DOL-5154PC letter they received and the required documentation to the GDOL by the deadline stated in the letter to avid delay or disqualification of benefits. See the Partial Claims Filing Instructions for additional instructions.
The first thing I am asked is to enter my pay week ending date. How do I determine that?
UI benefits are paid on a weekly basis. You must establish a week ending date that GDOL will use for each week’s benefits. It is recommended that you choose a week ending date that coincides with the normal end of your pay period. Once you establish the pay period for employer filed (partial) claims, you will file for each weekly pay period. There must be seven (7) days between payment week ending dates. The week ending must be in the past. Claims submitted that do not meet these criteria will result in non-payment.
When can I start filing claims?
You cannot file until after the payment week has ended. Begin filing after the pay week ending date of the first week your employees are off from work or work reduced and each week the employees are considered temporarily laid off.
Do I have to re-enter my employees’ information every time I file?
If you use the Single Claim filing method, you will have to manually enter the information on the Employer Filed (Partial) Claims application each week you file. If you use the Multi-Claim Upload filing method, you can upload an Excel spreadsheet using a GDOL template. This method saves time by eliminating the need to manually enter each employee’s information each week. You can simply update their earnings information and week ending date(s) and upload a new spreadsheet. You must use the GDOL Excel template. The template is available in the Employer Portal on the File Employer Filed (Partial) Claims application. Do NOT modify the template. Use the Employer Filed (Partial) Claims Record Layout Specifications available under Common Links on the Employer Portal to ensure your file is successfully accepted and processed.
Can I file partial claims for employees who have self-quarantined for fear of exposure to COVID-19?
No. Employees who voluntarily choose not to go to work must file their own claims.
Can I file for employees who has COVID-19 or has been exposed to the virus?
If you directed the employee to not return to work because of their exposure to COVID-19, you may file a claim on their behalf. If the individual voluntarily chooses not to report to work, he/she must file their own claim. GDOL will determine eligibility of benefits for such claims on a case-by-case basis.
Will my DOL account be charged for the benefits?
You will NOT be charged for benefits paid on employer filed (partial) claims that you submit online because of COVID-19. However, you may be charged for claims filed by your employees, and you will be required to reimburse GDOL for the total amount of benefits paid on individual-initiated claims.
Will these claims affect my UI tax rate?
The employer filed (partial) claims submitted because of COVID-19 will NOT affect your tax rate. Claims filed by your employees may affect your tax rate.
What if my employee does not receive their debit card, or if they lose my card?
Your employee will need to call the Georgia UI Way2Go Debit MasterCard® Customer Service at 1.888.929.2460 to report a card as lost or stolen card. One free replacement card may be issued in a 12-month period.
UI Debit MasterCard® Customer Service handles all inquiries regarding the debit card including cards not received, lost or stolen. UI Debit MasterCard® Customer Service does not have access to any claim or payment information. Claim inquiries should be directed to the Georgia Department of Labor.
Can I submit a mass separation notice?
Yes. Mass separations are intended for employers who are permanently separating 25 or more employees on the same day for the same reason. If you are filing employer filed (partial) claims, then it is not necessary to submit a mass separation notice.
If I am the owner and a W-2 employee, can I file for myself?
Yes, if you are temporarily not working or your hours are reduced due to the COVID-19 emergency.
How should I answer the question #21 "Is this claim being filed because of a federally declared disaster?"
Answer "No" to the question. This question applies when Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is available in a geographical area that has been declared a federal disaster area due to a natural disaster such as a tornado or hurricane.
How should I answer the question, "Has the employee earned at least $7300?"
Answer this question by entering or selecting Y for Yes, if the employee has earned gross wages equal to or greater than $7300 during the latest period of employment (last hire date through the last date worked). Answer or select N for No, if the employee has earned less than $7300 and enter the gross wages in the next field.
Why is my additional FPUC payment not $600?
Your payment may not be the full $600 if you have elected to have state and federal taxes deducted. Federal taxes are deducted at 10% and state taxes at 6%. Unemployment benefits are taxable income. Other deductions may include court ordered or voluntary child support or repayment of an UI overpayment (one-half of your $600 PFUC payment will be deducted and applied to your outstanding overpayment).
Why have I not received my additional $600 FPUC payment?
The GDOL started issuing payments on Monday, April 13, 2020 for those currently receiving state benefits and will continue to issue them this week.
I am an employer. Do I report all of my employees earnings?
Yes. You have to attest to their earnings through the affidavit when filing for partial claims.
Do I still have to file for unemployment if my employees are seasonal workers and wouldn't typically be working during this time.
If your employees are seasonal, you can stop filing for unemployment on behalf of your employees and they can choose to file an individual claim.
I am an out of state employer but I have employees in a different state, do I still file for my employees?
If you are reporting wages in Georgia, then you can file on behalf of your employees.
I am an employee and am directed by my (out-of-state) employer to start filing once I am off payroll. Do I have to, or can they file on my behalf?
Your employer can file on your behalf.
I am an employer, do I re-certify (like individual claims) or do I submit my claim weekly for my employees?
You submit your claims for your employees weekly for them to be paid.
My employer filed for me but put in the wrong address, social security number, or incorrect payment information. What do I do?
Please contact your HR department or employer and ask them to go back to the spreadsheet they filed for you and change your information to the appropriate information.
My employer gave the wrong address and I missed my first payment, what should I do?
We will resend your debit card to the new address, but you will need to contact the debit card company and ask to reroute your first payment.
Can I file partial claims for a plant shutdown?
Yes. Employers are required to file partial claims online on behalf of their full-time or part-time employees whenever it is necessary to temporarily lay-off or reduce work hours. Any employer who fails to comply with this requirement must reimburse GDOL for the full amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid to the employee.
Is there a penalty for employers who do not file partial claims for their employees.
Yes. Employers are responsible for paying GDOL back any amount of benefits that the employee filed an individual claim for. This is why it is pertinent that employers file partial claims on behalf of their employees. It is easier and less costly for everyone.
Does the employer know if the employee, that is still working, has filed an individual unemployment claim?
Not necessarily. This is considered fraud if the employee files a claim and does not report all wages earned during the week payment is requested.