South Carolina Provides New Unemployment Insurance Rules For Employers
The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce recently announced two important updates relating to unemployment insurance benefits that all employers will want to familiarize themselves with. First, the agency announced that you will be required to provide a notification to employees who have been separated from employment. Second, it has provided instructions for dealing with employees who refuse an offer to return to work.
Notice To Employees Upon Separation Of Employment
As part of the CARES Act, states were required to implement employer notification provisions to receive federal unemployment insurance funds. Effective April 16, under its authority to require employers to display and maintain printed posters, DEW has required employers to provide employees with this notice about unemployment upon separation of employment. You must provide the notice to employees informing them that:
- Unemployment insurance (UI) benefits are available to workers who are unemployed and who meet the requirements of South Carolina’s UI eligibility laws;
- Employees may file a UI claim if they are separated from employment or their work hours are reduced;
- Employees will need to provide DEW with their full legal name, Social Security Number, and authorization to work if the worker is not a US citizen or resident in order to process their claim; and
- Employees may visit the Department of Employment and Workforce’s (DEW) website at dew.sc.gov or call DEW at 1-866-831-1724 for assistance or more information.
You may provide this notice by hard copy in-person or via mail, or electronically via email or text message. Though not clear from the information provided by SCDEW, this notification is presumably only required for employees who are separated due to COVID-19-related issues and may be eligible for unemployment, not employees terminated for cause. There is no information available regarding any penalty for failure to comply.
Employee Refusals Of Work Offers
As the state begins a gradual reopening, many employers are faced with the issue of employees who would rather continue receiving unemployment benefits than return to work. It appears that SCDEW is attempting to facilitate the process for employers to bring employees back to work.
According to the agency, individuals who turn down offers of suitable work are not eligible for UI benefits during that week. You may follow the steps in the Refusal of Job Offer Guide to report the incident to DEW through the Employer Self Service Portal. You may also submit an Offer of Work Form (UCB-261) by mail. You should be aware that employees may be entitled to paid leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act or company policy.
What Should Employers Do?
DEW continues to regularly update guidance for employers in response to COVID-19 on its website. If you have questions, contact your Fisher Phillips attorney or any attorney in our Columbia office to ensure you are providing the proper notice to employees upon separation and are informed about how to notify DEW of refusals of offers to work.
As you begin the process of reopening, you should familiarize yourself with our alert: 5 Steps To Reopen Your Workplace, According To CDC’s Latest Guidance. You should also keep handy our 4-Step Plan For Handling Confirmed COVID-19 Cases When Your Business Reopens in the event you learn of a positive case at your workplace. For a more thorough analysis of the many issues you may encounter from a labor and employment perspective, we recommend you review our FP BEYOND THE CURVE: Post-Pandemic Back-To-Business FAQs For Employers and our FP Resource Center For Employers.
Fisher Phillips will continue to monitor the rapidly developing COVID-19 situation and provide updates as appropriate. Make sure you are subscribed to Fisher Phillips’ Alert System to get the most up-to-date information.
This Legal Alert provides an overview of a specific developing situation. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.