Georgia has enacted legislation (Senate Bill 408) that extends rules governing employers that provide sick leave to employees and amends unemployment benefit rules. Senate Bill 408 took effect on June 29, 2020.
Under existing Georgia law, an employer that provides sick leave must allow an employee to use up to five days per year to care for an immediate family member (commonly known as "kincare" leave). An immediate family member is defined as an employee's child, spouse, grandchild, grandparent, or parent or any dependents as shown in the employee's most recent tax return.
The kincare-leave requirement was set to expire on July 1, 2020.
Note: State law doesn't require employers to provide sick leave. The kincare-leave requirement applies only when an employer offers sick leave.
Senate Bill 408:
Senate Bill 408 extends the kincare-leave requirement to July 1, 2023.
Senate Bill 408 also changes the definition of "deductible earnings" that are subtracted from unemployment benefits. These are now defined as all money received by a claimant for services performed in excess of the amount established by the Labor Commissioner (no less than $50 and no more than $300).
Under Senate Bill 408, the maximum benefits payable to an individual in a year is also changing. For claims filed on or after June 14, 2020, the maximum benefits payable to an individual in a year is the lesser of:
- Fourteen times the weekly benefit amount, if this state's average unemployment rate is at or below 4.5 percent. An additional weekly amount is added for each 0.5 percent increment in this state's average unemployment rate above 4.5 percent, up a maximum of 26 times the weekly benefit amount if this state's average unemployment rate exceeds 10 percent; or
- One-fourth of the base-period wages.
The new law also gives the Labor Commissioner the authority to adopt emergency rules when a state-wide emergency declared by the governor is in effect and the General Assembly isn't in session. The emergency rules may temporarily:
- Modify the maximum benefit amount for regular state benefits;
- Suspend unemployment insurance tax filing and payment deadlines and penalties;
- Waive charges to employers for benefits paid;
- Expedite the processing of claims; and
- Waive work search reporting requirements.
Georgia employers that provide sick leave should ensure that they continue to comply with the kincare-leave requirements through July 1, 2023. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.