2010 Georgia Code
TITLE 34 - LABOR AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
CHAPTER 8 - EMPLOYMENT SECURITY
ARTICLE 7 - BENEFITS
§ 34-8-195 - Determination of eligibility for unemployment benefits generally; eligibility while in training; deductions and withholdings from compensation

O.C.G.A. 34-8-195 (2010)
34-8-195. Determination of eligibility for unemployment benefits generally; eligibility while in training; deductions and withholdings from compensation.


(a) An unemployed individual shall be eligible to receive benefits for any week only if such unemployed individual shows to the satisfaction of the Commissioner that each of the following conditions has been met:

(1) The individual has made a claim, has been unemployed or employed less than full time during the regular work week, and has reported his or her deductible earnings in accordance with Code Section 34-8-190;

(2) The individual has registered for work and has continued to report to an employment office as required by regulations prescribed by the Commissioner. The Commissioner may, by regulation, waive or alter either or both of the requirements of this paragraph for cases or situations in which the Commissioner finds that compliance with the requirements would be oppressive or inconsistent with the purposes of this chapter;
(3)(A) The individual is able to work, is available for work, is actively seeking work, and is bona fide in the labor market; provided, however, that no individual shall be considered available for work or receive benefits for any period that:

(i) The individual is away from work on vacation or leave of absence at the individual's own request;

(ii) The individual is away from work for a vacation period as provided in an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement; or

(iii) The individual is away from work for a vacation period in the absence of an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement and such vacation period is either pursuant to:

(I) An established employer custom, practice, or policy as evidenced by the previous year or years; or

(II) A vacation policy and practice established by the employer by an announcement, made at least 30 days before the beginning of the scheduled period, of a paid vacation plan applicable to the employees who meet the eligibility requirements of the plan.

(B) In no event shall an employee be held unavailable for work or ineligible for benefits under divisions (ii) and (iii) of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph for any period of more than two weeks in any calendar year when such employee is not paid for such period directly or indirectly by the employer or from a fund to which the employer contributes. The usual eligibility requirements shall apply to individuals laid off due to lack of work or for a purported vacation not meeting the conditions set forth in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph;

(4) The individual has participated in reemployment services, such as job search assistance services, if the individual was determined to be likely to exhaust regular benefits and to need reemployment services pursuant to a profiling system established by the Commissioner unless the Commissioner determines that:

(A) Such individual has completed such reemployment services; or

(B) There is justifiable cause for such individual's failure to participate in such reemployment services;

(5) The individual is willing to work under the same general terms and conditions as existed since the beginning of the base period; and

(6) The individual has been paid sufficient wages for insured work to qualify for a weekly benefit amount as provided in Code Section 34-8-193.

(b) An individual who is laid off with a scheduled return-to-work date within six weeks from the date of separation shall be considered attached to the employer and exempt from seeking work. However, if the employee has not returned to work at the end of that period, the employee must meet the requirements of subsection (a) of this Code section.

(c) An individual shall not be deemed to be unemployed in any week such individual refuses an intermittent or temporary assignment without good cause when the assignment offered is comparable to previous work or assignments performed by the individual or meets the conditions of employment previously agreed to between the individual and the employer. Such individual may be considered unemployed with respect to any week an assignment or work is not offered by the employer; provided, however, an employee of a temporary help contracting firm, an employee leasing company, or a professional employer organization as defined in Code Section 34-7-6 will be presumed to have voluntarily left employment without good cause if the employee does not contact the temporary help contracting firm, employee leasing company, or professional employer organization for reassignment upon completion of an assignment; provided, further, that such failure to contact the temporary help contracting firm, employee leasing company, or professional employer organization will not be considered a voluntary departure from employment unless the employee has been advised in writing of the obligation to contact such employer upon completion of assignments and has been advised in writing that unemployment benefits may be denied for failure to do so.

(d) No otherwise eligible individual shall be denied benefits because that individual is in training with the approval of the Commissioner. Individuals attending such approved training are exempt from the availability and work search requirements of this Code section. Such individual may also refuse work or referrals to job openings while in training without being subject to disqualification under paragraph (3) of Code Section 34-8-194.

(e) A claimant shall not be deemed ineligible or disqualified for benefits because he or she is in training approved by the United States secretary of labor pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974, as amended, or the Job Training Partnership Act of 1982, as amended, even though he or she voluntarily quit work which was not suitable to enter such training or he or she is not able, available, or actively seeking work or he or she refused work during any week of such training. For the purpose of this subsection, the term "suitable work" means, with respect to a claimant, work of a substantially equal or higher skill level than the claimant's past adversely affected work and wages for such work are not less than 80 percent of the claimant's average weekly wage in the adversely affected work; provided, however, no claimant shall be deemed ineligible or disqualified for benefits by operation of paragraph (7) of subsection (a) of Code Section 34-8-197 who is in approved training as referred to in this subsection; provided, further, should the employer respond timely and such voluntary separation on the part of the claimant is without good cause in connection with the claimant's most recent work, such employer's experience rating account shall not receive charges for any benefits paid as provided for in Code Section 34-8-157; provided, further, should the claimant refuse suitable work while in training and the employer files timely information as provided by regulation, such employer's experience rating account shall not be charged; provided, further, pursuant to Code Section 34-8-159, an employer under Code Section 34-8-158 who has elected to make payments in lieu of contributions is subject to relief of charges under this subsection, only with respect to claims filed with benefit years beginning on or after January 1, 1992.
(f)(1) An individual who files a new claim for unemployment compensation shall, at the time of filing such claim, be advised that:

(A) Unemployment compensation is subject to federal and state income tax;

(B) Requirements exist pertaining to estimated tax payments;

(C) An individual may elect to have federal income tax deducted and withheld from the individual's payment of unemployment compensation in the amount specified in the United States Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

(D) An individual may elect to have state income tax deducted and withheld from the individual's payment of unemployment compensation at the rate of 6 percent; and

(E) An individual shall be permitted to change a previously elected withholding status.

(2) Amounts deducted and withheld from unemployment compensation shall remain in the unemployment fund until transferred to the federal or state taxing authority as payment of income tax.

(3) The Commissioner may follow procedures specified by the United States Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service pertaining to the deducting and withholding of income tax.

(4) Amounts shall be deducted and withheld under this Code section only after amounts have been deducted and withheld for any overpayments of unemployment compensation, child support obligations, food stamp overissuances, or other purposes as required under this chapter.

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