Monday, the House approved a bill that would change some school workers eligibility for unemployment benefits. The sponsor of House Bill 714 says it addresses a loophole that costs the state up to $10 million annually. According to Representative Mark Hamilton (R-Cumming) private firms providing bus drivers and other school workers are under–paying the employees, while encouraging them to apply for unemployment benefits during the summer and other school breaks.
Congress did not extend jobless benefits for the long term unemployed in the budget it passed before the Christmas break.That means nearly 40,000 Georgians will lose extended federal jobless benefits on Dec. 28. GPB News' Ellen Reinhardt spoke to two people say once they lose their benefits, they will have nowhere else to turn.
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says the state has made significant progress repaying the federal government for loans that covered unemployment benefits in recent years. After the beginning of the recession, Georgia went more than $721 million into debt to the federal government to cover the cost of unemployment benefits.
State lawmakers are considering a bill that would deny jobless benefits to school workers employed by private companies during summers. Backers say it would save the state money, but critics say the bill merely favors private companies, including charter school management firms.
Georgia’s labor commissioner is refusing to restart jobless benefits to seasonally unemployed teachers and bus drivers, setting up a showdown between state and federal officials. The U.S. Labor Department said last month that Georgia was violating employment law by denying the benefits.
The U.S. Labor Department has ruled that Georgia’s decision to deny unemployment benefits to seasonal workers violated workplace laws. That means thousands of Georgia bus drivers, cafeteria workers and private school teachers could now be eligible for those funds.
A federal agency's decision might lead to thousands of Georgia bus drivers, cafeteria workers and private school teachers getting summer unemployment benefits after the state denied them the money. State Labor Commissioner Mark Butler had instituted a benefits change earlier this year, saying it was unfair to pay the seasonal benefits when public school system employees don't get them.