Gov. Brian Kemp and the Georgia Department of Labor are collaborating to make sure Georgians know their unemployment options, officials said Wednesday ahead of plans to restart the state's economy Friday.


Labor Commissioner Mark Butler also encouraged employers to work with employees to determine a successful return to work plan. 

In accordance with the emergency rule issued on March 26, 2020, a person can make up to $300 per week without reducing their maximum weekly benefit amount.

That allows employees to work reduced hours and still qualify for state weekly benefits and the federal $600 weekly supplement, Butler said.

“If a business slowly reopens and their employees are returning to work with reduced hours, employers can continue to file employer-filed partial claims on behalf of their employees,” Butler said.

Butler added that returning to work doesn’t automatically eliminate an individual’s state unemployment eligibility.

“We designed this provision to encourage employers to continue to file while returning employees to work to take advantage of the CARES Act benefits,” he said.

The emergency rule also states that earnings of $300 or less will not affect entitlement to benefits.  Any amount over $300 will be deducted from a claimant’s weekly benefit amount, a payment determination based on an employee’s past wages. 

As long as someone gets at least $1 in state benefits, they are eligible to receive Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) — the additional $600 weekly payment. 

Butler said this option was created with low-wage earners in mind.

“Allowing Georgians to supplement their income by making an additional $300 or so a week while continuing to receive state benefits, and now the federal supplement, will allow them to continue to heal from the economic wounds brought about by COVID-19,” he said.

If an employee decides to separate from their place of employment, the employee has the right to file an individual claim where an eligibility determination will be made based on the facts presented in the case. 

“As we take measured steps to reopen sectors of our state’s economy, it is vital that we continue to support Georgians trying to re-enter the workforce,” Kemp said. “Commissioner Butler and the Department of Labor are working around the clock to do just that. Their action under historic circumstances will continue to give our state’s workforce viable options to put food on the table for their families as we fight COVID-19 together.”

For more information on filing an individual unemployment claim, how employers must file employer-filed partial claims and resources for other reemployment assistance, visit