Client Alert: McMaster Extends Unemployment Benefits to Furloughed Workers

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Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed Executive Order No. 2020-22, extending unemployment benefits to workers furloughed with pay during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Announced on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, the Order ensures companies that voluntarily pay their employees during a furlough won’t disqualify those workers for the state’s jobless benefits. In normal times, that type of compensation might have made those employees ineligible for the state’s unemployment insurance program.

The Order defines these voluntary payments, or series of payments, as COVID-19 Support Payments and directs the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) to treat them as severance pay from the companies, which are not considered “wages” as the term is currently defined in section 41-27-380 of the South Carolina Code of Laws. 

To qualify as COVID-19 Support Payments, employers are required to submit a COVID-19 Support Payment Plan. The Form is available on the DEW website, https://dew.sc.gov/employers/covid-support-payments

The Order is effective immediately and will remain in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency.

Executive Order No. 2020-22 can be found at https://governor.sc.gov/executive-branch/executive-orders.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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