CUMMING — Sponsored by state Rep. Mark Hamilton of Cumming, a measure aimed at adding efficiency to the state's unemployment system was recently signed into law by Gov. Nathan Deal.
According to Hamilton, House Bill 714 will create uniformity in administering unemployment benefits in the state and "ultimately saving businesses $8-10 million annually because of the elimination of a loophole that benefited a small group of employers and employees."
"The other part of the bill will allow the Georgia Department of Labor to be more efficient in their processing of claims while preserving an additional $80 million annually in the Unemployment Trust Fund," he said.
A handful of companies and employees have abused the system, said Hamilton, a Republican who represents District 24. They have used benefits to supplement salaries of seasonal workers. Most offenses came from contractors who hire school bus drivers and cafeteria workers on behalf of local school systems.
Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO James McCoy welcomed the legislation’s passage as a cost savings for the state.
“[And] on a local level, the bill is important for companies in Forsyth County and ultimately will mean that companies can use the cost savings to create to new jobs and expand,” he said.
The measure was also supported by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Georgia Department of Labor and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.
"I want to thank all the businesses, organizations, [state labor department] staff, my colleagues and the governor … for working so hard and for supporting this measure that will continue to help keep Georgia the ‘No. 1’ place to do business.”