Recently, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce announced two new rules intended to deal with the flood of unemployment claims related to business impacts from the COVID-19 emergency. The rules require employers to provide separated or furloughed employees with notice of their rights to unemployment benefits. Second, the state makes clear the effect on benefits from an employee declining a return-to-work notice.
First, upon separation from employment, furlough, or qualifying reduction in hours, South Carolina employers must provide employees with a written notice advising them of their potential eligibility for benefits, providing contact information for filing an unemployment benefits claim, and listing the type of information employees will need in order to apply for benefits. The notice may also be provided via email. The notice requirement can be found here.
Second, South Carolina advised that employees who refuse a return-to-work notice will lose eligibility for benefits. Employers may advise SCDEW of such refusal via a new electronic form. The state reminds employers that such employees may still be eligible for paid leave benefits under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in certain circumstances. This rule appears intended to counter a widespread belief that employees can choose to remain out of work and continue to collect unemployment benefits despite a return-to-work notice.