Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler said Friday that the U.S. Department of Labor wants Georgia to pay about $8 million in back payments for denying unemployment insurance benefits to some temporary workers.
Federal authorities said Georgia can't deny jobless benefits to workers like bus drivers and cafeteria workers who are employed by private firms that provide services to Georgia schools. Butler previously ruled those workers shouldn't get unemployment checks during periods they aren't paid by their employers. The feds say that interpretation ignores Georgia law.
Butler says the dispute would have been avoided had Georgia lawmakers passed a bill this session that put his interpretation into law. That proposal did not pass.
Many long-term unemployed Alabamians will see their benefits drop 12.8 percent on April 28.
State Labor Department spokeswoman Tara Hutchison said the reductions are the result of mandatory federal spending cuts that all states must make. The cuts will affect people who have been receiving unemployment benefits for more than six months. Currently, about 16,500 Alabamians receive the extended benefits.
The 24,000 Alabamians who have been receiving benefits for less than six months won't be affected. Tennessee and Georgia began making similar cuts this week.
Staff and Wire Reports