Overview: Unemployment insurance provides temporary financial assistance to workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Unemployment insurance is administered at the state level (in compliance with federal law), and each state establishes its own rules with respect to amounts, duration and eligibility for benefits.
The Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) requires employers to pay a federal tax of six percent of the first $7,000 paid to each employee. Most states also require employers to make additional contributions. Only a handful of states require employees to make contributions to unemployment insurance.
Eligibility for benefits varies by state, but in most states unemployed workers must:
Benefits are generally a percentage of earnings over the most recent 52 weeks up to a state maximum and are usually paid for up to 26 weeks. Additional benefits may be provided during periods of high unemployment.
Trends: While employees who quit their jobs generally are not entitled to receive unemployment benefits, some states make an exception for employees who quit due to domestic violence, including Arizona, Arkansas, California, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Washington and, beginning October 5, 2014, Minnesota.
Author: Tracy Morley, SPHR, Legal Editor
Updated to include the requirement to pay contributions to fund benefits under the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016, effective April 7, 2017.
Updated to reflect the 2017 state taxable wage base amounts.
Updated to include online quarterly payment requirements, effective January 1, 2017.
Updated to incorporate electronic filing and electronic funds transfer requirements, effective January 1, 2017.
Updated to incorporate the seasonal employment provisions of the Employment Security Act, effective November 1, 2016.
Updated to incorporate the unemployment eligibility provision of the medical marijuana law, effective September 6, 2016.
An employer must file this form with the Georgia Department of Labor within 48 hours following a mass separation of 25 or more employees in one establishment on the same day for the same reason (other than a labor dispute).
An employer must file this form with the Georgia Department of Labor, in conjunction with DOL 402, within 48 hours following a mass separation of 25 or more employees in one establishment on the same day for the same reason (other than a labor dispute).
Outside of mass terminations, an employer must provide all separated employees with this form on the employee's last day of work or must mail it to the employee within three days.
HR guidance on laws governing unemployment insurance.