There are two Georgia employment laws effective this summer that employers should be aware of in reviewing their policies.
Act 823: Protecting Georgia Businesses and Workers Act
The Protecting Georgia Businesses and Workers Act, SB 331 (Act 823), preempts all local governments from enforcing their own local rules controlling scheduling, hours, or “employee output.” This means that, in Georgia, an employer’s actions regarding scheduling, hours, and employee output are controlled by state and federal laws. Any local regulations are now in conflict with the state’s new law.
Act 809: Expanding the Definition of “Employee” Under Georgia’s Employment Security Law
Effective July 1, 2022, Georgia’s Employment Security Law, which dictates what workers are eligible for unemployment benefits, has been amended to expand the definition of “employee” and shrink that of “independent contractor.” The nature of the relationship between a business and a worker will now be determined by that individual’s freedom from control by the business. The law provides seven factors that should be considered in determining which label applies. They are the individual’s:
· Ability to work for other companies or holding other employment at the same time;
· Freedom to accept or reject work assignments without consequence;
· Lack of a minimum number of hours to work or, in the case of sales positions, orders to be obtained;
· Ability to set his or her own work schedule;
· Lack of oversight or instructions concerning the services to be performed;
· Absence of territorial or geographic restrictions; and
· Lack of a requirement to perform, behave, or act in a certain manner related to the performance of services.
Employers with any workers currently classified as 1099 independent contractors should reevaluate their relationship with these individuals to assess whether they meet the new standard for an employer-employee relationship. Employees who are misclassified as independent contractors could expose a business to wage and hour liability as well as civil penalties up to $7,500/misclassified worker for failing to pay into the state’s unemployment insurance.
If you would like to know how these laws may affect your business and its employees or independent contractors, please feel free to reach out to the attorneys at Stokes Wagner for help.
For a printable PDF of this article, Click here.
THIS DOCUMENT PROVIDES A GENERAL SUMMARY AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL/EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO BE COMPREHENSIVE, NOR DOES IT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE. PLEASE CONSULT WITH COUNSEL BEFORE TAKING OR REFRAINING FROM TAKING ANY ACTION.