Georgia redefines “employee” in relation to unemployment benefits and precludes local governments from enacting laws regulating work hours, scheduling or employee output of private businesses. Meanwhile, Florida shields businesses from misclassification claims when providing assistance to “engaged individuals” during declared emergencies.
Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law two measures addressing the employment relationship, according to a National Law Review article. The first alters the definition of employment for purposes of unemployment benefits. The second precludes local governments from regulating the scheduling or work hours of a private business’s employees.
Employment definition. Georgia expanded the types of workers who may be able to claim unemployment benefits. However, it also ensures that the nature of an individual’s work will ultimately determine the existence of an employer-employee relationship. The legislation, Act 809, becomes effective on July 1.
Local law limits. Act 823, which took effect May 5, precludes local governments from enacting laws regulating work hours, scheduling or employee output of private businesses. Georgia law already barred cities and local governments from adopting laws affecting minimum wage, overtime, employee benefits and pay related to scheduling changes, according to the National Law Review.
Effective July 1, Florida SB 542 shields businesses from misclassification claims when providing assistance to “engaged individuals” during declared emergencies, according to an article by law firm Foley & Lardner LLP. An “engaged individual” is defined as anyone “who provides a good or service to a business or on behalf of a business and who is remunerated for the good or service, regardless of the individual’s classification as an employee or independent contractor.”
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses refrained from providing support such as protective equipment or medical supplies to non-payroll workers such as independent contractors to avoid claims of worker misclassification. The new law will protect businesses during public health emergencies declared by a state health official or state of emergency declared by the governor.