Gov. McMaster orders that furloughed employees qualify for unemployment benefits

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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster speaks at a news conference introducing state Rep. Bobby Cox as his pick to lead the state’s veterans’ affairs agency, on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, at a news conference in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – Governor Henry McMaster has issued an executive order that says all furloughed employees will qualify for unemployment benefits.

The order allows furloughed employees to receive “COVID-19 Support Payments” from their employers and still qualify for unemployment benefits.

“Every day, our primary objective is to protect South Carolinians, but we also must act to protect the state’s economy,” Gov. Henry McMaster said. “This order does both. It allows our businesses to take care of their employees as best as they can and will help our economy recover from this unprecedented time.”

The governor’s executive order specifically directs the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce to consider “a voluntary payment, or series of payments, made by an employer to an employee in response to furloughing the employee” as a form of severance pay.

This means that the furloughed employee will not lose eligibility for unemployment benefits. 

“Our state’s workforce and employers have never faced a crisis of this magnitude,” said Sara Hazzard, President & CEO of the S.C. Manufacturers Alliance. “On behalf of our state’s manufacturing community and the more than 250,000 South Carolinians they employ, I want to thank Governor McMaster for issuing this Executive Order to provide flexibility for businesses to assist employees during this time of need.”

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