South Carolina has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in the country, and with the Palmetto State’s history of poverty, being without a job around here hurts harder for longer. All the more reason for when the state pays out on unemployment insurance claims, the money goes to people who genuinely deserve it: Hardworking, truthful folks who are laid off for no falt of their own.
Unfortunately, that’s not always been the case. Some people– and you’d be shocked to realize the hefty sums certain greedy applicants derive from unemployment benefits– would rather just game the system. To them, to suckle on the teat and be constantly just-above-broke — or better– is more appealing to showing up regularly at a job. (You know, do what you’ re supposed to do as an employee!) With the first round of reforms, S.C. unemployment payouts have dropped from around $12 million to around $6 million.
And then there are the people who are fired for cause and apply, then receive unemployment benefits. These claims drive up insurance premiums for small business owners and provide one more impediment to them expanding their businesses and hiring additional employees. Oftentimes the employer takes a “what the Hell does it matter” or ” I don’t have time for this” attitude when they receive notice that their FIRED employee has filed for unemployment. So they remain silent, and the lucky jobholder who failed to perform adequately “wins” their unemployment claim! The result: MILLIONS upon MILLIONS of tax dollars down the drain and unavailable to be awarded to those truthful,legitimate, yet laid off employees for whom they were intended!
A bill signed by Gov. Nikki Haley on Monday did something about that, making it 20 weeks after termination before an employee fired for cause could receive unemployment benefits. Personally, I feel like if you’re fired for cause and the employer proves it, you should be totally prevented from unemployment benefits. Period. But there is no doubt that this is a HUGE step in the right direction!
Haley said at a news conference in Greenville, “The benefits are meant for those people who truly have been let go for a reason they could not help and will be taken care of until they find the next job. It was not meant for people that want to abuse the system and hurt out small businesses in a way that they can’t defend themselves.” And the congregation said: AMEN!
Packaging business owner Bill Laffler told WIS that it was a welcome move, saying, “I can tell you, from a business standpoint, this will do nothing but help the business community and give us peace of mind that if we follow the rules in hiring and firing individuals we are not going to be penalized for it.”
I clearly believe that this is a big step in the right direction for South Carolina’s economy. What about you?
by J.L. Mann Cromer, Jr., who served as the only true independent member of the South Carolina General Assembly from 1990-1998. Currently, he is a general practice attorney in Columbia, S.C., concentrating in probate and estate planning, criminal defense and personal injury law.