Hip Hip Hooray for Small Businesses in S.C.!

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.

With Wes Wolfe. He wrote for 11 newspapers in five states and is the marketing coordinator for ACEC Virginia.

13 thoughts on “Hip Hip Hooray for Small Businesses in S.C.!

  1. Bill Rabon on said:

    Unemployment benefits should not go to people that are fired for cause. Not after 10 weeks. Not after 20 weeks. Not after 52 weeks.If you do not go to work and or do not follow the rules, you should not benefit from it. You would be surprised at the number of people that believe that they, not their employer, pay employment insurance.

    • cromeradmin on said:

      A- to the M-E-N Mr. Bill!

  2. walte on said:

    One can only hope that it works as intended. The proof will come on down the line when sufficent time has past so as to allow for a proper evaluation of how gubbermint employees follow through on the new law. Those people have a tendency to be loose when it comes to spending other peoples money.

    I have been informed by people whom I trust and know to be reliable that under the old ESC there was an unwritten policy that no claims would be denied and that was pretty much how things were handled.
    Will the relativelty new Dept of Workforce slide back into the former ESC swamp? Time will tell.

    Most recent horror story; Year before last a claim was honored even after I provided proof, business card, advertising flyer, photo of lettered work van, that the claimant had opened his own business.

    ……………………..time will tell

  3. Mary on said:

    I was under the impression that you didn’t get unemployment unless you were discharged from you job with out cause, or if your job position is eliminated, people I know who were fired did not get unemployment. I just don’t see the abuse from where I sit, but maybe that’s because my inner circle only takes what they need….they find work asap. Do I THINK people abuse it…..sure I do…..they just won’t go to work cause they are getting a check….Unemployment will not support you for very long!! Some people just want a hand up, not a hand out….

  4. John on said:

    I haven’t employed people in about 10 years and wasn’t aware this had changed. It used to be if you terminated someone, they could go file for unemployment and if you defended with documentation it was thrown out. If you didn’t provide any documentation they would be ineligible for 13 weeks which under normal circumstances they would need another job or starve, hence them finding another job and you were off the hook once they were employed. somewhere along the way the move was made toward a right to work state not employment at will.

    In the 50′s and 60′s the government would provide “subsistence” canned meat, dried beans, powdered milk, powdered eggs, cheese and flour. You didn’t starve but you sure wanted a better job so your family wasn’t a bunch of farters.

  5. Southern Belle on said:

    While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it seems superfluous that anyone who was justifiably fired for cause should receive unemployment benefits–ever. Small businesses are the backbone of South Carolina’s economy and to penalize them for a legitimate termination hurts us all. Picture for a moment the employee who has squandered time during the work day, engaged in behavior that negatively affects the company, used company time and resources for personal gain, and generally failed to perform. This same person can apply for unemployment benefits. Picture also the time and money a small business owner has to invest in substantiating his/her claims. One would hope that 20 weeks would be plenty of time for the fired employee to become uncomfortable enough to find work … even if it meant flipping burgers or digging ditches. Even Spam starts looking good when you have nothing to eat! Nevertheless, let’s not forget the hardworking American who through no fault of his/her own loses gainful employment. Let’s take care of those who help themselves … not those looking for a free ride on the unemployment train.

  6. carolynCAROLYN on said:

    Makes you think we are paying too much in unemployment claims. Is there a distinction between repeat “collectors” of unemployment benefits and first “timers”? Seems there should be, one step in the right direction is a begining if not enough,

  7. Vicki on said:

    Certainly no employer has ever falsely accused an employee of wrongdoing so he could avoid paying severance and prevent an employee from receiving unemployment benefits. Nah, that’s never happened. It’s just all these lazy, shiftless do-nothings that want to get rich from their max $326 weekly unemployment check on the backs of their former employers and the government.

    • cromeradmin on said:

      Fired for cause must be proven, not just alleged. if not proven, then unemployment awards are granted. If proven, tough tomatos– u blew it. Let’s let a competent employee have your job. let’s let a hardworking legitimately “laid off ” worker have your benefits.

  8. angel hair pasta on said:

    OMG, years ago I worked for an accountant at the beach and she hired this older man who claimed to be an experienced expert with taxes for like 20 years. All he ended up doing was “looking busy” all day while he wrote up all his business for his Knights of Columbus committees, researched projects for his wife’s job and literally wrote all of his daughter’s Junior College term papers for her! When the boss finally caught on and fired him, he totally turned totally psycho and made a fool out of himself at the office. Like SCREAMING and CUSSING and STOMPING AROUND– crazy! It’s been so long but I think he even called the office and threatened the Bosslady! Next thing you know he was filing for unemployment. He finally got denied, but the Boss had to spend a ridiculous amount of time with it. Hopefully this new law will stop folks like this nut job. I swear he would have lived off of unemployment if he could have.

  9. Boss Scaggs on said:

    YOU are correct Vicki! if the employer cannot prove and substantiate their case with legitimate examples and affadavits , then the fired employee SHOULD get unemployment benefits.But if the the employer DOES substantiate the firing– BYE BYE! Let’s let an honest, hard working truthful laid off worker benefit from those TAX dollars!

  10. cromeradmin on said:

    AMEN to the Scaggman! When r u releasing a new “album”?

  11. italian meatballs with tomato basil on said:

    Bubba, I totally agree with your view on Nikki’s decision. It sickens me to see the people who are fired for cause….then take advantage of unemployment benefits. A big step has definately been made and I hope to see more steps being made in the future! The congregation says AMEN and hopes to say it many times more!!

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