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.