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Gov. Henry McMaster Orders that Furloughed Employees Qualify for Unemployment Benefits

April 8, 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster today issued Executive Order 2020-22, which 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,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “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.”