Unemployment and Temporary Closing in SC during the Coronavirus

All COVID-19 updates, resources, and laws are updated daily here.

As more laws, regulations and restrictions are being enforced regarding the Coronavirus, we are getting a lot of questions on how to handle temporary closing as well as unemployment during this time. Certain industries are facing more challenges than others due to their service offerings and not having the option for their employees to work remotely. 

Learn how to proceed with temporary business closings and unemployment below. Contact us directly, for any specific questions regarding your company and employees.

If you have to close or reduce hours:

Step 1: Document the Layoff Selection to protect against Claims 

Complete the Layoff Selection Memo. This is a document that you would fill out and keep on hand internally. This document would serve as documentation regarding how the business handled layoff selection. We want to make sure we document the process and are even-handed in layoff selection to dispel any potential discrimination claims.  

Step 2: Determine if you are eligible to file unemployment claims on behalf of your employees. 

Employers must contact SC DEW’s Unemployment Insurance department and sign an agreement letter in order to be authorized to file claims for employees. Employers should call SCDEW at  803-737-2400, option 3 or login to their SCDEW ESS account

Step 3: Notify Employees  

Send official communication to employees. While it’s impossible to predict when we will be able to restore their positions, we can put an estimated time frame in the letter, generally up to 6 weeks for the Temporary COVID option for employers. However, this date is flexible and you as the employer have the right to change that date as business needs change as long as we update employees along the way.

Here is the link to the SCDEW site dedicated to temporary COVID benefits:

Filing Claims for Your Workers

Employers who have a temporary shutdown, are experiencing a slow or smaller workload than normal, or have temporary/seasonal work can request permission to file claims on their workers’ behalf.  You are allowed to file up to six weeks for your affected employees. Your employees are exempt from work search requirements during those six weeks. 

To file for your workers, you must contact DEW’s Unemployment Insurance department and sign an agreement letter in order to become authorized to file your employees’ claims.  You are required to report any earnings the employee may have received from you or any other employer during the particular week filed. You also must submit an electronic file to our department each week you wish to file by clicking here. The claim must be submitted after the week of layoff is over but within 14 days of the claim week ending date.

To access tutorials and guides for the system, visit the Employer’s Bridge to Benefits page.

Employer Vacation Policy

If your business experiences regularly occurring vacation periods, you may be able to avoid paying for UI benefits during that time. An individual is ineligible for benefits if:

  1. His or her unemployment is due to a vacation week.
  2. He or she is unemployed due to a vacation shutdown when:
    • A written contract between employer and employees specifically provides a vacation period without pay, not to exceed two weeks per calendar year.
    • The individual was notified at the time of employment of the employer’s vacation policy providing for a vacation layoff without pay, not to exceed two weeks per calendar year.
    • The individual was employed at the beginning and the end of the vacation period.

However, you must have a bona fide vacation policy on file with DEW at least 30 days prior to the shutdown in order to avoid paying UI Benefits during the vacation period. To have a vacation policy approved, submit a letter to the address below.

S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce
Benefit Department Director
P. O. Box 1477
Columbia, SC 29202

Your letter must outline your policy in regard to the vacation dates and how you notify employees. Submit any modifications to a previously approved vacation policy at least 30 days prior to the scheduled vacation period. Your policy will remain on file until you ask that it be removed or modified.


To file short-term, temporary layoffs click here.

Short-term, temporary layoffs filing is appropriate if you have less than full-time work available for employees during a claim week and the employee will continue to have a position with the company. When filing a partial claim, it is important to report all earnings, including vacation pay and holiday pay, applicable to the week claimed.

You can file using this method for only six weeks per benefit year. After six weeks, the worker must contact a claims representative at 1-866-831-1724 if still unemployed. Do not file for UI benefits for workers who are not able and available for work. These individuals must contact a claims representative so DEW can determine eligibility.

Have questions? We are helping businesses navigate through this tricky time. Contact us and we will be happy to help.