s.1125: fixing a $50million oops in dew

s.1125 received a favorable report in the Senate Labor, Commerce, & Industry Committee this week.

We really should not need 1125, but we do, here’s why: In 2011, it was discovered that the Department of Employment & Workforce (DEW) distributed $50 million in unemployment benefits to employees fired for misconduct. Also, another $86 million were doled out for fraudulent claims. Had this $136 million “mistake” not happened. Our employers would have seen a 20% cut in their unemployment taxes. As we all know, our job creators can’t expand their businesses and increase their workforces if we continue to heap these burdens on them.

We heard from employers that fired employees for obvious reasons. These employees got checks to not work to the tune of $50 million. A bank teller caught stealing was fired. A farm manager was fired for using drugs, firearms, and sleeping on the job. A manufacturer fired an employee with 3 accusations of sexual harassment (one witness was the company nurse). A midlands doctor fired 4 of his staff that were convicted of prescription forgery. All of these claimants were awarded benefits. I have an extensive list from employers across this state of these kinds of ridiculous decisions by hearing officers.

Here’s another shocker. After the discovery of last year’s $136 million unlawful benefits, not a single employee at DEW has been fired for breaking the law. The department seems to think the solution is to better train its hearing officers. As an employer in the real world, I cannot stress enough, that memo’s, warnings, and employee education is totally ineffective if staff members are not held accountable. Ask any employer in the private sector and they will tell you, the only way to deal with misconduct is to terminate the bad apples. If you don’t, the performance of quality employees decreases rapidly.

S.1125 automatically disqualifies fired employers for misconduct. There are exceptions for extreme emergency circumstances.

Remember, if SC awards a single week of payment to not work, the Federal Government kicks in and extends these payments for 57 weeks. As you know, for every $10 Uncle Sugar spends, $4 is borrowed from China with your grandchildren stuck with the tab.

One would think the mission of DEW would be to get folks back to work, keep taxes low for our employers, and offer temporary assistance to workers that have lost their job at no fault of their own. But in the DEW fantasyland, a $136 million dollar problem can be solved with “go get ‘em!” office posters. They are obviously agents of socialism and our state’s employers are suffocating.

As Margaret Thatcher bluntly said “the problem with socialism is that you soon run out of other people’s money!”

Our employers need relieve if we want to grow out of this sluggish unemployment environment in South Carolina.