Senate passes bill to end benefits for workers fired for misconduct

Columbia, SC – March 29, 2012 – The South Carolina Senate today passed S.1125, a bill to prevent workers fired for misconduct from collecting unemployment benefits – a move that could save the unemployment system $50 million per year.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Lee Bright, Senator Kevin Bryant, and others, is aimed at protecting businesses from having to pay out benefits for workers fired under these circumstances. It also protects consumers by keeping costs low, and protects taxpayers at a time when the state is still working to pay back loans made to the unemployment trust fund.

The bill is necessary because current law is not acting as the legislature intended, and actually resulted in $50 million in benefits awarded to people fired for misconduct last year alone. The bill will clarify language dealing with these types of claims, making it consistent with federal law.

“South Carolina businesses shouldn’t be on the hook for firing workers that have been fired for any type or wrongdoing,” Sen. Lee Bright said. “This bill will not only protect businesses, but protects the benefits of workers who make a claim for legitimate reasons.”

“We have to keep the cost of business as low as possible in South Carolina, both for the business owners and the consumers,” Sen. Bryant said. “This bill keeps illegitimate costs from being passed along to consumers or taxpayers.”