ATLANTA (AP) -- Federal officials say Georgia shouldn't deny unemployment benefits to certain seasonal workers that provide support services to schools.
Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler announced that the federal Labor Department wants Georgia to pay about $8 million in back payments. Butler's office says failure to comply could threaten federal support for Georgia's unemployment insurance fund.
The dispute involves temporary workers like bus drivers and cafeteria workers who are employed by private firms that provide services to Georgia schools. Butler has ruled those workers shouldn't get unemployment checks during periods they aren't paid by their employers.
The feds say that interpretation ignores Georgia law.
Butler says the dispute would have been avoided had Georgia lawmakers passed a bill this session that put his interpretation into law. That proposal did not pass.