Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Unemployment bill passes first hurdle

Posted: Friday, January 28, 2011

This article submited by the Regional Chamber of Commerce

Northeast Indiana legislator Dan Leonard (R-Huntington) has put forth the most business friendly approach to the Unemployment Insurance issues our state has faced in the last few years.

Today house bill 1450 passed the House Labor & Employment Committee by a vote of 9-5, admidst labor protestors filling the halls outside the committee room. Leonard's bill balances the burden of fixing the UI fund between both business and unemployed workers.

* The biggest changes would effect seasonal workers and temporary plant closings.
* Businesses with a history of laying off employees would pay more in unemployment insurance costs, and workers in industries where layoffs occur regularly would receive lower benefits.
* The bill gets the UI system back in the black by 2013 and pays back $2 billion in federal loans by 2020.
* Rep. Leonard said the bill was designed to be fair to workers, explaining that under current law, two workers earning $30,000 annually could receive different weekly benefit checks depending on whether their earnings were spread over the year or received in a shorter period. This is what we refer to as annualization of wages. Looking at the year's worth of earnings, not just a few months. A recipient’s annual wage would be divided by 52 to determine an average weekly wage and then multiplied by 47 percent, which would become the weekly benefits payment.
* The bill closes loopholes like severance pay by addressing "deductible income." No longer allowing users to both collect income and benefits.
* The maximum benefits paid under this legislation remains the same, at $390/week.
* If this bill would have been in effect last year it would have saved the fund $150 million.