Bill Would Help Bring Unemployment Insurance into the 21st Century by Minimizing Disparities Among States
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), along with Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) and U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), introduced legislation to provide a down payment on reforming the nation’s unemployment insurance system.
“We need to update our unemployment system so that it actually benefits the people who make this country work and who pay into the system knowing it’ll be there when they need it most,” Brown said. “A worker’s unemployment insurance coverage shouldn’t vary dramatically depending on what state they live in. This legislation is an important first step that puts workers first and recognizes that we need to end the race-to-the-bottom business model of states’ unemployment insurance programs.”
The Unemployment Insurance Improvement Act is a modified version of the discussion draft Senators Wyden and Bennet released in April, and is designed to fit within the Finance Committee’s piece of the Build Back Better package.
The bill would ensure states cover 26 weeks of benefits and part-time workers, and ensure states are not able to shortchange workers by determining eligibility based on old wage records. It would also improve administration of unemployment insurance by requiring, for example, states to accept electronic applications, make applications mobile-friendly and ensure accessibility in multiple languages.
A section-by-section summary of the bill is available here.