Employment Law Updates | New Proposed Legislation
July 9, 2010
House Passes Extension of Unemployment Benefits
Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act – House Passage
H.R. 5618, 7/1/2010
The House of Representatives has passed H.R. 5618, the Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act, critical legislation to extend unemployment insurance benefits to millions of American workers through the end of November 2010.
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander M. Levin (D-MI), a sponsor of the bill, gave the following remarks on the House Floor in support of the legislation:
“I want to list very briefly the basic facts for everyone to consider and for all of our country to hear: 1.7 million unemployed workers, unemployed through no fault of their own, looking for work, will have lost their benefits by the end of this week. By the end of next week, without further action, 2.1 million will have lost their benefits. By the middle of July, when the Senate can address this issue again, 2.5 million will be without this basic assistance. The average unemployment insurance in this country is about $300 a week, roughly half of the previous wage on average. For a family of four that average check is only 74 percent of the poverty level.”
The House Ways and Means Committee gave the following information about the bill:
- The Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) Program began to phase out at the end of May.
- This means individuals exhausting their 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits over the last month, or exhausting any of the tiers of Federal EUC benefits during this time, are not eligible for emergency unemployment benefits.
- The legislation would retroactively restore those benefits and continue the EUC program through November.
In addition, the legislation would restore full Federal funding for the permanent-law Extended Benefits program (through November).
- Both of these same policies were included in the jobs package (HR 4213) passed by the House on May 28th.
- Without this extension, an estimated 1.7 million individuals will have lost their unemployment benefits by July 3.
- The bill also includes two beneficiary protections: the continuation of a rule that conditions State eligibility to offer Federal unemployment benefits on an assurance that the State is not cutting the level of regular unemployment benefits; and a safeguard included in the House-passed jobs package (HR 4213) that prevents EUC claimants from having their benefits cut if intermittent earnings requalifies them for regular, State unemployment benefits (which may provide lower payments because the claimant’s more recent wages were lower).
- Unlike the House jobs package (HR 4213), the legislation does not include an extension of the Federal Additional Compensation program, which increases all UI benefits by $25 a week.
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