On Senator Bennet’s Unemployment Insurance Reform Legislation

Following is a statement from Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:

“NELP strongly supports this critically important legislation, which proposes a comprehensive approach to strengthening unemployment insurance programs around the country. No temporary fix can make unemployment insurance, which has been decimated by countless draconian cuts over the last decade, suddenly be able to handle the current crisis equitably.

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“Unemployment insurance must be strengthened to help all workers who have suffered job loss, including workers in the Black, indigenous and Latinx communities who have historically experienced higher levels of unemployment. Particularly in this crisis, the workers most hurt by the pandemic are also the ones facing the greatest challenges in accessing the UI system. A comprehensive approach to restoring UI—to ensure that it covers workers who have been deprived of the ability to work and who are trying to remain connected to the labor force—is the only solution to this crisis.

“This bill would require states to provide 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. States need to provide a duration of benefits that matches the tremendous need of families affected by sudden job loss; a full 26-week duration also will qualify state UI programs for full extended benefits when that federal program kicks in. Kansas and Michigan have already acted this week to restore the full 26-week duration of UI benefits.

“This bill also would dramatically improve income replacement, make it easier to access earned benefits, and improve triggers that extend benefits in economic downturns. This legislation also takes into account dependents of unemployed workers and ensures a benefit for them.”

A full summary of this legislation is available here.

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The National Employment Law Project is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization that conducts research and advocates on issues affecting low-wage and unemployed workers. For more about NELP, visit www.nelp.org. Follow NELP on Twitter at @NelpNews.

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