Unemployment Compensation Reform Bill to Become Law
HARRISBURG – By a vote of 129-67, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today sent legislation reforming the state’s unemployment compensation system to the governor for his signature, Rep. Sam Smith (R-Jefferson County) said.
“By refinancing our $4 billion federal unemployment compensation debt and putting in place some structural reforms, we are bringing solvency to the state’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund,” Smith said. “We are sending to the governor a bill that helps both workers and employers.”
Pennsylvania employers currently are paying off the $3.87 billion federal unemployment compensation loan through an interest surcharge. Without passage of the elements of Senate Bill 1310, the surcharges would continue to rise, impacting the ability of businesses to hire new employees or maintain the staff they have in place.
According to Smith, no current unemployment compensation beneficiaries will see reduced benefits. Beginning next year, the measure would freeze the maximum weekly benefit of $573 through 2019. Workers who made 50.5 percent of their annual income or more in one quarter would no longer be eligible for benefits, a change from the current 63 percent limit; this change would affect less than 10 percent of those unemployed and save the system an annual savings of $276 million.
State Representative Sam Smith
66th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives