Committee Passes Unemployment Extension Legislation

(HARRISBURG) – – The Senate Labor and Industry Committee today approved a bill to provide for extended unemployment compensation, putting the measure in place for final passage this week, according to Senator John R. Gordner, the Committee Chairman.

“House Bill 1770 provides for an additional seven weeks of compensation for the unemployed whose benefits have expired,” said Senator Gordner. “The additional weeks of unemployment compensation will be mostly funded through federal stimulus dollars.”

While the federal law provides that the benefits will be cost neutral for businesses in the Commonwealth, Senator Gordner said there will be a cost for the state and for municipal governments.

“Through a quirk in the federal law, governmental entities that have laid off workers will be responsible to pay into the unemployment compensation system to cover those costs,” said Senator Gordner. “However, we worked with the governments that are impacted by this legislation, and they do not oppose the bill because of the additional economic impact of unemployment benefits returning to their communities.”

Senator Gordner also said that the employment picture in the Commonwealth is not expected to improve dramatically over the next twelve months.  “Therefore, we should provide these benefits to workers who have been unable to return to the job market because of the recession,” said Senator Gordner.

House Bill 1770 is expected to pass the Senate this week.