Senate Unanimously Passes Unemployment Compensation Extension; Senator Gordner Hopes for Quick House Concurrence

(HARRISBURG) – – The Senate of Pennsylvania today unanimously approved a bill to provide for extended unemployment compensation benefits, according to Senator John R. Gordner (R-27), Chairman of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee.

“Under the legislation, seven additional weeks of unemployment compensation will be available to claimants who have exhausted benefits,” said Senator Gordner.  “Unfortunately, nearly 60,000 Pennsylvanians will find themselves in this position this year due to the continuing recession.”

Most of the additional benefits will be funded through federal stimulus dollars, and the measure is cost neutral for Commonwealth businesses.  There will be a cost to the state and to municipal governments because of the way federal unemployment compensation law is structured.

“The Labor and Industry Committee worked with local governments that may be impacted by this legislation, and while there is a cost to governmental entities that lay off workers, the additional economic impact of the unemployment benefits returning to their communities outweighed those concerns,” said Senator Gordner.

The legislation now returns to the House of Representatives for concurrence on a Senate amendment designed to ensure that approximately 20,000 persons who have already exhausted benefits will qualify for the extension.

“The unemployment picture in the Commonwealth is not expected to improve in the near future, so it is important to provide these additional benefits to workers who have been unable to return to the job market in this economy.  I hope the House takes a concurrence vote as quickly as possible so this important legislation can be signed into law,” Senator Gordner concluded.