Grove Amendment Makes 48,000 workers Eligible for Unemployment Compensation, Creates $1.5 Billion in Savings
10/20/2016
HARRISBURG – A comprehensive amendment by Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) to an unemployment compensation (UC) bill would make 48,000 seasonal workers eligible for unemployment benefits while also saving the UC trust fund $1.5 billion and put the fund on pace to be solvent two years ahead of schedule.

“Act 60 of 2012 put Pennsylvania on track for UC solvency by 2026 through many substantial changes, one of which caused about 10 percent of seasonal workers to become ineligible for benefits,” Grove said. “Since then, there have been attempts to bring those workers back into the fold. While I have staunchly opposed changes to Act 60 of 2012 to protect the path to solvency we placed the UC trust fund on, this amendment not only protects that path, but guarantees the state reaches solvency in the fund sooner.”

Grove’s amendment, which was approved by the House, to House Bill 2382 would reduce the percentage of base-year wages earned outside the highest quarter from 49.5 percent to 37 percent. It would also hold employers with the very worst records of laying-off employees more accountable.

To accomplish solvency by 2024, two full years ahead of what was expected, benefits would be reduced by 2 percent across the board starting next year. Under Act 60, the maximum weekly benefit is $573. This amendment would drop it to $561 while making 48,000 hard-working seasonal employees, most of whom are construction workers, eligible for benefits.

This amendment would also reduce the maximum weekly benefit rate growth. Currently, the maximum weekly benefit is frozen at $573 through 2019, and annual growth is capped at 8 percent from 2020 through 2023. The maximum benefit will return to pre-Act 60 levels of two-thirds of the average weekly wage after 2023. Grove’s proposal would continue to freeze the maximum weekly UC benefit at $561 through 2019. From 2020 through 2023, the growth in the benefit rate would be capped at 2 percent. For 2024 and after, the maximum growth in the benefit rate would be capped at 4 percent. Again, this affords us the ability to make eligible for UC benefits 48,000 Pennsylvania workers.

“Additionally, this amendment adds three new solvency triggers to ensure the UC system is on pace to achieve solvency by 2024. The amendment also targets UC fraud, particularly those beneficiaries who try to scam the system while serving jail time, and increases penalties for bad actors. Fraud was addressed in my previous legislation, House Bill 430, which didn’t reach the governor’s desk last session,” Grove said. “In terms of cost savings, my amendment will save the UC trust fund $1.5 billion over six years all while making more workers eligible for benefits.”

Representative Seth Grove
196th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross
717.260.6374
ggross@pahousegop.com
RepGrove.com / Facebook.com/RepSethGrove

Share |