Jump-Start the Economy Through Jobs Act Introduced by Reps. Dan Bishop and Jodey Arrington
Updated: May 19, 2021
View Senate Bill Below
BACKGROUND: Before the CARES Act, which became law on March 19, 2020 as a response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the maximum state unemployment benefit that could be received was thirty weeks in Massachusetts. The CARES Act extended benefits to thirteen weeks after state benefits ran out, with the federal government covering the entire cost of these additional benefits, known as Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). The CARES Act also provided an additional $600 a week to individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits, either from the state of PEUC, known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). Subsequent COVID-19 relief packages have extended the time period that these benefits have been made available. The most recent the reconciliation package, or the American Rescue Plan, in March extended all of these benefits to September 6, 2021.
RATIONALE: In March 2021, the national unemployment rate was 6.0 percent. While this demonstrates the largest gains since August 2020, the United States still has 8.4M jobs less than February 2020 when the pandemic hit. Unfortunately, while well-intentioned, the robust increase in the federal unemployment benefits has worked to decrease the effort made by individuals in searching for a new job. In fact, businesses around the country have reported that workers are turning down their former employers when asked to resume work. This bill works to verify the employment status of those who have benefited from these enhanced benefits for more than thirty weeks.
THE BILL: This bill would mandate that anyone currently receiving FPUCor PEUC benefits for 30 weeks or longer to requalify for benefits. States would issue a notice to all affected, requiring them to state that they have not been offered back their job. State agencies will also confirm with employers that the job is no longer available or whether an individual was offered an opportunity to return and that individual refused re-employment. For those who are confirmed not to have been invited back to work, their documents will be approved in a timely manner by the State to ensure that no lapse in benefits occurs. For those whose employers indicate that the job of the current recipient has been offered back, FPUCor PEUC will no longer be available for them. These benefits would permanently be taken away from those who were taken off the benefits for this reason.
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View Rep. Arrington's press release here .