Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gov. Gregoire signs bill to increase unemployment insurance benefits

Posted By SooYeon(Pia),Shin

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire Monday signed House Bill 1906, which will give Washingtonians receiving unemployment insurance an additional $45 a week in benefits, coming at the same time the federal government is increasing benefits by $25 a week.

Along with an increase in benefits, the legislation expands the program that allows employers to reduce workers' hours by up to 50 percent while workers receive partial unemployment benefits. The goal is to keep people working and help employers retain their skilled work force until times get better.

In addition, the bill expands eligibility requirements for unemployment insurance claimants attending school or training. The bill extends the deadline for participants to enter the program, and expands eligibility beyond dislocated workers to include disabled workers, low-wage earners, military and Washington National Guard members who were honorably discharged within the previous year, and current members of the National Guard.

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