Sens. Carper, Collins introduce bill to provide states with unemployment insurance flexibility

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U.S. Sens. Tom Carper (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced legislation that would provide states with more flexibility regarding federal unemployment insurance benefits.

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The Workforce Support and Flexibility Act Currently would give state governors the flexibility to decide the dollar amount, between $0 to $300, for weekly benefits provided under the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) Program (FPUC). Currently, states only have an “on or off” switch option, meaning they can only opt-in or opt-out of the $300/week from the FPUC Program.

“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, expanded federal unemployment insurance benefits have been a lifeline for millions of workers in Delaware and across our country. As we continue to rebuild our economy and get more shots in the arms of Americans, we must expand access to good-paying jobs and help get people safely back to work,” Carper said. “We can work towards this goal by giving governors greater flexibility with federal unemployment benefits so that they can make the best choice for their respective states.”

The bill is supported by Third Way and the National Restaurant Association.

“Early in the pandemic, Congress boosted federal unemployment benefits rapidly in order to assist the growing number of Americans who lost their jobs during the pandemic through no fault of their own. Now, as our country emerges from this public health and economic crisis, states should have much more flexibility to adjust these benefits to best suit their workers and employers, provide the right incentives, and foster job creation. Our bipartisan legislation would empower states by eliminating the all-or-nothing approach in current law that forces them to choose between taking the full $300 unemployment benefit or forgoing it entirely,” Collins said.

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