HB 308 would extend Unemployment Insurance to workers losing hours as a result of COVID-19 pandemic
JUNEAU – In the wake of the economic shutdown to suppress the spread of COVID-19, the Labor and Commerce Committee moved quickly to introduce legislation that will offer relief to Alaskans who have lost work hours.
“8% of Alaskan workers were essentially laid off overnight, and they don’t know when they’re coming back to work,” said Ivy Spohnholz, Chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee. “We must act swiftly to make sure Alaskan families can pay for groceries, rent, mortgages, and other essentials.”
HB 308 will direct the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to provide impacted workers with Unemployment Insurance relief for lost work hours, whether they result from self-quarantine, lost work hours, or other related impacts of the pandemic.
“Alaska’s fishing and tourism industries are reeling from the fallout COVID-19,” said Committee Vice-Chair Louise Stutes. “HB 308 will make sure that we can tide Alaskans over until our economy resumes again.”
Without this legislation or regulatory changes, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development may not be able to compensate workers for lost hours and associated income.
In addition to introducing HB 308, legislators have written to the Alaska Congressional Delegation asking for assistance to release federal Unemployment Insurance funds for distribution to Alaskans.
Alaska House Majority