Today, as chair of House Labor & Commerce, I introduced HB 308 to ensure Alaskan employees receive unemployment benefits whether they are furloughed, laid-off, lose work hours, or are forced to stay home to care for children or other loved ones as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.
We must act swiftly to make sure Alaskan families can pay for groceries, rent, mortgages, and other essentials. 8% of Alaskan workers have essentially been laid-off as a result of restaurant and public space closures, and they don’t know when they’re coming back to work.
It's essential that we cut red tape and ensure Alaskans who have paid into Unemployment Insurance can receive benefits during this time of unprecedented economic and public health crisis.
The Unemployment Insurance system wasn't designed for a global pandemic that is shutting down schools, businesses, and child care simultaneously across Alaska. This legislation provides emergency relief during the COVID-19 crisis so that workers facing an array of economic challenges can recoup some lost wages.
- increases the weekly per-dependent benefit from $25 to $75 to relieve families who have lost child care and income at the same time,
- waives the standard one week waiting requirement to begin receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits, an
- is designed to provide emergency relief for up to one year.
HB 308 has been referred to the Rules Committee for a floor within the next 24 hours.
An amendment will be introduced on the House floor tomorrow to allow people who are still technically employed to receive benefits.