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Associated Industries supports new/old legislation on unemployment compensation

Associated Industries of Missouri was among those testifying in favor of House Bill 150 pertaining to unemployment compensation during a hearing of the House Committee on Employment Security. HB150 also received support from the National Federation of Independent Business and other groups.

The bill is substantially the same as a Senate bill that was vetoed by Governor Nixon last year, was overridden in the Missouri Senate, and missed an override by two votes in the Missouri House during the Veto Session.

HB150 reduces the number of weeks of unemployment a claimant can get as the unemployment rate goes down. It requires the Board of Unemployment Financing to meet if the state Unemployment Trust Fund owes more than $300 million to the federal government. And the bill adjusts the point at which the contribution rates are reduced for employers, allowing more money to retained in the Unemployment Trust Fund before contributions are reduced for employers.

The bill is making fast tracks to the floor of the House. It passed both committees in which it was heard this week, and will be placed on the calendar for floor debate in the coming days.

In addition to provisions of this bill, Associated Industries will launch a separate effort to exclude termination and severance pay from unemployment benefits, the same as wages. Under current unemployment law, vacation time is treated the same as wages, but termination and severance pay is not.

“Missouri shouldn’t be allowing people to double-dip because it destroys the health of our fund,” said McCarty. “Unemployment benefits should be available for the people who truly need it, not those who are continuing to collect the equivalent of their regular paychecks, until that severance pay has been exhausted.”

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