In the Nick of Time, Corbett Extends Jobless Benefits

By Meghan Schiller, Contributing Writer

Within hours of receiving it yesterday, Governor Corbett signed a bill to reform the state’s unemployment compensation system. The law will extend unemployment benefits for 13 more weeks and allow a grace period for the unemployed to continue their job search. His signature prevented 45,000 jobless Pennsylvanians from experiencing a lapse in benefits.

“This legislation is a good and important step toward reforming our unemployment compensation law,” Corbett said in a press release.

“While these reforms will benefit employers and the workforce, there remains more to do, in the long-term, to restore the trust fund’s solvency and repay our federal loans.”

The law was passed unanimously by both the House and the Senate following several weeks of parliamentary posturing by both parties. Earlier this month, 30 House Republicans joined with the entire Democratic caucus to defeat a bill that would have applied stricter eligibility requirements to the program.

According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the law aims to bring in an estimated $133 million in future savings. The Extended Benefits Program offers much more than time for our unemployed neighbors. It also will create a new shared-work program, allowing employers to “avoid layoffs by reducing the hours of their workers who would receive pro-rated UC benefits for those lost work hours.”

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