Report Title:

Unemployment Insurance

 

Description:

Encourages unemployed workers to stay in the workforce by increasing from $50 to $ the amount of wages earned by a worker collecting unemployment benefits that will be disregarded in computing weekly benefit payments.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

37

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2001

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT SECURITY.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the principal objectives of the federal unemployment compensation system are to temporarily replace a part of the unemployed workers' lost wages, and help stabilize the economy during a recession. Eligibility and disqualification criteria as well as benefit amount and duration are set by state law. Benefits are funded by state payroll taxes on employers.

The legislature finds that many states increased unemployment compensation eligibility requirements and reduced benefits. Since then, a growing number of states have begun to recognize that their unemployment compensation eligibility requirements do not serve the workers who most rely on their unemployment check.

A movement has grown among the states to reform unemployment compensation laws to recognize the new face of today's workforce--low-wage and part-time workers. These reforms target the growing constituency of women and single parents who work in high-turnover, low-wage jobs.

The purpose of this Act is to encourage persons collecting unemployment benefits to stay in the workforce. Under current law, an individual may earn up to $50 and still receive an unemployment check. Moreover, if a worker earns more than $50, but less than the worker's weekly benefit entitlement, the worker receives their weekly benefit amount reduced by weekly wages over $50. This $50 base amount, or "income disregard," has not been changed since 1991. Increasing this amount would encourage the unemployed to return to work.

SECTION 2. Section 383-23, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"383-23 Weekly benefit for unemployment. (a) For weeks beginning prior to January 5, 1992, each eligible individual who is unemployed, as defined in section 383-1, in any week shall be paid with respect to that week a benefit in an amount equal to the individual's weekly benefit amount less that part of the wages (if any) payable to the individual with respect to that week which is in excess of $2. [Effective for]

(b) For weeks beginning January 5, 1992, [and thereafter,] until January 5, 2002, each eligible individual who is unemployed, as defined in section 383-1, in any week shall be paid with respect to that week a benefit in an amount equal to the individual's weekly benefit amount less that part of the wages (if any) payable to the individual with respect to that week which is in excess of $50.

(c) Effective for weeks beginning January 5, 2002, and thereafter, each eligible individual who is unemployed, as defined in section 383-1, in any week shall be paid with respect to that week a benefit in an amount equal to the individual's weekly benefit amount less that part of the wages (if any) payable to the individual with respect to that week which is in excess of $ .

(d) The benefit, if not a multiple of $1, shall be computed to the next higher multiple of $1."

SECTION 3. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

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