Pro-Jobs Legislation Equals A Better Pennsylvania
Many economists believe there is no such thing as a jobless recovery. I agree with that statement, which is why I believe recent legislation passed by the General Assembly marks some of the first steps in turning around Pennsylvania’s economy.

One of the most significant bills to become law is Senate Bill 1310, unemployment compensation reform legislation better known as Act 60 of 2012. This bill addressed the nearly $4 billion borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits. It allows Pennsylvania’s Department of Labor and Industry to refinance loans from the United States Department of Labor, and wipes out the insolvency of our unemployment compensation system. The previous insolvency of our unemployment compensation system negatively impacted the ability of Pennsylvania businesses to hire new employees and maintain the staff they have in place.

Senate Bill 1030 was enacted last summer. It requires anyone receiving unemployment compensation benefits to conduct an active job search. The bill also mandates that severance pay be factored into the equation when computing unemployment benefits.

Also facilitating that is the Keystone Works Program, which began as House Bill 1539. This legislation implements a system that pairs interested unemployed individuals with interested businesses seeking to hire for open positions. This commonsense measure simply partners Pennsylvanians who are receiving unemployment benefits with businesses that can train them to meet the specific needs of job positions currently being offered.

Businesses must be able to provide the claimant, who continues to collect unemployment, with a maximum of 24 hours of unpaid training weekly, for a maximum of eight weeks. At the end of the eight-week training period, the business must consider the claimant for employment in the job opening, but is not required to hire the claimant.

All three pieces of legislation passed overwhelmingly in both the state House and Senate. They also have the support of Pennsylvanians who realize that an improved job climate equals a more rapidly improving economy and a better, stronger Pennsylvania.

State Representative Curt Sonney
4th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little
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