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Legislation - Recent and new laws FAQ

Have there been recent changes in Employment Security or unemployment-insurance laws?
A. In 2011, the state legislature reduced unemployment-insurance taxes for most employers by capping the social-cost component of the unemployment tax and lowering the multipliers that set the social-cost tax rate for 20 of the 40 rate classes. The tax reductions will save employers more than $300 million in 2011, with a total savings of about $360 million from 2011 through 2017.

The legislature also improved the accessibility and flexibility of Employment Security’s Training Benefits Program, which extends unemployment benefits for eligible claimants while they train for a career in high-demand fields. Eliminating the program’s application and training-enrollment deadlines are among the many changes that will take effect July 1, 2012.

A temporary $25-a-week benefit increase also was approved for unemployed workers who file new unemployment claims during the time period of March 6 through Nov. 5, 2011. The legislature budgeted $68 million for this program, which will increase weekly benefits for an estimated 140,000 jobless workers.

The legislature also was able to continue federally funded extended benefits by temporarily adjusting the criteria that qualify our state for extended benefits. Extended benefits will remain available through 2011, aiding nearly 70,000 workers who would have lost access to these benefits in spring 2011.