Stephanie Ferguson

Senior Manager, Employment Policy

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Up Next: Unemployment Insurance Reform

The ‘here and now’ has dominated the Unemployment Insurance (UI) conversation for the last 16 months—how much should the supplemental benefit be? How long should benefits last? How can fraudulent claims be minimized? These policy questions remain, but as expanded benefits inch closer to expiring, the conversation is shifting towards the future of UI.

UPDATE: USMCA Rapid Response Labor Mechanism

An earlier blog posted on July 8, 2021 described a USMCA complaint which alleged a violation of rights occurred at a GM facility in Sialo, Mexico. On that same day, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that the U.S. and Mexico reached a remediation agreement which can be read in full here.

USMCA Rapid Response Mechanism Makes its Debut

History

In 2019, Mexico passed a labor reform bill intended to meet the requirements of the labor provisions agreed to in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which came into force July 1, 2020. By passing the bill and ratifying the USMCA, Mexico agreed to implement and enforce workers’ rights, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

ETA Guidance on UI Requirements Released

A White House Fact Sheet released in May reiterated that the “core purpose of the UI program is helping workers get back to work.” We have seen throughout the past few months, however, that enhanced benefits, relaxed work search requirements, and waivers to be able and available to work has left the U.S. in a labor shortage.

American Rescue Plan Heads to Biden’s Desk

Today, the House of Representatives passed the Senate version of the American Rescue Plan. The bill is slightly different than what President Biden proposed and the House originally passed. However, the sweeping piece of legislation still comes with the $1.9 trillion price tag. Similar to the relief measures before it, the American Rescue Plan extends, and makes changes to, emergency unemployment insurance (UI) programs just days before the programs expire.

ETA responds to President Biden’s Executive Order on Unemployment Insurance

The Department of Labor has released guidance detailing qualifying reasons for an individual to refuse work and still be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).

House Ways & Means Releases UI Proposal

President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan has entered into the markup phase of the legislation process. This week, House committees will debate and make edits to their respective proposals of the package. The House Ways and Means proposal accounts for half of the total price tag and addresses unemployment insurance extensions.

Biden Signs Executive Order on Unemployment Insurance

On January 22, President Biden signed Executive Order 14002, Economic Relief Related to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The EO does not explicitly call for unemployment insurance (UI) payments. Rather, the White House released a Fact Sheet which details Biden’s requests.

New Year, New Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation

The Employment and Training Administration rang in the new year by publishing half a dozen guidance documents pertaining to Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs addressed in the most recent COIVD relief package.

Unemployment Insurance Extensions Pass through Congress

Earlier this week, Congressional Leadership released the 2021 Omnibus with the Covid-19 stimulus ride along. Both chambers of Congress have passed the legislation, and it awaits President Trump’s signature. 

 

Below is a snapshot of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) policies enacted or extended in the bill: