Laid off workers will see benefits cuts under HB 252.
When a job is lost through no fault of the worker, unemployment insurance provides a safety net until the worker becomes employed again. If the Republican controlled General Assembly has its way, that net will have bigger holes. House Bill 252 will make substantial changes in how much unemployment will be available and to who.
The Lexington Herald-Leader's Daniel Desrochers reported on Friday, February 8th that the changes were suggested by Governor Matt Bevin as a "way to make Kentucky more competitive as it recruits businesses."
Presently, those eligible for unemployment can collect for up to 26 weeks. Under Heath's bill, that will drop to fourteen weeks.
The minimum wages over a three month period will go from $750 to $2000 to be eligible to apply.
Workers who are suspended from work for misconduct will not be eligible to apply for benefits, an exemption that may apply even if the employer closes its doors during the suspension.
There is a change of definition for successor employers which could allow successor employers who buy out a business to escape paying laid off workers benefits. In order for a worker to show the purchaser is substantially the same business, he/she must prove there is
"identifiable or demonstrative commonality or similarity of ownership, familial relationships, principals or corporate officer day-to-day operations, assets and liabilities, and stated business"
The state can freeze unemployed workers' maximum benefits until they match the average maximum benefit provided in the seven states surrounding Kentucky - Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, West Virginia and Ohio.
Rep. Richard Heath, R - Mayfield is one of the co-sponsors of House Bill 252 which, if passed, will cut benefits for out of work Kentuckians. The bill is currently in the House Economic Benefit and Workforce Committee. Other sponsors of the bill are primary sponsor Jim DeChesare, R-Bowling Green, Robby Mills, R-Henderson, Jim DuPlessis, R - Elizabethtown, Alan Koenig, R- Erlanger and Phillip Pratt, R- Georgetown.
Two of the sponsors of the bill are not running for the House again. Rep. Jim DeCesare is not running again. Rep. Robby Mills is running for the Senate against incumbent Dorsey Ridley.
In the Purchase, Democrat Charlotte Goddard is challenging Rep. Heath in the fall.
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