Last week, two PA Chamber-supported unemployment compensation bills moved forward in the legislative process.
House Bill 129 would set remote status as the default format for unemployment compensation appeal hearings unless there’s good cause to hold the hearing in person. This bill has been passed by the House and now currently awaits consideration in the Senate. Last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the appeals hearing process temporarily transitioned to a remote format out of necessity. However, as noted in a memo sent to House members prior to the floor vote, employers have long sought an alternative to in-person hearings, which have often presented logistical and financial challenges. Moving to a permanent virtual format will help to create a more efficient unemployment compensation system going forward.
House Bill 406, legislation that would reinstitute work search and CareerLink registration requirements for unemployment compensation claimants, was passed by the House Labor and Industry Committee in a party line vote. The PA Chamber urged committee members to support the legislation, citing feedback from employers who are now reporting significant workforce shortages, despite the state’s high unemployment rate. Reinstituting the work search requirement will help in Pennsylvania’s economic recovery by encouraging work and matching potential workers with open positions. House Bill 406 now goes to the full House for consideration.