Unemployment Compensation Policy Featured in Budget, Deliberations

As the General Assembly and Wolf Administration continue work finalizing a state budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, several issues related to unemployment compensation have emerged related to the budget and other policy discussions.

Lawmakers are reportedly considering allocating funding to replenish Pennsylvania’s depleted UC Trust Fund and avoid the need to borrow from the federal government in order to pay benefits. The PA Chamber has advocated for this investment – Pennsylvania is on track to borrow from the federal government, which will trigger tax increases on employers costing hundreds of millions of dollars over the next two years. These taxes would be on top of billions in UC taxes already paid annually.

Employers are responsible for financing the UC system and have been assessed additional taxes in the past to service federal debt, including following the Great Recession.  The current situation is unique, however, given that much of the cost was the result of mandatory business shutdowns or fraudulent claims, factors outside of employers’ control.

The PA Chamber also supported legislation passed by the Senate last week to modernize the UC system by making it easier to conduct hearings virtually.

Under current law, UC hearings are generally conducted in person, which has long been a point of frustration for employers who often must devote significant time to participate.  During the pandemic, however, UC hearings were conducted remotely and both employers and claimants generally embraced the convenience of this format.

H.B. 129 would provide that UC hearings will occur remotely but also gives either the party the right to appear in person, in which case the other party may be compelled to appear in person as well.

This bill now awaits final consideration in the House.


Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.