Posted August 19, 2021
Below is a statement from Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:
“NELP has prioritized UI system transformation because workers deserve to count on a well-functioning system—in and out of a crisis. We applaud the Biden administration for urging Congress to enact immediate long-term unemployment insurance reforms as part of the reconciliation process.
“The expanded pandemic unemployment programs have been a critical lifeline for tens of millions of workers during the pandemic and provided an essential boost to the recovery. Now, with over 4.8 million people still receiving PUA benefits, and another 3.8 million long-term unemployed receiving PEUC, that amounts to over 8.6 million people, or 74% of all unemployment recipients nationwide who now face the loss of all unemployment aid on Labor Day. The still-too-high numbers reflect 8.2 percent unemployment for Black workers, and 6.6 percent for Latinx workers.
“The time for transformative reform is now and must be taken up immediately in the reconciliation process when Congress returns from recess. We call on Congress to begin to enact bold, structural UI reforms, including expanded eligibility, adequate benefit duration that meets with the needs of every worker, and increased benefit amounts that are in line with basic living expenses.
“Workers need genuine reform that will lay the groundwork for a just recovery and an unemployment insurance system that will advance racial and economic justice and allow all workers and communities to thrive.”