Posted September 27, 2021
The following is a statement from Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project on the introduction of the Unemployment Insurance Improvement Act:
The National Employment Law Project commends Senator Wyden’s introduction of the Unemployment Insurance Improvement Act today. Across the country, unemployed workers have been organizing and demanding that Congress fix the unemployment insurance system, and we are encouraged that Senator Wyden is heeding their call. In good economic times or bad, unemployment benefits ensure that workers and their families can maintain economic security during periods of job loss and provide stability for local economies.
Over the course of this pandemic, the unemployment insurance system has been a lifeline for over 50 million workers and prevented 4.7 million people from falling into poverty. The reforms in this bill are well targeted to make sure that Black, immigrant and other workers of color are better able to access the unemployment insurance program and have an adequate duration of benefits while they are looking for a new job. Congress must lay the groundwork for long-term reform of the unemployment insurance system by including the Unemployment Insurance Improvement Act in the Build Back Better package. Passing these reforms would be an important first step in a much broader agenda of transforming the unemployment insurance program for the 21st century workforce.