Boost unemployment comp for Ohio families, economy
Posted March 12, 2020 in Press Releases
Unemployment compensation (UC) is a crucial aid to families and communities. Policy Matters Ohio outlined in a brief today how workers, employers and policymakers all have steps they can take to make sure that this system provides a maximum of support. Author and research director Zach Schiller included these measures to accomplish that:
- Ohio law allows for a waiver of the normal work-search required of those receiving unemployment benefits in certain instances that could apply to workers laid off because of the coronavirus. The Ohio Department of Job & Family Services (ODJFS) should publicize these alternatives and waive the work search requirements if the coronavirus causes a shutdown.
- Ohio employers that lose business but continue to operate can consider participating in the state’s shared work program. Employers can reduce worker hours and employees can receive unemployment benefits proportionate to the hours they lose.
- The Ohio General Assembly can reduce the earnings requirement to qualify for UC benefits, which is among the highest in the country and currently wouldn’t allow an employee who had worked 30 hours a week at the minimum wage to qualify.
- Congress should boost funding for ODJFS and its counterparts across the country to administer the UC program. It should also consider increasing and extending benefits, as it did in the last recession.
- Ohio lawmakers can approve House Bill 137, which would require employers to provide pay stubs as those in 41 states are required to do. This measure will make it harder for unscrupulous employers to steal from working people. In addition, workers should consider printing out pay stubs so they have verification of their pay.
- In response to the coronavirus, Governor DeWine should create a temporary paid sick time program. Ohio lawmakers should also mandate employers provide sick pay for all Ohio’s working people.
- If UC claims skyrocket because of a severe recession, Ohio will need to borrow again from the federal government. Ohio has underfunded its trust fund for many years, taxing employers less than in other states and keeping a tax system with serious flaws. That's an issue we will need to tackle and for which Policy Matters Ohio outlined a solution some time ago.
“Ohio’s unemployment compensation system is an essential support, especially when the economy turns down,” Schiller said. “Steps should be taken to bolster it so it can help a larger share of the unemployed, including those who are able and willing to work but unable to do so because of the coronavirus’s effect on the economy.”