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February 7, 2022 10:32am

Unemployment insurance reform bill filed

Last week, House Bill 4 was filed to enact reforms to Kentucky’s current unemployment insurance benefit program. Filed by Representative Russell Webber, a 2021 GLI MVP, the bill aims to modernize several key parts of the current benefit program to both support laid-off workers and encourage rapid re-employment.

The proposed reforms stemmed from the work of the General Assembly’s Unemployment Insurance Reform Task Force which examined Kentucky’s current system during the 2021 Interim Session. Kentucky’s workforce participation rate has historically been one of the country’s lowest with only 56.8% of adults employed or actively seeking employment.

The proposed reforms in HB 4 are designed to provide unemployed workers with the help they need while also providing them to tools to quickly find the next step in their career.

Key parts of the bill include:

  • Increasing the work search requirement to include five weekly activities, at least three of which must be applying or interviewing for a job. The definition of work search activities has also been revised to include networking events, job shadowing, and participating in skills or jobs training.
  • Establishes a “No-Show” reporting system for employers to address the issue of candidates who fail to show up for interviews or refuse an offer of suitable work.
  • Extends benefits by up to five weeks if the claimant is enrolled in an approved job training or certification program.
  • Indexes the maximum duration of benefit weeks to Kentucky’s average unemployment rate with a range of 12 weeks when the rate is 4.5% to as much as 24 weeks when the rate is 10%.

GLI strongly supports these reforms and recognizes the need to keep unemployed workers engaged and re-employed. Follow GLI’s Policy Distilled for updates as this bill progresses.