Home

Legislative Memo

Ken Pokalsky
Vice President
T 518.465.7511, ext. 205
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.1410 (Avella) / A.6989 (Jaffee)

Support

SUBJECT:

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

 

DATE:

June 5, 2017

 

The Business Council opposes this legislation that would make employees eligible for unemployment insurance based on their “need . . . to provide child care to the individual’s child if such individual has made reasonable efforts to secure alternative child care.”

The cost of unemployment insurance benefits are paid exclusively by employers, and generally speaking, employees are ineligible for UI benefits if they voluntarily leave their employment without good cause.

Existing New York State Labor Law provides that leaving a job for a “compelling family reason” does not make an employee ineligible for UI benefits. The Labor Law also provides a (non-exclusive) list of what constitutes a “compelling family reason,” listing fairly dramatic circumstances such as domestic violence and illness or disability of a member of the employee’s immediate family.

This legislation would adopt an additional, broad exception to the good cause standard, to allow for benefits based on the availability of child care.  The bill’s broad and vague provisions would allow for UI benefits based, apparently, on the cost, convenience and/or location of child care providers, or other factors, limited only by what a UI division’s administrative law judge would determine qualifies as a “reasonable effort” to secure child care on behalf of the claimant.

We believe this legislation goes beyond the intent of the state unemployment insurance statute.
At minimum, any such legislation should more clearly define the scope and limits of any proposed “good cause” exception.

As proposed, this legislation would create an excessively broad exception, and subject employers to increased costs. We oppose its adoption.