S4110  ONORATO?????????????   No Same as
Governor Program # 8
ON FILE: 04/14/09 Labor Law
TITLE....Relates to voluntary separations from work for compelling family reasons and to extended benefits
Currently on Senate Committee Agenda
Senate Standing Committee on Labor

Senator George Onorato, Chair

11:30 AM, Monday, April 20, 2009

Room 309 LOB

04/13/09 REFERRED TO LABOR

                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________

                                          4110

                               2009-2010 Regular Sessions

                    IN SENATE

                                     April 13, 2009
                                       ___________

        Introduced by Sen. ONORATO -- (at request of the Governor) -- read twice
          and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee
          on Labor

        AN  ACT  to  amend  the labor law, in relation to unemployment insurance
          benefits and part-time work, voluntary  separations  from  employment,
          and  on/off  indicators  for extended unemployment insurance benefits;
          and in relation to extended benefits

          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section  1.  Subdivision 1 of section 593 of the labor law, as amended
     2  by chapter 415 of the laws of 1983, paragraph (a) as amended by  chapter
     3  268  of the laws of 1999, and paragraph (b) as amended by chapter 589 of
     4  the laws of 1998, is amended to read as follows:
     5    1. Voluntary separation; separation for a  compelling  family  reason.
     6  (a)  No  days  of  total  unemployment  shall be deemed to occur after a
     7  claimant's voluntary separation without good cause from employment until
     8  he or she has subsequently worked in employment and earned  remuneration
     9  at least equal to five times his or her weekly benefit rate. In addition
    10  to  other  circumstances  that  may  be  found to constitute good cause,
    11  including a compelling family reason as set forth in  paragraph  (b)  of
    12  this  subdivision,  voluntary  separation  from  employment shall not in
    13  itself disqualify a claimant if  circumstances  have  developed  in  the
    14  course  of  such  employment  that  would have justified the claimant in
    15  refusing such employment in the first instance under the terms of subdi-
    16  vision two of this section or if the claimant,  pursuant  to  an  option
    17  provided  under  a  collective  bargaining agreement or written employer
    18  plan which permits waiver of his right to  retain  the  employment  when
    19  there  is  a temporary layoff because of lack of work, has elected to be
    20  separated for a temporary period and the employer has consented thereto.
    21    (b) A [voluntary separation may also be deemed for good  cause  if  it
    22  occurred  as  a consequence of circumstances directly resulting from the

         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD12032-04-9

        S. 4110                             2

     1  claimant being a victim of domestic  violence]  claimant  shall  not  be
     2  disqualified  from receiving benefits for separation from employment due
     3  to any compelling family reason. For purposes  of  this  paragraph,  the
     4  term  "compelling  family  reason" shall include, but not be limited to,
     5  separations related to:
     6    (i)  domestic  violence,  verified  by  reasonable  and   confidential
     7  documentation  which  causes  the  individual reasonably to believe that
     8  such individual's continued employment would jeopardize his or her safe-
     9  ty or the safety of any member of his or her immediate family; or
    10    (ii) the illness or disability of a member of the individual's immedi-
    11  ate family; or
    12    (iii) the need for  the  individual  to  accompany  such  individual's
    13  spouse  (A)  to a place from which it is impractical for such individual
    14  to commute and (B) due to a change in location of the  spouse's  employ-
    15  ment.
    16    [(b)]  (c)  A  disqualification  as provided in this subdivision shall
    17  also apply after a claimant's voluntary separation  from  employment  if
    18  such voluntary separation was due to claimant's marriage.
    19      2.  Paragraph (d) of subdivision 2 of section 593 of the labor law,
    20  as amended by chapter 282 of the laws of 2002, is  amended  to  read  as
    21  follows:
    22    (d)  the  wages  or  compensation  or  hours or conditions offered are
    23  substantially less favorable to the claimant than those  prevailing  for
    24  similar  work  in  the locality, or are such as tend to depress wages or
    25  working conditions; or
    26    (e) the claimant is seeking part-time work as provided in  subdivision
    27  five  of  section five hundred ninety-six of this title and the offer of
    28  employment is not comparable to his or her part-time work as defined  in
    29  such subdivision.
    30      3. Subdivision 5 of section 596 of the labor law, as added by chap-
    31  ter 705 of the laws of 1944 and as renumbered by section 148-a of part B
    32  of chapter 436 of the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows:
    33    5. [Short-time worker. A] Part time work.  Notwithstanding  any  other
    34  provisions  of  this  article,  a  claimant  who for reasons personal to
    35  himself or herself is unable or unwilling to work [usual] full time  and
    36  who customarily [works] worked less than the full time prevailing in his
    37  or her place of employment [shall register, when unemployed, as a short-
    38  time worker in such manner as the commissioner shall prescribe. The time
    39  which  such claimant normally works in any calendar week shall be deemed
    40  his week of full-time employment] for a majority  of  the  weeks  worked
    41  during  the  applicable  base  period,  shall not be denied unemployment
    42  insurance solely because the claimant is only seeking  part  time  work.
    43  For  purposes  of  this subdivision, "seeking part time work" shall mean
    44  the claimant is willing to work for a number of hours per week that  are
    45  comparable  to the claimant's part time work during the majority of time
    46  in the base period.
    47     4. Section 601 of the labor law, as added by chapter 2 of  the  laws
    48  of  1971,  paragraphs  (a)  and  (b)  of subdivision 1, paragraph (e) of
    49  subdivision 2, subdivisions 3 and 6 as  amended  and  paragraph  (f)  of
    50  subdivision 2 as added by chapter 554 of the laws of 1982, clause (i) of
    51  subparagraph 1 of paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 as amended by section 3
    52  of  chapter  554 of the laws of 1982, paragraphs (c) and (d) of subdivi-
    53  sion 2 as amended by chapter 1035 of the laws of 1981, subdivision 4  as
    54  amended  by chapter 589 of the laws of 1998, subdivision 5 as amended by
    55  chapter 1034 of the laws of 1981 and paragraph (f) of subdivision  5  as
    56  added by chapter 341 of the laws of 1993, is amended to read as follows:

        S. 4110                             3

     1      601.  Extended  benefits.  1. Definitions. For the purposes of this
     2  section:
     3    (a)  (1)  There  shall  be  a "state 'on' indicator" for a week if, as
     4  determined by the commissioner in accordance with the regulations of the
     5  secretary of labor of the United States, the rate of  insured  unemploy-
     6  ment  for  the  period  consisting of such week and the preceding twelve
     7  weeks [equals or exceeds]
     8    (i) equaled or exceeded five [percentum] per centum and
     9    (ii) equaled or exceeded one hundred and twenty [percentum] per centum
    10  of the average of such rates for the corresponding thirteen-week periods
    11  ending in each of the preceding two calendar years; or
    12    (iii) for weeks of unemployment beginning on or after February  first,
    13  two  thousand  nine  until the week ending three weeks prior to the last
    14  week for which one hundred percent  federal  sharing  is  authorized  by
    15  section 2005(a) of Public Law 111-5, or for weeks of unemployment ending
    16  three  weeks  prior to the last week for which Congress, pursuant to any
    17  future amendment of the Federal State Extended Compensation Act of 1970,
    18  has authorized one hundred  percent  federal  sharing,  which  meet  the
    19  following:
    20    (A)  the  average rate of total unemployment (seasonably adjusted), as
    21  determined by the United States  secretary  of  labor,  for  the  period
    22  consisting of the most recent three months for which data for all states
    23  are  published  before  the close of such week equals or exceeds six and
    24  one-half percent, and
    25    (B) the average rate of total unemployment in  the  state  (seasonably
    26  adjusted),  as  determined  by the United States secretary of labor, for
    27  the three-month period referred to in item (A) of this clause, equals or
    28  exceeds one hundred ten percent of the average for either or both of the
    29  corresponding three-month periods ending in the two  preceding  calendar
    30  years; or
    31    (iv)  for  any  period of high unemployment which shall otherwise meet
    32  all of the provisions of clause (iii) of this subparagraph, except  that
    33  "eight  percent"  is  substituted for "six and one-half percent" in item
    34  (A) of clause (iii) of this subparagraph.
    35    (2) There shall be a "state 'off' indicator" for a week [if, as deter-
    36  mined by the commissioner in accordance  with  the  regulations  of  the
    37  secretary  of  labor  of the United States, for the period consisting of
    38  such week and the preceding twelve weeks either of  the  conditions  set
    39  forth under (i) or (ii) of subparagraph (1) is not met] only, if for the
    40  period  consisting  of  such  week  and the immediately preceding twelve
    41  weeks, none of the options specified in subparagraph one of  this  para-
    42  graph  result  in  an "on" indicator.   Notwithstanding any provision of
    43  this article, there shall be a "state 'off' indicator" with  respect  to
    44  clauses  (iii)  and  (iv)  of subparagraph one of this paragraph for the
    45  week ending three weeks prior to the last week  for  which  one  hundred
    46  percent  federal  sharing is authorized by section 2005(a) of Public Law
    47  111-5 or for the week ending three weeks prior  to  the  last  week  for
    48  which  Congress,  pursuant  to any future amendment of the Federal State
    49  Extended Compensation Act of 1970, has authorized  one  hundred  percent
    50  federal sharing.
    51    (3)  "Rate  of  insured  unemployment"  means for the purposes of this
    52  paragraph the percentage  obtained  upon  dividing  the  average  weekly
    53  number  of  persons filing claims for regular benefits in this state for
    54  unemployment with respect to the most recent thirteen  consecutive  week
    55  period,  as  determined  by  the commissioner on the basis of his or her
    56  reports to the secretary of labor of the United States, by  the  average

        S. 4110                             4

     1  monthly  employment  subject  to  this article for the first four of the
     2  last six calendar quarters ending before the end of such period.  Compu-
     3  tations  required hereunder shall be made in accordance with regulations
     4  prescribed by the secretary of labor of the United States.
     5    (4) "Rate of total unemployment" means, for the purposes of this para-
     6  graph,  the  average percentage obtained by dividing the total number of
     7  unemployed residents of the state for the most recent three  consecutive
     8  months,  as  determined by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics,
     9  by the total civilian labor force of the state for the same  three-month
    10  period,  also as determined by the United States Bureau of Labor Statis-
    11  tics. Computations required hereunder shall be made in  accordance  with
    12  regulations prescribed by the secretary of labor of the United States.
    13    (b) "Extended benefit period" means a period
    14    (1) beginning with the third week after the first week for which there
    15  is a state "on" indicator, except that it may not begin before the four-
    16  teenth week after the end of a prior extended benefit period, and
    17    (2) ending with the third week after the first week for which there is
    18  a  state  "off" indicator, except that the duration of such period shall
    19  in no event be less than thirteen weeks.
    20    [(d)] (c) "Eligibility period" of a claimant means the period consist-
    21  ing of the weeks in his or her benefit year which begin in  an  extended
    22  benefit period and, if his or her benefit year ends within such extended
    23  benefit  period,  any  weeks  thereafter  which  begin  in  such period.
    24  Notwithstanding any provision of this article, a claimant's  eligibility
    25  period  shall include any alternative eligibility period provided for in
    26  section 2005(b) of Public Law 111-5 or other federal law.
    27    [(e)] (d) "Extended benefits" means benefits, including benefits paya-
    28  ble to federal civilian employees and to  ex-servicemen  pursuant  to  5
    29  U.S.C.  chapter  85,  payable to a claimant under the provisions of this
    30  section for unemployment in his or her eligibility period.
    31    [(f)] (e) "Regular benefits" means  benefits  payable  to  a  claimant
    32  under  this article or under any other State unemployment insurance law,
    33  including benefits payable to federal civilian employees and to  ex-ser-
    34  vicemen pursuant to 5 U.S.C. chapter 85, other than extended benefits.
    35    2.  Eligibility  conditions.  Extended  benefits shall be payable to a
    36  claimant for effective days occurring in any week within an  eligibility
    37  period, provided the claimant
    38    (a)  has  exhausted  his  or her rights to regular benefits under this
    39  article in his or her current benefit year or, his or her  benefit  year
    40  having  expired prior to such week, he or she does not have the required
    41  weeks of employment or earnings to establish a new benefit year, and  he
    42  or she has no rights to benefits under the unemployment insurance law of
    43  any other state;
    44    (b)  has  no  rights  to unemployment benefits or allowances under the
    45  railroad unemployment insurance act, the trade expansion act of nineteen
    46  hundred sixty-two, the automotive products trade act of nineteen hundred
    47  sixty-five, or such other federal laws as are specified  in  regulations
    48  issued by the secretary of labor of the United States;
    49    (c)  has  not  received and is not seeking unemployment benefits under
    50  the unemployment compensation law of the Virgin  Islands  or  of  Canada
    51  unless,  if  he  or she is seeking such benefits, the appropriate agency
    52  finally determines that he or she is not entitled to benefits under such
    53  law;
    54    (d) has satisfied the conditions of this article, required to render a
    55  claimant eligible for regular benefits, which are applicable to extended

        S. 4110                             5

     1  benefits, including not being subject to a disqualification  or  suspen-
     2  sion; [and]
     3    (e)  is  not  claiming  benefits pursuant to an interstate claim filed
     4  under the interstate benefit payment plan in a state where  an  extended
     5  benefit  period  is  not in effect, except that this condition shall not
     6  apply with respect to the first eight effective days for which  extended
     7  benefits  shall  otherwise  be  payable  pursuant to an interstate claim
     8  filed under the interstate benefit payment plan; and
     9    (f) in his or her base period has [twenty weeks of full  time  employ-
    10  ment  subject  to this article or] remuneration [which equals or exceeds
    11  forty times his most recent benefit rate] of one and one-half times  the
    12  high  calendar  quarter earnings in accordance with section five hundred
    13  twenty-seven of this article.
    14    3. Extended benefit amounts;  rate  and  duration.  Extended  benefits
    15  shall be paid to a claimant
    16    (a) at a rate equal to his or her rate for regular benefits during his
    17  or her applicable benefit year but
    18    (b)  for not more than fifty-two effective days with respect to his or
    19  her applicable benefit year, with a total maximum amount equal to  fifty
    20  percentum  of  the  total  maximum amount of regular benefits payable in
    21  such benefit year, and
    22    (c) if a claimant's benefit year ends within an extended benefit peri-
    23  od, the remaining balance of extended benefits to which he or she  would
    24  be  entitled,  if  any, shall be reduced by the number of effective days
    25  for which he or she was entitled to receive  trade  readjustment  allow-
    26  ances  under  the  federal  trade  act  of nineteen hundred seventy-four
    27  during such benefit year, and
    28    (d) for periods of high unemployment for not more than  eighty  effec-
    29  tive days with respect to the applicable benefit year with a total maxi-
    30  mum  amount equal to eighty percent of the total maximum amount of regu-
    31  lar benefits payable in such benefit year.
    32    4. Charging of extended benefits. The provisions of paragraph  (e)  of
    33  subdivision one of section five hundred eighty-one of this article shall
    34  apply  to  benefits paid pursuant to the provisions of this section, and
    35  if they were paid for effective days occurring in  weeks  following  the
    36  end  of  a  benefit year, they shall be deemed paid with respect to that
    37  benefit year. However, except for governmental entities  as  defined  in
    38  section  five hundred sixty-five and Indian tribes as defined in section
    39  five hundred sixty-six of this article, only one-half of the  amount  of
    40  such  benefits shall be debited to the employers' account; the remainder
    41  thereof shall be debited to the general account, and such account  shall
    42  be credited with the amount of payments received in the fund pursuant to
    43  the  provisions  of the federal-state extended unemployment compensation
    44  act.   Notwithstanding the foregoing, where the  state  has  entered  an
    45  extended  benefit period triggered pursuant to subparagraph one of para-
    46  graph (a) of subdivision one of  this  section  for  which  federal  law
    47  provides  for  one hundred percent federal sharing of the costs of bene-
    48  fits, all charges shall be debited  to  the  general  account  and  such
    49  account  shall  be  credited with the amount of payments received in the
    50  fund pursuant to the provisions of the federal-state extended  unemploy-
    51  ment  compensation  act  or  other federal law providing for one hundred
    52  percent federal sharing for the cost of such benefits.
    53    5. Applicability of other provisions. (a) Unless inconsistent with the
    54  provisions of this section, all provisions of this article  shall  apply
    55  to  [entended]  extended  benefits  in  the same manner as they apply to
    56  regular benefits.

        S. 4110                             6

     1    (b) No days of total unemployment shall be deemed to occur in any week
     2  within an eligibility period during which a claimant fails to accept any
     3  offer of suitable work or fails to apply for suitable work to  which  he
     4  or she was referred by the commissioner, who shall make such referral if
     5  such  work  is  available,  or  during  which  he or she fails to engage
     6  actively in seeking work by making a systematic and sustained effort  to
     7  obtain work and providing tangible evidence of such effort, and until he
     8  or  she  has  worked in employment during at least four subsequent weeks
     9  and earned remuneration of at least four times his or her benefit rate.
    10    (c) For purposes  of  this  subdivision,  "suitable  work"  means  any
    11  employment which is within the claimant's capabilities, but if he or she
    12  furnishes  evidence  that his or her prospects for obtaining work in his
    13  or her customary occupation within a reasonably short period  are  good,
    14  the  provisions  of subdivision two of section five hundred ninety-three
    15  of this article shall apply instead of the provisions hereof.
    16    (d) Notwithstanding the foregoing, a claimant shall not  be  disquali-
    17  fied for a failure to accept an offer of or apply for suitable work if
    18    (i)  the  gross average weekly remuneration payable for the employment
    19  does not exceed the claimant's benefit  rate  plus  the  amount  of  any
    20  supplemental  unemployment  compensation benefits (as defined in section
    21  five hundred one (c) (17) (D) of the internal revenue code  of  nineteen
    22  hundred fifty-four) payable to the claimant for such week; or
    23    (ii) the employment was not offered to the claimant in writing and was
    24  not listed with the department; or
    25    (iii)  such failure would not result in denial of regular benefits, to
    26  the extent that the provisions of this article for  payment  of  regular
    27  benefits  are  not inconsistent with the provisions of this subdivision;
    28  or
    29    (iv) the employment pays wages less than the  higher  of  the  minimum
    30  wage  provided by section six (a) (1) of the fair labor standards act of
    31  nineteen hundred thirty-eight, without regard to any exemption,  or  the
    32  minimum wage provided under this chapter; or
    33    (v)  the  claimant  is  in  approved training pursuant to section five
    34  hundred ninety-nine of this title.
    35    (e) No days of total unemployment shall be deemed to occur in any week
    36  within an eligibility  period  [with  respect  to  a  claimant  who  was
    37  disqualified  for  twelve  months  for  an  act constituting a felony as
    38  provided in subdivision four of] under section five hundred ninety-three
    39  of this article, until he or she has subsequently worked  in  employment
    40  [on  not  less than three days in each of four weeks or earned remunera-
    41  tion of at least two hundred dollars, whether during  or  subsequent  to
    42  the  twelve  month period] in accordance with the requirements set forth
    43  in section five hundred ninety-three of this article.
    44    [(f) The provisions of paragraphs (b), (c), (d) and (e) of subdivision
    45  five of this section shall not apply to weeks of unemployment  beginning
    46  after  March  sixth,  nineteen  hundred  ninety-three and before January
    47  first, nineteen hundred ninety-five.]
    48    6. Suspension of condition for  state  indicators.  The  governor,  by
    49  executive  order,  upon  advice by the [industrial] commissioner and the
    50  commissioner of [commerce] economic development may for a period  speci-
    51  fied  in the order suspend the applicability of the provisions of [item]
    52  clause (ii) of subparagraph [(1)] one of paragraph  (a)  of  subdivision
    53  one of this section, or of the reference to such [item] subparagraph one
    54  in  subparagraph  [(2)]  two of such paragraph, or of both, if he or she
    55  finds that such suspension is  required  in  order  to  assure  adequate
    56  payment  of  benefits to unemployed workers in the state who are experi-

        S. 4110                             7

     1  encing unemployment for an  extended  duration,  provided  the  rate  of
     2  insured  unemployment  for  the  applicable period equals or exceeds six
     3  [percentum] per centum and such suspension is not in conflict  with  the
     4  provisions  of the federal-state extended unemployment compensation act.
     5  The governor may at any time prolong or shorten the period specified  in
     6  such order.
     7     5. This act shall take effect immediately.

NEW YORK STATE SENATE
INTRODUCER'S MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT
submitted in accordance with Senate Rule VI. Sec 1
 
BILL NUMBER: S4110

SPONSOR: ONORATO?????????????
  TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the labor law, in relation to unemployment insurance benefits and part-time work, voluntary separations from employment, and on/off indicators for extended unemployment insurance benefits; and in relation to extended benefits   PURPOSE: The purpose of this bill is to conform the unemployment insurance (UI) law to federal statutory requirements necessary to allow the State to receive funds for unemployment insurance modernization, of which $29.5 million is reserved for UI administration and $412.7 million is primari- ly reserved for UI benefit payments to claimants under the "UI Modern- ization" portion of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The bill also allows the Commissioner of Labor additional options in determining the "state on indicator" for extended unemploy- ment benefits when Congress has appropriated 100% federal reimbursement for such extended unemployment benefits, which will trigger Federally funded benefit payments under ARRA. The bill further makes technical changes to conform the New York State extended benefits statute to the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970 and other more recent amendments to the State's UI Law.   SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 of the bill would amend Labor Law 593(1) to confirm that individuals who are voluntarily separated from employment due to compel- ling family reasons are eligible for UI benefits. Section 2 of the bill would amend Labor Law 593(2) and 596(5) of the Labor Law to provide that individuals who have worked on a part-time basis for the majority of time during their base period shall remain eligible to receive UI benefits if they are available to work a corre- sponding number of hours in new employment, and may not be disqualified from receiving benefits due to their refusal to accept full-time employ- ment. Section 3 of the bill would make various changes to Labor Law 601, as follows: * Labor Law 601(1)(a)(1) would be amended to expand the definition of "state on indicator" to add an optional "state on indicator" using the State's Total Unemployment Rate (TUR), whenever Congress has appropri- ated funds to fully reimburse the benefit costs from the State UI Trust Fund resulting thereunder, as has occurred under ARRA. * Labor Law 601(1)(a)(2) would be amended to provide that the defi- nition of "state off indicator" is only applicable if none of the options specified in subparagraph 1 result in an "on" indicator. * A new Labor Law 601(1)(a)(4) would be added to provide a definition for the term "rate of total unemployment." Labor Law 601(1)(a)(4) would be amended to extend the eligibility period to include the alternate eligibility period provided for in Section 2005(b) of Public Law 111-5 or other federal law. * The definitions of "extended benefits" and "regular benefits" in Labor Law 601 would be amended to conform to definitions found in federal law and to reflect the alternative extended benefits eligibility period set forth in ARRA. Labor Law 601(2)(t) would be amended to conform language setting forth the earnings requirements for UI eligibility contained in UI Reform legislation enacted as Chapter 589 of the Laws of 1998 with federal law. * Labor Law 601(3) would be amended to provide for additional benefits during "periods of high unemployment," provided Congress provides for 100% sharing of the benefit costs resulting thereunder. * Labor Law 601(4) would be amended to conform the UI benefit charging provisions related to Indian tribes to corresponding language in recent federal legislation covering this topic. This section is also amended to provide that benefit costs for an extended benefit program that are subject to 100% federal sharing shall be charged to the UI general account and credited with such federal payments received in the fund. * Labor Law 601(5) would be amended to provide an exclusion authorized by federal law relating to work search requirements for claimants in approved training programs, and to conform state law to federal law provisions related to disqualifying circumstances and the subsequent work requirements for reestablishing eligibility under Labor Law 593. Section 4 provides that the bill would become effective immediately.   EXISTING LAW: Labor Law 593(1) provides that a voluntary separation from employment may be deemed to be with good cause if such separation was as a conse- quence of circumstances directly resulting from the claimant being a victim of domestic violence. Labor Law 593(2) provides that a claimant shall not be deemed ineligi- ble to receive unemployment benefits as a consequence of refusing to accept employment under certain defined circumstances. Labor Law 596(5) provides that a claimant who is unable or unwilling to work usual full-time hours, and customarily works less than the full time hours prevailing in the place of employment, shall register as a short time worker, and the time which such claimant normally works in any calendar week shall be deemed his week of full-time employment. Labor Law 601 provides that a state "on indicator" for extended bene- fits may be established only by reference to the State's Insured Unem- ployment Rate (IUR). The federal reimbursement rate for extended bene- fits paid using the IUR trigger is 50%. Labor Law 601(1)(a)(4) defines "eligibility period" to mean the period consisting of the weeks within a claimant's benefit year which begin within an extended benefit period until the end of an extended benefit period. Labor Law 601(2)(t) provides that, in order to receive extended bene- fits, a claimant must have twenty weeks of full-time employment or remuneration which equals forty times his most recent benefit rate. Labor Law 601(4) provides that governmental entities must be charged for 100% of the cost of extended benefits because such entities may not receive any share of the federal reimbursement. This section also provides that extended benefits will generally be charged fifty percent to employer accounts and fifty percent to the ill general account, which latter account will be credited with federal funds received pursuant to the federal-state extended unemployment compensation act.   PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None. This is a new proposal.   JUSTIFICATION: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) contains financial incentives for states to modernize their UI laws to make bene- fits more widely and equitably available to the unemployed. These "UI Modernization" incentives would bring nearly $442.2 million of federal funds to New York in the form of an additional $412.7 million dollars in ill benefit money and an additional $29.5 million in UI administrative dollars. One-third of the benefit funds will come to New York by virtue of having provisions which allow an alternative base period for UI eligibility. However, in order for the State to qualify for the remain- ing two thirds of such federal dollars (Le. $275 million), New York State law must contain at least two out of four alternative provisions related to benefit eligibility. New York law already arguably meets the UI Modernization requirements relating to part-time work and voluntary separation for compelling fami- ly reasons. The State's eligibility is, however, based upon the Secre- tary of Labor's reading of case law and decisions implementing New York UI law. Given that $275 million of federal funding is at stake, prudence dictates that state law provisions clearly contain language that meets the requirements of ARRA in this regard, so that there is no doubt as to the State's eligibility to receive this funding. The statutory changes regarding both part-time work (Labor Law 596(5) and 593(2)) and voluntary separations due to compelling family reasons (Labor Law Section 593(1)) set forth in this bill accomplish this goal and have already been approved by the VSDOL as meeting the language requirements set forth in ARRA. Therefore, passage of this bill will ensure that $275 million in UI Modernization funds will come to New York in accordance with the provisions of the ARRA. The vast majority of these dollars will go to benefit payments and will help to address a UI Trust Fund short- fall which is expected to be significant over the next year or more. Other statutory amendments contained in this bill would create an alter- nate trigger for thirteen weeks of additional extended benefits for the State's eligible unemployed based upon the State's TUR. At present, the IUR is New York State's only available trigger. The amendment would make the TUR alternative trigger option available to the Commissioner only if the Congress has appropriated funds to pay 100% of the costs of such extended benefits (except for the State, localities and Indian tribes.) If such federal funds are not available, and the federal government will reimburse states for the cost of benefits at a 50% reimbursement rate, the extended benefit provisions requiring use of the IUR must be used as the on/off indicator. The Department projects that the IUR is not likely to trigger on this year so that the period of 100% reimbursement under the IUR would not likely become effective. In light of this circumstance, the availability of federal funds to reimburse states for extended benefits under ARRA will likely only apply if the State uses the TUR trigger. The Unemployment Compensation Amend- ments of 1992 authorized states to add this optional trigger, but New York State did not do so. At the time, the reimbursement rate offered states as an incentive was 50%. Under ARRA, Congress has provided a 100% reimbursement rate for extended benefits in states triggering on using the TUR. Currently, over 120,000 New Yorkers are receiving extended benefits under the existing 2008 Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. Assuming the same number of New Yorkers would qualify for the federal regular extended benefits program, at an average benefit rate of $311 per week, the thirteen weeks of extended benefits covered by this part of the proposal cost approximately $370 million. New York's most recently calculated TUR of 6.6 percent meets this trigger threshold. Without the statutory authority to use this alternative trigger, New York would not currently qualify for extended benefits since its IUR falls short of the 5% trigger. Unless the IUR rises significantly in the short term, New York will be forced to forego the 100% federal reimbursement for these extended benefits valued at $370 million. The end result of the failure to enact an alternate trigger is that unem- ployed New Yorkers could lose hundreds of millions of dollars of extended benefits, which would otherwise have been released into the local and state economies in the form of payments for items such as food, housing, clothing, utilities, and sales taxes. In light of current economic conditions, the State must do all it can to deliver UI benefits to the unemployed, and make maximum use of all funds available to meet its UI costs and lower the deficit in the State's UI Trust Fund.   FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: The changes proposed in this legislation will bring an estimated $645 million in new federal funding to New York to cover the costs of UI benefits, extended benefits, and the administration of the State UI system. The bill would increase costs on the State and localities, for which benefits are not federally funded under ARRA, by $4 million and $26 million respectively. These added costs will be offset, in part, by increased tax revenue from recipients of UI benefits.   EFFECTIVE DATE: This proposal would take effect immediately upon enactment.

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