Sunday, March 29, 2009

Measures to Battle Unemployment

California is one of the states badly hit by the economic slowdown. In fact, the unemployment rate currently stands at 10.5% which is 2% higher than the national jobless rate.

Seeing the need to address this issue, the state senate voted to approve two bills that would provide additional funds to unemployment insurance benefits.

Currently, most California workers receive employment insurance benefits for the duration of 59 weeks. If the proposed bill is approved, AB 23 X3 would give additional 20 weeks of unemployed insurance benefits.

The funds to be used for this benefit would not cause additional burden to the state, as it will come from the federal stimulus package. The Assembly already approved the bill and now awaits Governor Schwarzenegger’s signature.

The second bill, AB 29 X3 was aimed at establishing the “alternative base period” to decide if an unemployed individual who has earned sufficient wages can be eligible for such benefits. If passed, a worker’s recent earnings would be used as basis for one’s determining eligibility, which is more advantageous to seasonal workers.

With the increasing rate of unemployment cases, the primordial consideration is to find ways on how to help unemployed Californians in their daily existence like feeding their family and paying for their bills. The two bills, if enacted, hope to address these needs.

To know that both the Legislature and the Schwarzenegger’s administration are moving and working as a team to deal with this employment dilemma is a relief. It creates the impression that Californians, especially the unemployed, are taken care of by the government.