Rauner reaches accord on unemployment insurance reforms
Gov. Bruce Rauner has come to an agreement with business and labor leaders on a package of new unemployment insurance reforms for Illinois.
The changes trim seven qualifying situations from a list of instances in which a worker could apply for unemployment insurance. Under current rules, employees who were let go from a job because they had falsified application information, used drugs or alcohol during work hours, damaged an employer's property, or violated written company policies were are all still eligible for unemployment benefits.
“We have a lot of work left to turn around Illinois, but today’s agreement is a step towards making us more competitive so we can increase investment in the state and grow jobs,” Rauner said. “I want to thank the legislators involved in crafting this agreement and urge the legislature to swiftly pass legislation and send it to my desk.”
The agreement was painted as a common-sense reform that made sense for labor leaders and business representatives alike and is aimed at saving money as well as providing benefits for those who deserve them .
“On behalf of the employer community, we would like to thank our counterparts in labor, the Rauner Administration and the representatives of the four legislative caucuses who all played valuable roles in reaching this agreement,” Rob Karr , President and CEO of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, said. “While the discussions were rigorous, they were always fair and ultimately productive.”
The agreement would also allow Social Security recipients to receive a full unemployment insurance package, returning $25 million to local seniors. Illinois is currently one of two states that deduct half of a recipient's social security amount from their unemployment insurance benefits.
There were more than 352,000 people unemployed in Illinois as of September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.