“There is unemployment insurance for steroids,” Chuck Schumer, chairman of the Senate Minority, said Tuesday of the package. “But and above all, the federal government will pay your salary, your full salary for four months now.”
While the additional money in the law would not completely replace the lost wages of some higher paid workers, it would significantly increase regular government benefits for everyone, which averages between $ 200 and $ 550 a week, depending on the state.
“The generosity of this benefit is unprecedented,” said Michele Evermore, senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project. “Because this situation is so different, we have to break all the rules.”
In addition to the expanded controls, the legislature would like to add up to 13 weeks of expanded benefits that would be fully covered by the federal government. State unemployment checks currently take between 12 and 28 weeks, depending on the country. Most countries offer services for up to six months.
The agreement also provides for a new unemployment support pandemic program that provides unemployment benefits to those who are unemployed, partially unemployed or unable to work due to the virus and who are not entitled to traditional benefits. This includes independent contractors and the self-employed, who are normally not entitled to unemployment benefits, and so-called gig workers, who are not eligible in many countries. These benefits would reflect what is available in a person’s condition.
Legislation would also help those whose working hours have been shortened by creating incentives for states to adopt division of labor programs that allow employers to shorten but not lay off working hours. These workers are then entitled to unemployment benefits. Laws on the division of labor already exist in 27 states and in the District of Columbia.
As a rule, those entitled to vacation are entitled to unemployment benefits so that they receive all the benefits extended as part of the economic stimulus package.
However, part-time workers are only unemployed in certain countries. It is unclear what help the Senate contract would offer part-time workers, Evermore said.
The bill also stipulates that the unemployed can receive benefits immediately instead of waiting a week.
Several Republicans protested
The package caught on last minute on Wednesday when several Republican senators objected to the provision of unemployment benefits, saying that unemployed workers would be given more checks than wages.
“This bill pays you more when you are not working than when you are working,” said South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. “They are literally an incentive to remove people from the workforce when we need critical infrastructure that is staffed. If this isn’t a design flaw, it’s the worst idea I’ve seen in a long time.”
Republican critics secured a vote on Wednesday night to change the cap on benefits to 100% of the previous wages of the dismissed workers, but it was not adopted.
Legislation is now going to the house, which is expected to vote on Friday.
The increase in coronavirus layoffs has also prompted many states to expand who is entitled to benefits and to support those who lose their wages because they are sick or quarantined, a sick family member, or a To take care of at home because their children’s schools have closed.
The unemployment benefits in the Senate package would expire at the end of the year.
This story was updated with adoption of the bill by the Senate and additional legislative details.
CNN’s Manu Raju and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.