SB22-234 will invest $600 million to improve and expand unemployment benefits, create a more resilient future economy
DENVER, CO – The Colorado General Assembly today celebrated the signing of a bill by Governor Jared Polis to save businesses money and improve unemployment insurance for Colorado workers.
Sponsored by Senators Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, as well as Representatives David Ortiz, D-Littleton, and Marc Snyder, D-Manitou Springs, SB22-234 will infuse the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund (UITF) with pandemic relief funds while expanding eligibility and improving benefits to help support Colorado’s working families.
“When the pandemic hit and thousands of Coloradans lost their jobs, the state’s unemployment insurance program was there to help families pay rent and keep food on the table,” Hansen said. “Now we’re doubling down to protect this critical safety net for working families and our economy by investing hundreds of millions into unemployment insurance to protect future solvency while improving and expanding the benefits it offers. This law will better prepare us to weather any future economic downturns, and help make sure unemployment insurance continues to benefit working Colorado families for years to come.”
“I’m proud Governor Polis has signed our bipartisan legislation into law that will save businesses and employees money and improve how Colorado delivers critical unemployment assistance,” Ortiz said. “By replenishing the unemployment trust fund, businesses will avoid cost increases, and it will cost them less to bring on new workers. I’m proud that this legislation also helps Coloradans get back to work by allowing workers to accept part time jobs without being penalized.”
“This bipartisan legislation was one of businesses’ top priorities this session, and I’m proud that we have delivered this critical relief,” Snyder said. “Small businesses and workers are the backbone of our economy, and they deserve an unemployment assistance program that delivers for them. The law Governor Polis signed today will help our economy continue to grow and save businesses money that they can use to increase wages or expand their operations.”
SB22-234 invests $600 million to shore up the solvency of the UITF and protect the Fund against potential future economic downturns. This will save businesses money on premiums and provide certainty to workers who depend on unemployment benefits to continue paying for essentials like food, rent, and transportation while they search for new work.
The new law makes further improvements to ensure the unemployment system works better for Colorado families. It raises the benefit amount part-time workers can receive from 25 percent to 50 percent of the weekly benefit amount, removing disincentives for workers who are laid off to find part-time employment while seeking a full-time job. It also creates a Benefit Recovery Fund to ensure that workers in Colorado who lack work authorization can access the benefits they contribute to and their employers pay premiums into.
The law also eliminates the one-week waiting period to help workers access their benefits as quickly as possible once the Fund reaches a sustainable level, clarifies what constitutes an overpayment, and requires employers to inform their workers of their unemployment benefit eligibility upon separation.