DENVER, CO – The House FInance Committee today passed legislation sponsored by Representatives David Ortiz and Marc Snyder to save people and businesses money and improve unemployment insurance in Colorado.
“From reducing filing fees to start your own business to reducing property taxes on commercial and residential properties, we’re doing everything we can to save business and people money as they deal with rising costs from pandemic-induced inflation,” said Rep. David Ortiz, D-Littleton. “This legislation supports workers by improving the unemployment system and saves employers and employees money.”
“Workers relied on the unemployment system during the pandemic to make ends meet and pay for everyday necessities as they worked to get back on their feet, and as a result, we avoided a full blown economic crisis,” said Rep. Marc Snyder, D-Manitou Springs. “This legislation will avoid significant cost increases on businesses and improve how we deliver benefits to workers. It also extends a successful change that allows workers to get back to work sooner with part time employment without being penalized by losing part of their benefits.”
SB22-234, which passed by a vote of 9-2, would 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.
SB22-234 invests $600 million to shore up the solvency of the UITF and protect against potential future economic downturns. This will save businesses money on premiums and surcharges 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. By extending the suspension of the solvency surcharge, a fee placed on employers until the Unemployment Trust Fund reaches solvency, the bill saves businesses money while they continue recovering from the pandemic induced recession.
The bill 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, in order to make it easier 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 receive the benefits they already contribute to and their employers pay premiums into.
The bill 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 to ensure workers are not unnecessarily penalized for errors or miscalculations made by administrators or their employer explores the feasibility of a dependency allowance to better support primary caregivers as they return to work, and requires employers to inform all workers of their unemployment benefit eligibility upon separation.