From Illinois Business Journal news services
SPRINGFIELD – Persistence in efforts to improve the state’s business and jobs climate is beginning to pay off with the enactment of new reforms to Illinois’ Unemployment Insurance Program, according to state Sen. Kyle McCarter.
Governor Bruce Rauner on Friday signed House Bill 1285, cosponsored by McCarter, a Republican from Lebanon.
“It’s one step forward to lower employment costs and make the overall cost of business more predictable in Illinois,” said McCarter. “There is more work to do to turn around our state especially in the area of workers’ compensation, but this is an important victory.”
Key provisions of the new law include:
– Gross misconduct on the part of a terminated worker disqualifies that worker from receiving unemployment benefits,
– Protects unemployment benefits of older workers who are laid off and who also receive Social Security income,
– Eliminates a $470 million Unemployment Insurance tax increase on employers scheduled to take effect next year, and
– Prevents a reduction of $300 million in benefits for laid-off workers, also scheduled to take effect in 2016.
“I have been like a squeaky wheel filing this type of reform legislation year after year. It finally got the grease to become law, first passing the Senate on November 10 and the House on December 2,” said McCarter. “
McCarter said pushing for reforms in Springfield can be a slow process, but the effort has paid off. He has advocated for unemployment insurance reforms since 2011. McCarter was appointed to an Unemployment Insurance Working Group of legislators earlier this year. The legislation signed into law by the governor is a result of that group’s efforts.
“I appreciate the opportunity to be part of the working group and to contribute to the effort that brought us to this point,” said McCarter. “The measure gets us closer to making Illinois a competitive state once again and attracting job creators.”