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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

Proposed legislation focuses on helping employers, workers
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Sen. Bill Stanley

Monday, January 27, 2014

By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer

State Sen. Bill Stanley's bill that addresses short-term unemployment compensation has passed the Senate and will be sent to the House of Delegates for consideration.

The bill, SB110, would establish a short-term compensation program that provides employers with the option of reducing the hours worked by employees, while permitting them to receive partial compensation for lost wages.

"As we have seen in our area, layoffs by companies can be devastating to the company and employees and our local economy," Stanley said. "My bill keeps workers on the job. Instead of having to be laid off from work in order to receive unemployment compensation, a company can develop a plan that provides for reduced hours of work with supplemental unemployment compensation without loss of health and retirement benefits."

Program participation would require approval by the Virginia Employment Commission. Any plan submitted for approval must provide that the reduction of work hours is in lieu of a layoff.

The bill also states that health and retirement benefits cannot be reduced or eliminated under the plan.

If the bill passes the House and is signed by the governor, the new measure would become effective Jan. 1, 2015.

"This is an important bill that helps to address both the needs of the employer faced with a temporary downturn of its business, and the needs of the employee who otherwise would experience a full layoff," Stanley said. "It also saves Virginia money in reducing payments of unemployment benefits because the employee remains employed."

Another of Stanley's bills (SB266) would allow unemployment recipients to extend their benefits through the completion of a financial literacy course and volunteer service at a nonprofit organization.

And finally, a third bill introduced by Stanley this session would direct the Department of Social Services to provide financial assistance to offset the cost of child care for individuals receiving TANF and to other individuals whose household incomes are less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level. These individuals would need to be employed or participating in job placement, job training or education.

"While new jobs for our region have always been my first priority, I am also focusing on those working individuals who on a daily basis have difficulties making ends meet," Stanley said. "This bill (SB195) will help individuals who are employed or in job training to keep working and rise out of poverty by helping them with their child care costs."

To contact Stanley in Richmond, call 804-698-7520 or email district20@senate.virginia.gov.

 
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