senate Bill S673A

Relates to increasing the maximum benefit rate for unemployment insurance

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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  • 05 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO LABOR
  • 16 / Dec / 2011
    • AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO LABOR
  • 16 / Dec / 2011
    • PRINT NUMBER 673A
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO LABOR
  • 21 / Feb / 2012
    • NOTICE OF COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION - REQUESTED
  • 12 / Mar / 2012
    • COMMITTEE DISCHARGED AND COMMITTED TO RULES

Summary

Relates to increasing the maximum benefit rate for unemployment insurance.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A6137A
Versions:
S673
S673A
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Rules
Law Section:
Labor Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §§518 & 590, Lab L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2009-2010: S2245B, A4921B
2007-2008: S8742, A11642

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S673A REVISED 01/09/12

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the labor law, in relation to the unemployment insurance law,
increasing the maximum benefit rate for unemployment insurance

PURPOSE:
The bill intends to increase the maximum weekly unemployment benefit
rate and restore fiscal health to the state's Unemployment Insurance
Trust Fund.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section one of the bill amends section 518 of the labor law to
gradually increase the taxable wage base for employer contributions
to the Unemployment Insurance Trust fund until 2014, after which the
Department of Labor would calculate the wage base needed to fund
annual increases for the maximum weekly benefit.

Section two of the bill amends section 590 of the Labor Law to increase
in the maximum weekly unemployment benefit rate to $475 as of July
2012, to $525 as of July 2013, to $600 as of July 2014, and to $650
as of July 2015, after which the maximum weekly benefit would equal
one-half of the state average weekly wage as annually calculated by the
State Department of Labor.

Section three establishes the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION:
New York State's unemployment rate stood at 8.0% in November 2010 with
more than 750,000 New Yorkers out of work. In the New York City
metropolitan area, the rate is nearly 9%, and disproportionately
higher for Hispanics and African-Americans. The State's long-term
unemployment rate, which tracks those who are unemployed for 27 weeks
or more, was 43.8% in 2010 exceeding the national average of 39.2%.

The State's unemployment benefit rate and taxable wage base have not
been raised since 1998.
Due to the large number of persons filing for unemployment benefits,
the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund has become insolvent. The State
has had to borrow from the federal government to pay benefits and
currently owes more than $3 billion. This deficit is expected to rise
by an additional $1 billion during each of the next few years if
nothing is done to address the problem.

The limited amount of stimulus funds provided under the American
Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) does not resolve this
long-term crisis to the Trust Fund. Both employers and the State will
face significant new costs if the Trust Fund is not restored to
fiscal health. The continued insolvency of the Fund will result in
higher federal unemployment taxes for employers. When the Fund is

solvent, employers may receive a federal credit reduction against the
6.2% federal tax they pay under the Federal Unemployment Trust Act
(FUTA), which reduces their tax liability to .8%. When the Fund
lacks sufficient contributions to repay
borrowed money by the federal deadlines, the FUTA credit is reduced,
which increases the net federal tax rate for employers. without this
legislation, the increased tax cost to New York employers is
projected to reach $6.4 billion during the period of 2009-2018.

The failure to increase the taxable wage base will also cost the State
millions of dollars in interest on its federal loan. Although the
ARRA waived some interest for a brief period, New York is projected
to owe a total of $840 million over the next five years. Under the
bill, however, the State's interest on the loan would continually
decline until 2016, when the Trust Fund's solvency would be restored.

The legislation would also increase the maximum weekly benefit rate of
$405 which was enacted more than a decade ago. Since then, the
spending power of $405 has declined by more than 20% to
approximately $322. The current benefit rate is based on one-half of
the state's average weekly wage in 1998. If this rate were adjusted
to the current average weekly wage, the benefit would be closer to
$575. The legislation proposes a more modest increase in the initial
years following enactment in an effort to strike a balance between
the need to increase benefits and raise employer contributions. New
York's current benefit level places many unemployed workers and their
families below the poverty threshold. The state's weekly benefit rate
is much lower than that of nearby states including New Jersey ($600),
Connecticut ($537), and Massachusetts ($628).

The need to raise unemployment benefits and the taxable wage base
grows more urgent each year. Because benefits have not been
increased, workers who have recently received extended unemployment
benefits from the federal government have been deprived of additional
income they and their families need at this difficult time. The
failure to act also hurts local economies.
Studies show that every dollar provided to workers returns
approximately $1.64 through local purchases for rent, food and other
basics, which in turn helps local businesses and generates tax
revenues.

The unemployment system was established to help New Yorkers support
themselves after they lose their jobs through no fault of their own
until they can find new work. This legislation will protect New
York's unemployment system by ensuring the fiscal health of the Trust
Fund, and in so doing, help avoid new costs for employers and the
State if solvency of the Fund is not restored.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2010: S.2245-B Advanced to 3rd Reading
2009: S.2245 - Advanced to 3rd Reading

A.4921 Advanced to Ways & Means
2008: S.8742 - Referred to Rules A.11642 Advanced to Ways & Means

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This bill will take effect immediately, provided that section one will
take effect 30 days after it becomes law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                 673--A

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. PERALTA, ADDABBO, AVELLA, KRUEGER, SQUADRON -- read
  twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to  the
  Committee  on  Labor  --  committee  discharged, bill amended, ordered
  reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee

AN ACT to amend the labor law, in relation to the unemployment insurance
  law, increasing the maximum benefit rate for unemployment insurance

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section  1. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 518 of the labor
law, as amended by chapter 589 of the laws of 1998, is amended  to  read
as follows:
  (a)  "Wages"  means  all remuneration paid, except that such term does
not include remuneration paid to an employee by an employer after [eight
thousand five hundred] NINE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED  FIFTY  dollars  have
been  paid  to such employee by such employer with respect to employment
during any calendar year PRECEDING THE FIRST DAY OF JANUARY,  TWO  THOU-
SAND  THIRTEEN,  NOR  TO  INCLUDE REMUNERATION PAID TO AN EMPLOYEE BY AN
EMPLOYER AFTER TWELVE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS HAVE  BEEN  PAID  TO
SUCH  EMPLOYEE  BY  SUCH  EMPLOYER WITH RESPECT TO EMPLOYMENT DURING ANY
CALENDAR YEAR PRECEDING THE FIRST DAY OF JANUARY, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN,
NOR TO INCLUDE REMUNERATION PAID TO AN EMPLOYEE  BY  AN  EMPLOYER  AFTER
THIRTEEN  THOUSAND  FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS HAVE BEEN PAID TO SUCH EMPLOYEE
BY SUCH EMPLOYER WITH RESPECT TO EMPLOYMENT  DURING  ANY  CALENDAR  YEAR
PRECEDING  THE  FIRST  DAY  OF  JANUARY,  TWO  THOUSAND FIFTEEN. IN EACH
SUCCEEDING CALENDAR YEAR, THE DEPARTMENT SHALL CALCULATE THE BASE AMOUNT
OF REMUNERATION NECESSARY FROM WHICH TO PRODUCE  SUFFICIENT  PREMIUM  TO
PROVIDE  FOR THE ANNUAL INCREASES IN MAXIMUM WEEKLY BENEFIT PROVIDED FOR
IN THIS ARTICLE, AND OTHER FUNDING FOR THE UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE  TRUST
FUND  PURSUANT  TO SECTION FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY OF THIS ARTICLE, AS MAY BE
NECESSARY. The term "employment"  includes  for  the  purposes  of  this

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD03075-02-1

S. 673--A                           2

subdivision  services  constituting  employment  under  any unemployment
compensation law of another state or the United States.
  S  2.  Subdivision  5  of  section 590 of the labor law, as amended by
chapter 413 of the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows:
  5. Benefit rate. A claimant's weekly benefit amount shall be one twen-
ty-sixth of the remuneration paid during the highest calendar quarter of
the base period by employers, liable for contributions  or  payments  in
lieu  of  contributions under this article. However, for claimants whose
high calendar quarter remuneration during the base period is three thou-
sand five hundred seventy-five dollars or less, the benefit amount shall
be one twenty-fifth of the remuneration paid during the highest calendar
quarter of the base period by  employers  liable  for  contributions  or
payments  in  lieu  of  contributions under this article.   Any claimant
whose high calendar quarter remuneration during the base period is  more
than  three  thousand five hundred seventy-five dollars shall not have a
weekly benefit amount less than one  hundred  forty-three  dollars.  The
weekly benefit amount, so computed, that is not a multiple of one dollar
shall  be  [lowered  to]  the  next multiple of one dollar. On the first
Monday of September, nineteen hundred ninety-eight  the  weekly  benefit
amount  shall  not  exceed  three hundred sixty-five dollars nor be less
than forty dollars, until the first Monday of September,  two  thousand,
at  which  time the maximum benefit payable pursuant to this subdivision
shall equal one-half of  the  state  average  weekly  wage  for  covered
employment  as  calculated  by the department no sooner than July first,
two thousand and no later  than  August  first,  two  thousand,  rounded
[down]  to  the  [lowest] NEXT dollar.  ON THE FIRST MONDAY OF JULY, TWO
THOUSAND TWELVE, THE WEEKLY BENEFIT SHALL NOT EXCEED FOUR HUNDRED SEVEN-
TY-FIVE DOLLARS NOR LESS THAN  SEVENTY-FIVE  DOLLARS,  UNTIL  THE  FIRST
MONDAY  OF  JULY, TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN AT WHICH TIME THE WEEKLY BENEFIT
SHALL NOT EXCEED FIVE  HUNDRED  TWENTY-FIVE  DOLLARS,  UNTIL  THE  FIRST
MONDAY  OF  JULY, TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN AT WHICH TIME THE MAXIMUM WEEKLY
BENEFIT SHALL NOT EXCEED SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS UNTIL THE FIRST  MONDAY  OF
JULY,  TWO  THOUSAND  FIFTEEN,  AT WHICH TIME THE MAXIMUM WEEKLY BENEFIT
SHALL NOT EXCEED SIX HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS UNTIL  THE  FIRST  MONDAY  OF
JULY, TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN AT WHICH TIME THE MAXIMUM BENEFIT PURSUANT TO
THIS  SUBDIVISION  SHALL EQUAL ONE-HALF OF THE STATE AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE
AS CALCULATED BY THE DEPARTMENT NO SOONER THAN JULY FIRST, TWO  THOUSAND
SIXTEEN  AND  NOT  LATER  THAN AUGUST FIRST, TWO THOUSAND SIXTEEN AND ON
JULY FIRST OF EACH SUCCEEDING YEAR THE MAXIMUM BENEFIT SHALL EQUAL  ONE-
HALF  OF  THE  STATE AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE AS CALCULATED BY THE DEPARTMENT
ANNUALLY PURSUANT TO THE  MANNER  DESCRIBED  IN  THIS  SUBDIVISION.  FOR
PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, THE TERM "STATE AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE" SHALL
MEAN THE AVERAGE WEEKLY WAGE OF THE STATE FOR THE PREVIOUS CALENDAR YEAR
AS  REPORTED  BY  THE  COMMISSIONER  TO  THE SUPERINTENDENT OF FINANCIAL
SERVICES ON MARCH THIRTY-FIRST.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately and  shall  apply  to  all
claims  filed  on  and  after  the effective date of this act; provided,
however, that section one of this act shall take effect on the thirtieth
day after it shall have become a law.

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