senate Bill S2775

2009-2010 Legislative Session

Expands retraining opportunities to unemployed citizens of the state

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee

  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
May 17, 2010 reported and committed to finance
Jan 06, 2010 referred to labor
Apr 20, 2009 reported and committed to finance
Mar 02, 2009 referred to labor


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May 17, 2010 - Labor committee Vote

Aye with Reservations
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Labor Committee Vote: May 17, 2010

excused (1)

S2775 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Labor Law

S2775 - Bill Texts

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An act to amend the labor law, in relation to expanding eligibility
for unemployed workers who would benefit from retraining and increase
funding for the provision of extended unemployment insurance benefits

To ensure meaningful opportunities for retraining in a new economy by
expanding access to extended unemployment benefits for jobless workers
while they are in approved training programs.

Section 1 of the bill amends Labor Law section 599(1) to expand
training opportunities for unemployed workers in the 599 extended
benefits program. The Commissioner of Labor may approve training
provided by the Workforce Investment Act; the State Departments of
Labor, Education, Correctional Services, Health or Mental Health; the
Empire State Development Corporation; or the SUNY Educational
opportunity Center. The Commissioner may consider whether the training
enables the worker to obtain employment that pays a family sustaining
wage. The training may include remedial education needed for the
worker's career advancement or completion.

Section 2 of the bill amends Labor Law section 599 (2) to allow
workers approved for training to access the full 26 weeks of extended
benefits if they provide timely notice to the Commissioner. The cap on
the use of funds from the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund would be
increased from $20 million to $50 million.

Labor law section 599 allows workers to receive extended employment
benefits while participating in a training program approved by the
Commissioner of Labor. The Commissioner must consider whether the
training will upgrade the worker's skills or lead to more regular long
term employment. The duration of extended benefits may not exceed
twice the number of regular benefits the worker is entitled to at the
time he or she is approved for training. The current cap on the use of
funds from the unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is $20 million.

The unemployment insurance program was originally designed for an
industrial economy where unemployment mainly resulted from temporary
layoffs or furloughs when a factory shut down, due to the possibility
that workers were likely to be reemployed in a job requiring the same
skills, re-training was not a focus of the original unemployment
insurance program.

A greater share of today's unemployed, however, require re-training in
order to become gainfully employed. The current unemployment rate for
New York State is 8.6%, and 10% for New York City which also has an
unemployment rate of 38.7% for African-Americans and 23% for
Hispanics. The state continues to lose private sector jobs which have
decreased by 1.2% since March 2009. Manufacturing has lost the most
jobs, and the financial industry now comprises the fourth largest
group of unemployment filers.

Many of these unemployed workers need new training and education to
apply for new positions with employers that require a workforce with
upgraded skills to perform in the new economy. The 599 extended
benefits program additionally promotes access to training for lower
wage workers to upgrade their place in the labor market and helps
downsized workers regain their footing in the middle class.

While the state's UI system does not provide funds to pay for training
courses, it can address a major problem related to retraining.
Numerous jobless workers decide to drop out or do not pursue training
or skills upgrading because they need to take a job -- even a
substandard one -- to support their families and make ends meet. This
bill will enable them to continue or enroll in training programs until
they obtain the skills needed to secure new jobs. In addition, should
Congress decide not to continue granting extensions of unemployment
benefits, the 599 program will provide a vital link to unemployed
workers so that they secure new jobs more quickly and become
re-employed. By continuing the payment of unemployment benefits to
workers enrolled in training, the 599 program offers working families
a meaningful opportunity to break the cycle of unemployment and under

2009: S.2775 reported to Finance; A.2131 referred to Labor.
2007-08: A.7993 referred to Labor.

None to the State.

This act shall take effect immediately.
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