senate Bill S722

2011-2012 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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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Mar 12, 2012 committee discharged and committed to rules
Mar 08, 2012 notice of committee consideration - requested
Jan 04, 2012 referred to labor
Jan 05, 2011 referred to labor

S722 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A6136
Current Committee:
Law Section:
Labor Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง599, Lab L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Session:
S2775, A2131

S722 - Bill Texts

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Expands retraining opportunities to unemployed citizens of the state.

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BILL NUMBER:S722 REVISED 01/11/12

TITLE OF BILL:
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

PURPOSE OF BILL:
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.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
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.

EXISTING LAW:
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.

JUSTIFICATION:
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 7.9%, and 9.1% for New York City. Additionally,
the state unemployment rates remain disproportionately high for
minorities-15.6% among blacks and 11.7% among Hispanics.

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 employment.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2009: S.2775 Reported to Finance; A.2131 Referred to Labor
2007-08: A.7993 Referred to Labor

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:
None to the State.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                   722

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen. PERALTA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Labor

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

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

  Section  1. Section 599 of the labor law, as amended by chapter 593 of
the laws of 1991, is amended to read as follows:
  S 599.  Career and related training; preservation of  eligibility.  1.
Notwithstanding  any  other  provision of this article, a claimant shall
not become ineligible for benefits because  of  the  claimant's  regular
attendance in a program of training which the commissioner has approved.
The  commissioner  shall give due consideration to existing and prospec-
tive conditions of the labor market in the state,  taking  into  account
present  and  anticipated  supply and demand regarding the occupation or
skill to which the training relates, and to any other relevant factor. A
DETERMINATION OF POTENTIAL ELIGIBILITY FOR BENEFITS UNDER  THIS  ARTICLE
SHALL  BE  ISSUED  TO AN UNEMPLOYED INDIVIDUAL IF THE COMMISSIONER FINDS
THAT THE TRAINING IS AUTHORIZED BY THE FEDERAL WORKFORCE INVESTMENT ACT,
THE DEPARTMENT, THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION, CORRECTION-
AL SERVICES, HEALTH, OR THE OFFICE OF MENTAL HEALTH,  THE  EMPIRE  STATE
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, OR THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK EDUCATIONAL
OPPORTUNITY  CENTER. However, in no event shall the commissioner approve
[such] training for a claimant NOT AUTHORIZED BY SUCH LEGISLATIVE ACT OR
STATE OR QUASI-STATE ENTITY LISTED ABOVE unless:
  (a) (1) the training will upgrade the  claimant's  existing  skill  or
train the claimant for an occupation likely to lead to more regular long
term  employment;    ENABLE  CLAIMANT TO OBTAIN EMPLOYMENT THAT ACHIEVES
WAGE PRESERVATION OR MAKES PROGRESS TOWARD A FAMILY-SUSTAINING WAGE; or

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD02812-01-1

S. 722                              2

  (2) employment opportunities for the claimant are or may  be  substan-
tially impaired because of:
  (i)  existing  or  prospective  conditions  of the labor market in the
locality or in the state or reduced opportunities for employment in  the
claimant's occupation or skill; or
  (ii)  technological change, plant closing or plant removal, discontin-
uance of specific plant operations, or similar reasons; or
  (iii) limited opportunities for employment throughout the year due  to
the seasonal nature of the industry in which the claimant is customarily
employed; or
  (iv)  the  claimant's personal traits such as physical or mental hand-
icap; and
  (b) the training, INCLUDING REMEDIAL EDUCATION WHICH  IS  INTEGRAL  TO
CAREER  ADVANCEMENT  OR REQUIRED FOR COMPLETING CAREER-RELATED TRAINING,
relates to an occupation or skill for which there are, or  are  expected
to  be  in  the immediate future, reasonable employment opportunities in
the state; and
  (c) the training is offered by a competent  and  reliable  agency  and
does not require more than twenty-four months to complete; and
  (d)  the  claimant  has  the  required qualifications and aptitudes to
complete the training successfully.
  2. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a claimant
attending an approved training course or program under this section  may
receive  additional  benefits  of  up to one hundred four effective days
following exhaustion of regular and, if in effect,  any  other  extended
benefits,  provided  that  entitlement  to a new benefit claim cannot be
established. Certification of continued satisfactory  participation  and
progress  in  such  training  course or program must be submitted to the
commissioner prior to the payment of any such benefits. [The duration of
such additional benefits shall in no case exceed  twice  the  number  of
effective  days of regular benefits to which the claimant is entitled at
the time the claimant is accepted in, or  demonstrates  application  for
appropriate  training.] ANY UNEMPLOYED INDIVIDUAL RECEIVING UNEMPLOYMENT
INSURANCE BENEFITS PAYABLE UNDER  THIS  SUBDIVISION,  WHO  NOTIFIES  THE
DEPARTMENT  WITH  THE  INTENT  TO SEEK TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES UNDER THIS
ARTICLE NO LATER THAN THE SIXTEENTH WEEK OF HIS OR HER  RECEIVING  BENE-
FITS,  AND  IS  DETERMINED  ELIGIBLE FOR BENEFITS UNDER THIS ARTICLE, IS
ENTITLED TO A TRAINING EXTENSION OF THE FULL ONE HUNDRED FOUR  EFFECTIVE
DAYS  ON  HIS  OR  HER UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION CLAIM, IF NECESSARY, TO
COMPLETE APPROVED TRAINING.
  (b) No more than [twenty] FIFTY million dollars of benefits  per  year
shall  be  made available for payment to claimants participating in such
courses or programs.
  (c) Participation in such training course  or  program  shall  not  be
limited  to any selected areas or localities of the state but subject to
the availability of funds, shall be available to any claimant  otherwise
eligible to participate in training courses or programs pursuant to this
section.
  (d) The additional benefits paid to a claimant shall be charged to the
general account.
  3. Notwithstanding any other provision of this article, a claimant who
is  in training approved under the federal trade act of nineteen hundred
seventy-four shall not be disqualified or become ineligible for benefits
because he is in such training or because he left  employment  which  is
not  suitable  employment  to  enter such training. For purposes hereof,
"suitable employment" means work of  a  substantially  equal  or  higher

S. 722                              3

skill  level  than the claimant's past adversely affected employment and
for which the remuneration is not less than eighty percent of the claim-
ant's average weekly wage.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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