facebook linkedin twitter

Wyden and Schumer Work to Avert Looming Financial Disaster for Millions of Workers

December 8, 2020 by Sean Trambley

WASHINGTON — This week, the American Worker Holiday Relief Act was introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.

“With the economy backsliding as COVID-19 cases explode nationwide, Senate Republicans are set to push millions of American families off a cliff, leaving them with no way to pay rent or feed their families the day after Christmas. Our bill would provide relief for workers who are hanging by a thread through no fault of their own,” Wyden said. “The road to recovery will be a long one, particularly for workers in the hardest hit services industries, whether it’s bars, restaurants, events, or tourism. In recognition of this painful reality, our bill ties relief programs to economic conditions on the ground. Whether or not you can pay rent or feed your family should not depend on whether or not Mitch McConnell sees it in his political interest.” 

The bill would retroactively extend the $600 weekly federal boost to unemployment insurance benefits through October 2021, as well as tie the additional weeks of federal benefits and new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program for gig and freelance workers to economic conditions on the ground. 

The additional weeks of federal benefits and the program for gig and freelance workers would not expire as long as the three month average national unemployment rate is above 5.5%, and will stay available longer in states where unemployment remains high.

“Right now our country is living through the worst stretch of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re averaging over one million new cases a week, hospitals and ICUs are stretched to capacity, and the economic pain felt by countless working families and small business owners is reaching a breaking point because Senate Republicans won’t join us in extending critical unemployment relief,” Schumer said. “The bill announced today would help everyone from actors and musicians to health care workers and small businesses owners and anyone else who’s lost their job through no fault of their own during this deadly pandemic. We face a tough road ahead and Republicans need to join us in passing legislation that meets the moment instead of continuing to put their political priorities ahead of hardworking Americans who are trying to feed their kids and keep a roof over their family’s head.”

The bill would add 26 weeks of federal benefits for workers receiving traditional unemployment insurance. An additional 13 weeks of benefits would be added for each percentage point a state’s unemployment rate rises above 5.5%, up to a maximum of 78 weeks when a state’s unemployment rate is above 8.5%.

The bill would also strengthen the PUA program by adding 26 weeks of benefits and clarifying that workers who need to care for children whose schools are not fully open for in-person learning, or whose employers are not following COVID-19 health and safety rules are covered by the program.

The additional weeks would harmonize benefits for workers covered by traditional unemployment insurance and the PUA program. 

Rebecca Dixon, National Employment Law Project executive director, said, “NELP commends Senators Schumer, Wyden, Brown, Bennet, and Reed for introducing the American Worker Holiday Relief Act, a bill that responds to the urgent needs of millions of workers who are currently unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. These dual crises have devastated Black and Latinx workers the most and it is imperative that Congress proceed with relief that will make support accessible to every worker possible. We hope that Congress follows the lead of these Senators and moves to pass this bill as quickly as possible.”

Full text of the bill is available here and a section-by-section summary of the bill is available here.

Employment

Nursing Schools See Applications Rise, Despite COVID Burnout

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Nurses around the U.S. are getting burned out by the COVID-19 crisis and quitting, yet applications... Read More

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Nurses around the U.S. are getting burned out by the COVID-19 crisis and quitting, yet applications to nursing schools are rising, driven by what educators say are young people who see the global emergency as an opportunity and a challenge. Among them... Read More

Americans Quit Their Jobs at a Record Pace in August

WASHINGTON (AP) — One reason America's employers are having trouble filling jobs was starkly illustrated in a report Tuesday: Americans... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — One reason America's employers are having trouble filling jobs was starkly illustrated in a report Tuesday: Americans are quitting in droves.  The Labor Department said that quits jumped to 4.3 million in August, the highest on records dating back to December 2000, and... Read More

US Employers Add a Weak 194,000 Jobs as Delta Maintains Hold

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added just 194,000 jobs in September, a second straight tepid gain and evidence that the... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added just 194,000 jobs in September, a second straight tepid gain and evidence that the pandemic still has a grip on the economy with many companies struggling to fill millions of open jobs.  Friday's report from the Labor Department  also showed... Read More

October 6, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
Mental Health Practices Are Changing in Work Places

A new report from Mind Share Partners, a non-profit changing the culture of workplace mental health, finds that there has... Read More

A new report from Mind Share Partners, a non-profit changing the culture of workplace mental health, finds that there has been an increase in employees leaving jobs for mental health reasons, and companies are taking new steps to address employee's mental health. As a follow-up to... Read More

US Unemployment Claims Rise Third Straight Week to 362,000

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose for the third straight week, a sign that... Read More

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose for the third straight week, a sign that the highly contagious delta variant may be slowing the job market's recovery. Claims rose by 11,000 last week to 362,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Since... Read More

September 28, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
House Seeks More Job Protections for Nursing Mothers and Older Applicants

WASHINGTON -- A congressional panel on Monday considered whether changes are needed to two proposals for expanding workplace rights of... Read More

WASHINGTON -- A congressional panel on Monday considered whether changes are needed to two proposals for expanding workplace rights of nursing mothers and older job applicants before submitting them to final votes by lawmakers. The holdup on the bills is confusion about whether they would protect... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top