2/24/14 Legislative Update

Last week my General, Housing and Military Affairs committee voted unanimously in favor of a bill that would allow spouses of military personnel to receive unemployment if the spouse is transferred to another location. By current statute, “trailing” spouses are ineligible for these benefits.

In other words, an individual would not be disqualified for unemployment benefits if the individual left their employment to accompany a spouse who is on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces and is required to relocate by the U.S. Armed Forces due to permanent change of station orders, activation orders, or unit deployment orders, and when relocation would make it impractical or impossible, as determined by the Commissioner, for the individual to continue working for their current employer.

The bill also ensures that the experience-rating record of the employer shall not be charged for benefits paid to an individual who voluntarily separates from that employer under such conditions.

We also heard testimony from the Department of Labor that the cost of this benefit, estimated to be between several hundred dollars and $5,000, would be easily absorbed by the unemployment compensation fund; costing the average employer about $1 per year.

If passed by the House and Senate, H. 275 will take effect on July 1, 2014.