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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

ETA News Release: [07/07/2011]
Contact Name: David Roberts
Phone Number: (202) 693-5945
Release Number: 11-1028-NAT

Statement by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis on unemployment insurance reform legislation

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding the introduction of federal legislation to reform the unemployment insurance system:

"I am pleased that Sen. Jack Reed and Rep. Rosa DeLauro have introduced legislation to reform the UI system to benefit both workers and employers across the U.S. The legislation put forward promotes short-time compensation, also known as 'work-sharing.'

"Work-sharing is a true win-win for workers and businesses, and an important tool for helping support our economy during tough times. It enhances our social safety net by providing prorated unemployment insurance benefits to individuals whose work hours are reduced in lieu of layoffs. STC keeps workers on the job, keeps their skills sharp and allows businesses to maintain their investment in workers. Additionally, STC helps businesses avoid the cost of recruiting and retraining workers, and keeps them well-positioned to scale up production when business picks up again.

"STC has received strong bipartisan support in a number of states, including Pennsylvania, which recently passed its own STC law. President Obama and I strongly support STC, especially in tough economic times. That's why the president's 2012 budget included a proposal designed to provide employers with immediate access to a temporary federal STC program, and encourage states to adopt and expand use of STC programs.

"The president's budget recommended, and the bills introduced include, a two-year federal STC program. This federal initiative would provide employers in states without their own STC programs immediate access to the benefits it provides. States that have approved shared-work programs could receive up to three years of federal funding. The budget proposal also would provide states with the resources they need to jump-start STC programs, and deliver their benefits effectively to businesses and their workers.

"We are at a critical time, and millions of Americans remain unemployed. I appreciate Sen. Reed's longtime commitment to promoting STC as a common-sense approach to keep people working and businesses running. For workers, their families and the broader pace of our economic recovery, Congress should give these proposals worthy consideration."