Senate Bill #370 (2019)

AN ACT RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - EMPLOYMENT SECURITY - BENEFITS

Increases the maximum weekly unemployment benefit rate to the higher of fifty-seven and one-half percent (57.5%) of the average weekly wages paid to workers in the prior calendar year or six hundred thirty-six dollars ($636) per week.

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Changes since original draft

  • 2019 – S 0370
  • 2019 – S 0370 AS AMENDED
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  • LC000723
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  • S T A T E O F R H O D E I S L A N D
  • IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
  • JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 2019
  • ____________
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - EMPLOYMENT SECURITY -
  • BENEFITS
  • Introduced By: Senators McCaffrey, Goodwin, Ciccone, Cano, and Lawson
  • Date Introduced: February 13, 2019
  • Referred To: Senate Labor
  • It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
  • SECTION 1. Section 28-44-6 of the General Laws in Chapter 28-44 entitled "Employment Security - Benefits" is hereby amended to read as follows:
  • 28-44-6. Weekly benefits for total unemployment – Year established – Dependents' allowance.
  • (a)(1) The benefit rate payable under this chapter to any eligible individual with respect to any week of his or her total unemployment, when that week occurs within a benefit year, shall be, for benefit years beginning on or after October 1, 1989 and prior to July 1, 2012, four and sixty-two hundredths percent (4.62%) of the wages paid to the individual in that calendar quarter of the base period in which the individual's wages were highest;
  • (2) The benefit rate payable under this chapter to any eligible individual with respect to any week of his or her total unemployment, when that week occurs within a benefit year, shall be, for benefit years beginning on or after July 1, 2012 and prior to July 1, 2013, four and thirty-eight hundredths percent (4.38%) of the average quarterly wage paid to the individual in the two (2) calendar quarters of the base period in which the individual's wages were highest;
  • (3) The benefit rate payable under this chapter to any eligible individual with respect to any week of his or her total unemployment, when that week occurs within a benefit year, shall be, for benefit years beginning on or after July 1, 2013 and prior to July 1, 2014, four and fifteen hundredths percent (4.15%) of the average quarterly wage paid to the individual in the two calendar quarters of the base period in which the individual's wages were highest;
  • (4) The benefit rate payable under this chapter to any eligible individual with respect to any week of his or her total unemployment, when that week occurs within a benefit year, shall be, for benefit years beginning on or after July 1, 2014, three and eighty-five hundredths percent (3.85%) of the average quarterly wage paid to the individual in the two calendar quarters of the base period in which the individual's wages were highest;
  • (5) Provided, that the benefit rate prior to July 1, 2012 shall not be more than sixty-seven percent (67%) of the average weekly wage paid to individuals in employment covered by the Employment Security Act for the preceding calendar year ending December 31. Provided, further that the benefit rate on or after July 1, 2012 shall not be more than fifty-seven and one-half percent (57.5%) of the average weekly wage paid to individuals in employment covered by the Employment Security Act for the preceding calendar year ending December 31 or the maximum weekly benefit rate that was in effect as of July 1, 2011 six hundred thirty-six dollars ($636) per week, whichever is the highest. If the maximum weekly benefit rate is not an exact multiple of one dollar ($1.00), then the rate shall be rounded to the next lower multiple of one dollar ($1.00).
  • (6) The average weekly wage of individuals in covered employment shall be computed as follows: On or before May 31 of each year, the total annual wages paid to individuals in covered employment for the preceding calendar year by all employers shall be divided by the monthly average number of individuals in covered employment during that preceding calendar year, and the quotient shall be divided by fifty-two (52). That weekly benefit rates shall be effective throughout benefit years beginning on or after July 1 of that year and prior to July 1, of the succeeding calendar year.
  • (7) The benefit rate of any individual, if not an exact multiple of one dollar ($1.00), shall be rounded to the next lower multiple of one dollar ($1.00).
  • (b)(1) An individual to whom benefits for total or partial unemployment are payable under this chapter with respect to any week shall, in addition to those benefits, be paid with respect to each week a dependents' allowance of fifteen dollars ($15.00) or five percent (5%) of the individual's benefit rate whichever is greater for each of that individual's children, including adopted and stepchildren, or that individual's court appointed wards who, at the beginning of the individual's benefit year, is under eighteen (18) years of age, and who is at that time in fact dependent on that individual, including individuals who have been appointed the legal guardian of such child by the appropriate court. The total dependents' allowance paid to any individual shall not exceed the greater of fifty dollars ($50) or twenty-five percent (25%) of the individual's benefit rate. Notwithstanding the above, the total amount of the dependents' allowance paid to individuals receiving partial unemployment benefits for any week shall be based on the percentage that their partial weekly benefit rate is compared to their full weekly benefit rate.
  • (2) The dependent's allowance shall also be paid to the individual for any child, including an adopted child or a stepchild, eighteen (18) years of age or over, incapable of earning any wages because of mental or physical incapacity, and who is dependent on that individual in fact at the beginning of the individual's benefit year.
  • (3) In no instance shall the number of dependents for which an individual may receive dependents' allowances exceed five (5) in total.
  • (4) The weekly total of dependents' allowances payable to any individual, if not an exact multiple of one dollar ($1.00), shall be rounded to the next lower multiple of one dollar ($1.00).
  • (5) The number of an individual's dependents, and the fact of their dependency, shall be determined as of the beginning of that individual's benefit year. Only one individual shall be entitled to a dependent's allowance for the same dependent with respect to any week. As to two (2) or more parties making claim for an allowance for the same dependent for the same week, the benefit shall be provided to the party who has actual custody of the dependent or in the case of joint custody, to the party who has physical possession of the dependent.
  • (6) Each individual who claims a dependent's allowance shall establish his or her claim to it to the satisfaction of the director under procedures established by the director.
  • (7) This subsection shall be effective for all benefit years beginning on or after January 1, 2011.
  • SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
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  • LC000723
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  • EXPLANATION
  • BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
  • OF
  • A N A C T
  • RELATING TO LABOR AND LABOR RELATIONS - EMPLOYMENT SECURITY -
  • BENEFITS
  • ***
  • This act would increase the maximum weekly unemployment benefit rate to the higher of fifty-seven and one-half percent (57.5%) of the average weekly wages paid to workers in the prior calendar year or six hundred thirty-six dollars ($636) per week.
  • This act would take effect upon passage. ======== LC000723 ========

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