Unemployment insurance reforms will boost our economy and improve public health

Unemployment insurance reforms will boost our economy and improve public health

Tens of thousands of Louisianans have lost their jobs as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Congress has responded by increasing unemployment benefits and providing new funding for states to administer these benefits. But there are several key steps that Gov. John Bel Edwards needs to take in order to maximize these benefits. Louisiana Budget Project policy analyst Neva Butkus outlines them in a new blog:

  • Waive the minimum base earnings of $1,200 required to qualify for unemployment insurance. 
  • Temporarily replace the formula that calculates state benefit amounts with a flat rate of $370/week, which is the national average for weekly unemployment insurance benefits. 
  • Enact worksharing, which allows companies to reduce their employees’ hours instead of laying them off. 

These steps are vital for laid off workers and the overall state economy, as unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways to lift an economy that’s in recession.

Louisiana already has made several key changes to its unemployment system to speed up the delivery of benefits. But more work is needed. 

“A crisis like the one we currently face is the perfect time to review our systems to make sure that everyone who needs help is able to get it,” Butkus said. “Gov. Edwards already has waived some rules that no longer make sense, but the state could be doing much more to ensure that money is getting in the hands of as many unemployed workers as possible.”  

Tens of thousands of Louisianans have lost their jobs as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Congress has responded by increasing unemployment benefits and providing new funding for states to administer these benefits. But there are several key steps that Gov. John Bel Edwards needs to take in order to maximize these benefits. Louisiana Budget Project policy analyst Neva Butkus outlines them in a new blog: