Governor Deval Patrick filed legislation that will close loopholes to Municipal Unemployment Insurance (UI) and create a fair and collaborative system that provides economic relief to cities and towns.
The legislation arises from the work and recommendations of the Municipal UI Task Force he convened to address the concerns raised during the spring of 2012 by a number of municipalities. After soliciting feedback from municipalities through letter, meetings and presentations, the Task Force issued its recommendation in November.
“I thank the members of the Municipal UI Task Force for their hard work and creativity in coming up with this series of balanced solutions,” said Governor Patrick.
“Through the work of the Unemployment Insurance Task Force and with the filing of this legislation, we are engaging with cities and towns to provide a more equitable system and relief for both municipalities and employees on the local level,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.
Key Points of the Legislation:
- Create a 65% UI offset to retirees collecting a defined benefit pension, thereby significantly limiting a returning retiree’s access to unemployment when laid off and collecting a pension.
- Eliminate the disparity between those employed directly by a school department and those providing services to the school but paid directly by the municipality. All public employees providing services to a school who have “reasonable assurance” of continued employment are ineligible to receive UI benefits when school is not in session.
- Prevent municipalities from being charged for wages earned by election workers who make less than $1,000 a year. Currently, municipalities could be responsible for paying some portion of UI benefits to these employees, if they earn enough wages from other employment.
- Allow the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to participate in the United States Treasury Offset Program so that the agency can intercept the federal tax returns of anyone who owes DUA funds as a result of an overpayment. As with the state program, the federal program will have procedures for notice and opportunity to present evidence as required by federal law and regulations.
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