The Illinois Chamber of Commerce said last week it is backing an agreement about unemployment insurance changes struck between business leaders and organized labor.
“For the business community, the two key issues in the agreement are a benefit change for seniors and a change to ‘misconduct’ for employers,” Illinois Chamber President and CEO Todd Maisch said.
Chamber officials called the changes "important philosophical revisions for both business and labor." The major change will remove the offset of Social Security for determining benefit amounts based on an individual’s income.
“With this change, some seniors may now become eligible for unemployment insurance benefits where they would have previously been disqualified because of Social Security income,” Maisch said.
Some individuals may receive more benefits now that Social Security income cannot reduce the amounts they receive.
Illinois is the last state in the country to make this change.
“The proposed revisions to 'misconduct' include eight typically egregious circumstances for which employers may protest a benefit claim,” Maisch said.
The change means employers no longer have to prove a discharge was done for willfully and deliberately, causing any harm to the employer or was done after an employee received repeated warnings or instructions from the employer.
If the law had not changed, employer unemployment insurance taxes would have risen $470 million yearly while benefits for unemployed workers would have been cut by an estimate $300 million annually.
A moratorium has been placed on any unemployment insurance legislation through Jan. 1, 2018. The plan needs to pass the Illinois legislature and be signed by the governor.
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