Steve New Newsletter

Stadelman: Illinois needs to implement Work-Share law now

A law passed by State Senator Steve Stadelman could be put to work to ease the pain for businesses and employees during tough economic times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The law also would allow Illinois to collect millions of dollars in federal funding for states that have "work-share" programs.

The only thing standing in the way is a lack of rules needed to guide the law's implementation, rules that never were written by former Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration.

Stadelman's legislation in 2014 changed how unemployment benefits are paid in Illinois, potentially reducing layoffs and improving state finances. It created work-share benefits, which are meant to assist struggling employers, allowing them to temporarily reduce employee hours rather than lay off workers.

At the same time, workers can collect partial unemployment compensation while staying on the job part time. Work-share also would help Illinois save money by not having to pay full benefits for employees drawing unemployment compensation.

"The value of work-share cannot be over-emphasized," Stadelman said. "In this uncertain time, employees who otherwise face layoffs would gain a sense of security, and businesses would avoid having to let skilled workers go."

Research from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute estimates work-share could prevent up to 124,000 in COVID-19 layoffs in Illinois and save the state over $1 billion dollars in unemployment insurance payments. According to the institute's Frank Manzo, the federal government will fully reimburse any state for its work share program.

“Under the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, the federal government is, with some stipulation, fully reimbursing states for their work-share programs,” Manzo said in an April 7 article. “It is free money for the states that currently have these programs.”

Similar laws are in place in 29 other states. Under the Illinois law, partial benefits would be paid when a business cuts hours for at least 10 percent of its staff and shares the remaining work among affected employees.

“Businesses get to keep already-trained employees on staff, and employees get to keep their jobs while collecting partial benefits until they return to work full time,” Stadelman said.

At a Thursday news conference, Gov. JB Pritzker said he supports the work-share program. Stadelman is now urging the Pritzker administration to write the rules needed for work-share to go into full effect. ‚Äč

 

State contributes $250,000 to United Way's local relief fund

State Senator Steve Stadelman helped direct $250,000 from the Illinois' COVID-19 Response Fund to the United Way of Rock River Valley to support local nonprofit groups assisting individuals and families adversely affected by the pandemic.

"We were honored to be chosen" from only 30 organizations statewide that are providing COVID-19 relief at the local level, United Way staff said in a newsletter this week. "Using the ICRF's gift ... we made our first round of grant allocations to local non-profit organizations that are best suited to meet our region's greatest needs."

United Way, which established its Emerging Needs Fund with an anonymous $10,000 donation, announced in its newsletter that almost $550,00 has been raised so far. A list of first-round grant recipients can be found here.

 

Feeling overcome by the many sources of stress in your life right now?

If your level of worry seems abnormally high, the Illinois Department of Human Services has a free emotional support text line. Reach out for help. Text “TALK” to 5-5-2-0-2-0.

 

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 34th District
121A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-8022
 
District Office:
200 S. Wyman St., Suite 301
Rockford, IL 61101
(815) 987-7557
(815) 987-7529 FAX