Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored the Worker First Act, introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to help states improve their unemployment insurance systems. The Worker First Act would authorize $10 billion to be distributed among states that take steps to ensure worker safety, as well as expand and modernize their unemployment insurance systems.
“Nevada has suffered the highest unemployment rate in the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and I’ve been working hard to support the state’s UI and PUA programs. But the truth is that our country’s unemployment insurance system wasn’t designed with a modern economy in mind and has struggled to address such historic levels of unemployment and regulate worker safety. Providing states like Nevada with the funding and incentives they need to modernize and reform their systems will help protect workers, keep businesses open and ensure we are better prepared for future economic challenges.”
The Worker First Act would create a new $10 billion grant program to provide funds to states that improve their unemployment compensation programs. Each state’s share of the funding would be divided into three equal allotments. States would have to meet certain requirements on worker safety, modernization and expansion before receiving each allotment, and would have until December 31, 2021 to do so. The funding could be used to pay regular unemployment compensation or to cover unemployment insurance administration and technology costs.
The full bill text is available here.