Bill Description: House Bill 480 would simplify the unemployment benefits process.
Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth?
House Bill 480 would amend Section 72-1367, Idaho Code, to remove the current complex formula used to determine how long a claimant may receive unemployment benefits. This formula, which allows for 10 to 26 weeks of benefits, would be replaced with flat maximums of 10 weeks for part-time employees and 14 weeks for full-time employees.
The bill makes an exception for seasonal employees, who are legally defined as "any eligible individual whose former employer certifies that it anticipates the individual returning to work with such firm within twenty (20) weeks." These seasonal employees would be allowed an additional six weeks of benefits, for up to 20 weeks total.
Studies suggest that generous unemployment benefits may encourage people to remain unemployed, and the Idaho Department of Labor reports that 30% of unemployment claimants currently exhaust benefits before returning to work.
The Fiscal Note for this bill says it "should create modest savings for the unemployment trust fund right now" but that "cost savings could reach up to $50 million per year" under conditions similar to those observed during the Great Recession.
Reducing the average duration of unemployment should help reduce unemployment taxes for employers and the redistributive system of subsidies they fund.
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