WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin cosponsored legislation to provide federally-funded unemployment assistance to affected individuals. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Act would create a temporary unemployment compensation program to provide benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of the coronavirus.
“We have to work together across party lines to expand unemployment benefits for workers and families that will help them get through this crisis,” said Senator Baldwin. “As the coronavirus continues to spread in Wisconsin and throughout the country, I’m working to make sure that workers don’t lose pay when they lose their job through no fault of their own during this crisis.”
Modeled on the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, this new program would be tailored to help those affected by the pandemic. While Congress has provided temporary unemployment benefits in response to disasters, it has not previously provided benefits in response to a public health crisis.
The program will be particularly helpful for those without paid sick leave, and it will cover self-employed workers and workers without sufficient work history to qualify for regular unemployment insurance.
Workers who would qualify for assistance under the program include:
Benefits and administrative costs associated with this program would be federally funded through the federal unemployment insurance trust funds. The program would be administered by state unemployment offices, and would end six months after the end of the pandemic.
The bill, led by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), was also cosponsored by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).