Unemployment Insurance

Publications

10-Point Plan for Texas Unemployment Insurance Reform

When crisis and calamity take jobs away, the market economy alone cannot provide working people the help they need to make ends meet. That is where the Texas Unemployment Insurance system comes in. While the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented, overwhelming the Texas Workforce Commission’s ability to serve applicants on a timely basis, it has also exposed structural weaknesses in the system. The millions of workers who lost jobs through layoffs or furloughs have had extraordinary difficulty applying for and accessing benefits. To modernize a critical earned benefit and better serve the needs of Texans, the Texas AFL-CIO and Every Texan (formerly known as the Center for Public Policy Priorities) propose the following reforms.

Excluded Workers Demand Inclusion: $200 Million Investment is Essential Though Less than Half of What’s Needed

In this pivotal moment, DC policymakers must spend federal rescue funds in a timely way, with a laser focus on addressing the racial inequities that have excluded Black and brown communities from economic gains and left them more vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, federal policymakers excluded certain residents—including immigrants who are undocumented and workers in the informal cash economy—from federal relief that provides vital cash assistance to those who have lost income. Intentional investment is needed from DC policymakers to right this unfair exclusion and pursue an equitable and inclusive future for these workers.

Why Scaling Back Unemployment Insurance Could Harm Recovery

Key Takeaways:

  • Georgia is three days away from prematurely cutting pandemic unemployment insurance (UI). The changes will harm an estimated 347,000 Georgians and sever all UI safety net protections for 104,000 self-employed, gig-workers, and part-time workers.
  • Prematurely cutting pandemic UI threatens to erode the worker power it was meant to create by undermining leverage for livable pay and benefits in frontline low-wage industries, particularly restaurants, whose workers have historically been inadequately protected.
  • Labor market data outweighs anecdotal claims that pandemic UI has disincentivized work, as Georgians who lost jobs in Food and Accommodation, Manufacturing and Construction have left the unemployment insurance rolls faster than nearly 80 percent of jobless workers in all other industries.