Reps. Sherrill, Meijer, Spanberger Introduce Bipartisan SUPPORT for New Workers Act to Help People Return to Work

June 17, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC –– Representative Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) alongside Reps. Peter Meijer (MI-03) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07) introduced the Strengthening Unemployment Programs to Provide Opportunities for Recovery and Training (SUPPORT) for New Workers Act. This unemployment insurance adjustment legislation helps unemployed Americans return to work by ensuring that they don’t lose income when they take a new job, while also continuing to provide critical assistance to millions of people who can’t find work.

“The expansion of employment insurance during the darkest days of the pandemic was critical to keeping millions of families out of poverty and sustaining our economy,” said Rep. Sherrill. “Now, as we continue vaccination efforts and look towards fully reopening, we need to evolve our approach to reflect the changing economy. I have conducted small business walks across NJ-11 and I’ve heard about the difficulty of finding employees while many are still struggling with childcare issues and barriers to reentering the workforce. I’ve heard that too many people are having to make a choice between going back to work or keeping needed benefits. The legislation I introduced today will provide workers with weekly payments equal to 60% of their previous Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits when they return to work. In order to help reopen businesses and speed up our economic recovery, we can tweak our approach while also supporting the workers who continue to face challenges to returning to work related to the pandemic. This legislation will help us do both.”

"While the end of the pandemic is in sight and life is steadily getting back to normal for many people, our country is experiencing a serious workforce crisis that is severely hindering what could otherwise be a strong rebound from COVID and the challenges it presented," said Rep. Meijer. "I hear from employers across West Michigan nearly every day about the labor supply problem that forces businesses to either reduce hours or close because they can’t find willing employees. The Biden Administration’s enhanced federal unemployment benefits incentivize Americans to stay home rather than get back to work. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan SUPPORT for New Workers Act to create the Newly Employed Worker Allowance that would provide new employees with weekly payments totaling 60 percent of their previous $300 per week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits. We must tailor these expansive unemployment benefits while encouraging Americans to return to work. If we don't take action now, our economy will continue to remain crippled by our labor shortages."

“The expansion of unemployment insurance has been a vital lifeline to individuals and families across our country who have lost their jobs and livelihoods in the last year. However, as more Virginians become vaccinated and our economy rebuilds from the pandemic, our businesses have begun reopening and rehiring the employees they need to run at full capacity. Yet, many of these potential employees now face barriers to reentering the workforce, including childcare and transportation costs. These barriers must be addressed, but the burden should not rest on our small or medium-sized business owners alone,” said Rep. Spanberger. “By continuing to provide a percentage of federal unemployment benefits to individuals during their transition back into the workforce, this bipartisan, commonsense legislation presents an opportunity to address the staffing needs of our small business owners and allow individuals to reenter the workforce while still maintaining the fiscal security that they and their children depend on."

The SUPPORT for New Workers Act creates the Newly Employed Worker Allowance, which will provide individuals who have become employed after previously receiving unemployment insurance with weekly payments of $180 (60% of their previous $300/week Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit) from the time they become employed until the expiration of FPUC on September 6, 2021 (up to a maximum of nine weeks).

If a state determines that it is unable to provide these payments promptly due to administrative challenges, it can instead provide a one-time payment to newly employed individuals that is equal to $180/week multiplied by the number of weeks from the individual’s start of employment to September 6 (up to a maximum of nine weeks).

Individuals are eligible for these payments if they become employed on or after the date that this legislation is enacted. States will begin providing payments to eligible individuals immediately after they become employed.

This legislation does not change the benefits that are available to unemployed workers. They will continue to receive state and federal benefits as currently exist, but under this legislation would now be eligible for the Newly Employed Worker Allowance if they gain employment.