New Legislation Would Extend Unemployment Compensation Benefits to Some Part-Time Ohio Workers

HB 484, sponsored by Rep. Mike Duffey (R-Worthington), would create the so-called Shared Work Ohio program.  Under the bill, if a Shared Work program is approved by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), employees whose hours are reduced instead of being laid off will maintain pension and health care benefits and would be eligible to receive 26 weeks of unemployment compensation benefits on a pro rata basis.  Any unemployment compensation benefits paid to those part-time employees would be charged to the account of the participating employer.

This legislation would be a win–win for employers and employees.  Employers could retain valuable employees by cutting their hours instead of terminating their employment, and thereby avoid expensive retraining and rehiring when business demand recovers.  Employees would benefit because HB 484 would help some workers to keep their jobs during a severe economic downturn and they could receive unemployment benefits despite their part-time employment.

The Ohio House of Representatives passed HB 484 on May 24, 2012.  The Senate Insurance, Commerce, and Labor Committee is now considering HB 484, and it may be given priority consideration when the General Assembly reconvenes this fall.

To urge Senate passage of this legislation, people should contact their state senators as well as the Senate Committee chairman, Senator Kevin Bacon, at (614) 466-8064.

Anyone who has questions concerning HB 484 should feel free to contact Michael Smalz of the Ohio Poverty Law Center at (614) 824-2502 or