Arizona State Senate passes unemployment insurance indexing bill

The Arizona State Senate on March 2 passed a bill 16-14 that would index the length of unemployment insurance benefits to the state’s unemployment rate. During times when the unemployment rate is at or below 5%, unemployed workers could collect a maximum of 12 weeks of benefits under the bill. The bill proposes capping the maximum benefit length at 20 weeks during times when the unemployment rate is more than 8.5%.

Arizona’s current maximum benefit length is 24 weeks if the unemployment insurance rate is less than 5% and 26 weeks if the jobless rate is 5% or more. The state’s unemployment rate was 4.0% as of December 2022, according to the most recent Arizona Commerce Authority data, meaning the maximum weekly benefit would fall by 12 weeks (from 24 weeks to 12 weeks) if the bill passes and the unemployment rate remains stable.

The bill now heads to the Arizona House for consideration.

Unemployment insurance is a joint federal and state program that provides temporary monetary benefits to eligible laid-off workers who are actively seeking new employment. Qualifying individuals receive unemployment compensation as a percentage of their lost wages in the form of weekly cash benefits while they search for new employment.

The federal government oversees the general administration of state unemployment insurance programs. The states control the specific features of their unemployment insurance programs, such as eligibility requirements and length of benefits.

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