California legislators pass bill to allow unemployment benefits for striking workers

The California State Legislature passed a bill Sept. 14 that would allow workers to claim unemployment insurance benefits after striking for two weeks. The bill now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) desk for his approval or veto. If Newsom signs the bill, it would take effect starting in January 2024.

California lawmakers previously advanced similar legislation in 2019, but the measure failed to pass the state Senate.

Currently, New York and New Jersey allow certain striking workers to collect unemployment insurance benefits. Other states like Connecticut and Massachusetts are also considering similar policies that would expand unemployment benefit eligibility to striking workers.

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.

For information about unemployment insurance programs across the country, click here.

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