WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today backed U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s bipartisan bill to provide $180 weekly payments to Virginians who find new jobs after being unemployed.
Spanberger’s Strengthening Unemployment Programs to Provide Opportunities for Recovery and Training (SUPPORT) for New Workers Act would help unemployed Americans get back into the workforce by helping cover the necessary costs inherent to the transition — while also continuing to provide critical assistance to Americans who are unable to find work. Additionally, Spanberger’s bipartisan bill would help address ongoing hiring challenges faced by Central Virginia small businesses and restaurants.
“America’s great economic resurgence is being held back by an unprecedented workforce shortage — and it’s getting worse. However, new polling data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce show hiring bonuses are an effective instrument to encourage more unemployed Americans to return to work,” said Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President & Chief Policy Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “We commend Representatives Sherrill, Spanberger, and Meijer for introducing a bipartisan approach to addressing this very real workforce issue.”
“To pay the bills, cover the costs of childcare, and keep a roof over their heads, Central Virginia’s workers need continued support as we recover from the pandemic. Additionally, I know that our region’s small businesses and restaurants need the reassurance that they will not be burdened with unforeseen costs as they rehire employees and return to full capacity,” said Spanberger. “This commonsense legislation would address these issues by taking federal funding that already exists to provide a percentage of unemployment benefits to Virginians who head back into the workforce — while also giving our small businesses an additional tool for hiring and recruitment. I am proud to have the backing of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as we work to move the SUPPORT for New Workers Act forward, and I am hopeful that our legislation will continue to gain momentum here in Congress as we work on behalf of America’s small business owners, workers, and their families.”
Spanberger co-led the introduction of the bipartisan bill earlier this month alongside U.S. Representatives Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11) and Peter Meijer (R-MI-03).
Specifically, the SUPPORT for New Workers Act would create a “Newly Employed Worker Allowance,” which would provide individuals who have recently become employed — after previously receiving unemployment insurance — with weekly payments of $180, which represents approximately 60 percent of their previous $300 per week payment through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Benefit. These payments would not require additional federal funding — as they would use existing, approved funding sent to states via earlier COVID-19 relief packages.
The Spanberger-helmed legislation is supported by several Virginia businesses organizations — including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce; the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging, & Travel Association; and ChamberRVA.
Under the SUPPORT for New Workers Act, if a state determines that it is unable to provide these payments promptly due to administrative challenges, it could instead provide a one-time payment to newly employed individuals that is equal to $180 per week multiplied by the number of weeks from the individual’s start of employment up to a total of nine weeks or until September 6. Individuals would be eligible for these $180 weekly payments if they become employed on or after the date that this legislation is enacted — and states would begin providing payments to eligible individuals immediately after an individual’s employment begins.
Additionally, the Spanberger-Sherrill-Meijer legislation would not change the current benefits available to unemployed workers. Unemployed American workers would maintain their eligibility to receive state and federal benefits as they currently exist — but under this legislation, they would now be eligible for the Newly Employed Worker Allowance if they start a new job.
Click here to read the full bill text.