The California Chamber of Commerce today issued the following statement in response to news that Senator Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) plans to introduce a bill that would provide unemployment insurance (UI) payments to striking workers during labor disputes.
“California’s UI system is already $18 billion in debt,” said Robert Moutrie, CalChamber Policy Advocate. “Adding more costs to an insolvent system will extend the tax increases already underway from COVID-19. These tax increases will hit all California employers—regardless of size—serving as a deterrent to hiring and future investment in the California economy. It is irresponsible and unfair to increase taxes on every California employer, including those without any involvement in any strikes, to subsidize the striking workers in other industries. Being involuntarily unemployed is fundamentally different than voluntarily going on strike.”
Background on Unemployment Insurance Payments
UI payments are intended to assist employees who, through no fault of their own, are forced to leave their employment. Federal law sets out the basic requirements for individuals to qualify, including being “ready and willing to immediately accept work” and “totally or partially unemployed,” and “actively looking for work.” These former employees are paid from their particular former employer’s reserve account in the UI Fund. If the fund becomes insolvent, all employers face steadily increasing UI taxes. These taxes increase by $21 per employee per year, until they reach a maximum of $434 dollars per employee.
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law. CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs. Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com.