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My priority bill, LB 260 passed on final reading today, with a veto-proof number of affirmative votes. (33 yes, 11 no, and 5 present-not voting) I am proud to have 25 cosponsors on this and a broad base of bipartisan support.
LB 260 adds “caring for a family member with a serious health condition” to the list of reasons that are considered “good cause for voluntarily leaving employment” in our Employment Security Law. In other words, it would allow people who have made every effort to preserve employment but who have to leave work for temporary family caregiving needs to be eligible for unemployment if and when they are ready and willing to look for new work.
Voting NO: Albrecht, Clements, Erdman, Friesen, Groene, Halloran, Hansen, B., Hughes, Lowe, Moser, Slama
Present – Not Voting: Arch, Bostelman, Brewer, Lindstrom, Lienhan
Voting YES: Aguilar, Blood, Bostar, Brnadt, Briese, Cavanaugh, J., Cavanaugh, M., Day, DeBoer, Dorn, Floor, Geist, Gragert, Hansen, M., Hilgers, Hilkemann, Hunt, Kolterman, Lathrop, McCollister, McDonnell, McKinney, Morfeld, Murman, Pahls, Pansing Brooks, Sanders, Stinner, Vargas, Walz, Wayne, Williams, Wishart
Under current law, employees who leave work due to family caregiving demands are not able to collect unemployment benefits that they have earned throughout their years in the workforce. This would cover situations in which someone had to leave one job, then they have a temporary period where they’re providing care and are out of work, and then they’re ready to get back in the workforce. For example, an employee may have a parent that suddenly becomes seriously ill. It may take weeks for the employee to make suitable arrangements for the parent’s long-term care, or until the parent might be admitted into a care facility. This bill would provide a safety net until the need for full-time caregiving passes.
The coronavirus pandemic has made this bill even more important. Many jobs don’t grant workers enough flexibility to care for a sick loved one. Closures, capacity restrictions, and fear of infection have caused a strain on the availability of skilled care, and facilities are experiencing high rates of infection spread. Vulnerable individuals may have more demanding and long-term care needs following infection with the virus. These factors in combination with increased unemployment and the difficulty of finding new jobs as a result of COVID-19 make it harder than ever for working Nebraskans who have family caregiving needs.
24 states have adopted this change.