Gov. Nixon Signs Bill Extending Benefits and Expanding the Shared Work Program
On March 4, 2010, Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation that makes two important extensions to unemployment benefits in Missouri. Gov. Nixon's signature means House Bill 1544 will immediately provide extra tools to Missourians looking for work and businesses struggling to keep workers employed.
Under this law, unemployed Missourians who have exhausted all state regular and federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation benefits may file for benefits for up to 20 weeks under the state Extended Benefits program. This extension, which is 100 percent federally funded, will last until the funds run out or March 3, 2011, whichever comes first. The Missouri Labor Department estimates up to 4,000 eligible Missourians will be assisted by these extended unemployment benefits.
This bill also adds 26 weeks to the Shared Work Program, for a total of 52 weeks per plan year. This program allows Missouri businesses that would otherwise lay off employees to reduce those employees' hours, but cover part of those lost wages with unemployment benefits. Missouri is one of 17 states to offer the Shared Work Program. On the last working day in February, there were 565 employers throughout the state participating in the program, affecting more than 43,139 employees for the same period of time.
"As this economy begins to recover, we must give unemployed Missourians the tools to get back to work, while giving businesses the resources to keep Missourians employed," Gov. Nixon said. "This bipartisan legislation will help put Missourians back to work and save thousands of good-paying Missouri jobs. I appreciate the Legislature's prompt action on this important issue."
The Missouri Department of Labor will identify and notify eligible claimants. For more information, visit www.labor.mo.gov. For questions about the Shared Work program, visit www.sharedwork.mo.gov or call 573-751-WORK (9675).