PRINTER'S NO. 476
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE BILL
No.
473
Session of
2017
INTRODUCED BY REGAN, SCARNATI, WAGNER, WHITE, RESCHENTHALER,
AUMENT, BARTOLOTTA, FOLMER, EICHELBERGER, RAFFERTY, MARTIN,
MENSCH, ARGALL AND DiSANTO, MARCH 2, 2017
REFERRED TO LABOR AND INDUSTRY, MARCH 2, 2017
AN ACT
Amending the act of December 5, 1936 (2nd Sp.Sess., 1937
P.L.2897, No.1), entitled "An act establishing a system of
unemployment compensation to be administered by the
Department of Labor and Industry and its existing and newly
created agencies with personnel (with certain exceptions)
selected on a civil service basis; requiring employers to
keep records and make reports, and certain employers to pay
contributions based on payrolls to provide moneys for the
payment of compensation to certain unemployed persons;
providing procedure and administrative details for the
determination, payment and collection of such contributions
and the payment of such compensation; providing for
cooperation with the Federal Government and its agencies;
creating certain special funds in the custody of the State
Treasurer; and prescribing penalties," in preliminary
provisions, further providing for definitions; in
contributions by employers and employees, further providing
for relief from charges; in compensation, further providing
for ineligibility for compensation; and providing for
applicability.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 4 of the act of December 5, 1936 (2nd Sp.
Sess., 1937 P.L.2897, No.1), known as the Unemployment
Compensation Law, is amended by adding definitions to read:
Section 4. Definitions.--The following words and phrases, as
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used in this act, shall have the following meanings, unless the
context clearly requires otherwise.
* * *
(z.8) "Abuse" means one or more of the following:
(1) Attempting to cause or causing physical harm.
(2) Placing another in fear of imminent serious physical
harm.
(3) Causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual
relations by force, threat or duress or engaging or threatening
to engage in sexual activity with a dependent child.
(4) Engaging in mental abuse, which includes threats,
intimidation or acts designed to induce terror.
(5) Depriving another of medical care, housing, food or
other necessities of life.
(6) Restraining the liberty of another.
(z.9) "Domestic violence" means abuse committed against a
claimant by:
(1) a current or former spouse of the claimant;
(2) an individual with whom the claimant shares a child in
common;
(3) an individual who is cohabiting with or has cohabited
with the claimant;
(4) an individual who is related by blood or marriage to the
claimant; or
(5) an individual with whom the claimant has or had a dating
or engagement relationship.
Section 2. Section 302.1(a)(1) and (c)(1) of the act are
amended to read:
Section 302.1. Relief from Charges.--Notwithstanding any
other provisions of this act assigning charges for compensation
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paid to employes, except for section 302(a)(2), the department
shall relieve an employer of charges for compensation in
accordance with this section and section 213 of this act.
(a) Circumstances allowing relief:
(1) If an individual was separated from his most recent work
for an employer due to being discharged for willful misconduct
connected with that work, or due to his leaving that work
without good cause attributable to his employment, or due to his
being separated from such work under conditions which would
result in disqualification for benefits under the provisions of
section 3 or 402(e.1) and (e.2) of this act, the employer shall
be relieved of charges for compensation paid to the individual
with respect to any week of unemployment occurring subsequent to
such separation. Relief from charges under this paragraph
terminates if the employe returns to work for the employer.
* * *
(c) Relief from charges without a request:
(1) If a claimant is determined ineligible for benefits
under section 3 or 402(b), (e) [or], (e.1) or (e.2) of this act
pursuant to a notice of determination that has become final, the
department shall grant relief from charges in accordance with
subsection (a)(1) to the employer from whom the claimant was
separated, beginning with the earliest week for which the
claimant is eligible for benefits following the week or weeks
governed by the notice of determination.
* * *
Section 3. Section 402(b) of the act is amended and the
section is amended by adding a subsection to read:
Section 402. Ineligibility for Compensation.--An employe
shall be ineligible for compensation for any week--
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* * *
(b) In which his unemployment is due to voluntarily leaving
work without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature
attributable to his employment, irrespective of whether or not
such work is in "employment" as defined in this act: Provided,
That a voluntary leaving work because of a work-related
disability if the employer is able to provide other suitable
work, shall be deemed not a cause of a necessitous and
compelling nature[:] attributable to his employment : And
provided further, That no employe shall be deemed to be
ineligible under this subsection where the Federal Unemployment
Tax Act requires eligibility; And Provided further, that no
employe shall be deemed ineligible under this subsection if the
employe is a spouse of a full-time member of the United States
Armed Forces or a full-time member of its reserve components,
including the Pennsylvania National Guard, and the employe is
leaving employment due to the reassignment of the military
member to a different geographical location: And provided
further, That no employe shall be deemed to be ineligible under
this section for voluntarily leaving work if the individual
reasonably believes that due to a domestic violence situation
the individual's continued employment would jeopardize the
safety of the individual. The domestic violence situation shall
be verified by reasonable and confidential documentation as the
department may require, to include a statement supporting the
existence of recent domestic violence from a qualified
professional from whom the individual has sought assistance,
such as a counselor, shelter worker, member of the clergy,
attorney or health care worker and any type of evidence that
reasonably proves domestic violence, but the department may not
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require an active or recently issued protective or other order
documenting domestic violence, or a police record documenting
recent domestic violence, although a claimant may present the
documentation as evidence: And provided further, That no employe
shall be deemed to be ineligible under this subsection where as
a condition of continuing in employment such employe would be
required to join or remain a member of a company union or to
resign from or refrain from joining any bona fide labor
organization, or to accept wages, hours or conditions of
employment not desired by a majority of the employes in the
establishment or the occupation, or would be denied the right of
collective bargaining under generally prevailing conditions, and
that in determining whether or not an employe has left his work
voluntarily without cause of a necessitous and compelling nature
attributable to his employment, the department shall give
consideration to the same factors, insofar as they are
applicable, provided, with respect to the determination of
suitable work under section four (t): And provided further, That
the provisions of this subsection shall not apply in the event
of a stoppage of work which exists because of a labor dispute
within the meaning of subsection (d). Provided further, That no
otherwise eligible claimant shall be denied benefits for any
week in which his unemployment is due to exercising the option
of accepting a layoff, from an available position pursuant to a
labor-management contract agreement, or pursuant to an
established employer plan, program or policy: Provided further,
That a claimant shall not be disqualified for voluntarily
leaving work, which is not suitable employment to enter training
approved under section 236(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974. For
purposes of this subsection the term "suitable employment" means
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with respect to a claimant, work of a substantially equal or
higher skill level than the claimant's past "adversely affected
employment" (as defined in section 247 of the Trade Act of
1974), and wages for such work at not less than eighty per
centum of the worker's "average weekly wage" (as defined in
section 247 of the Trade Act of 1974).
* * *
(e.2) In which his unemployment is due to discharge or
temporary suspension from work for any of the following reasons:
(1) Failure to obey a reasonable workplace rule or work-
related government regulation or law of which the employe was
aware.
(2) The deliberate damage to property of the employer or
another employe or the theft of an employer's or another
employe's property.
(3) Reporting to work under the influence of alcohol or
illegal drugs or consuming alcohol or using illegal drugs while
at work.
(4) Threatening a coworker or supervisor with physical harm
or threatening to harm the interests of the employer.
(5) Disregard of a supervisor's reasonable directives or
orders or acts of negligence that indicate substantial disregard
for the employer's interests.
(6) Failure to maintain a valid license or certificate that
has been issued by a Federal or Commonwealth agency or political
subdivision and is a requirement of employment, unless the
failure was for reasons beyond the control of the employe.
(7) Failure to provide good cause for being absent from work
on two or more occasions or failure to report in a proper manner
under the employer's policy for absences from work on two or
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more occasions.
* * *
Section 4. The amendment of section 402(b) of the act shall
apply to initial claims filed on or after January 1, 2018.
Section 5. This act shall take effect immediately.
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