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PRINTER'S NO. 512
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
549
Session of
2021
INTRODUCED BY MULLERY, HANBIDGE, D. WILLIAMS, SANCHEZ, ZABEL,
HILL-EVANS, FIEDLER, ISAACSON, A. DAVIS, McNEILL, FREEMAN,
T. DAVIS, SNYDER, MADDEN, NEILSON, HOWARD, GALLOWAY, O'MARA,
WEBSTER, SCHWEYER, DRISCOLL, DELLOSO, WARREN, PISCIOTTANO,
MALAGARI, BENHAM AND KINKEAD, FEBRUARY 17, 2021
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND INDUSTRY, FEBRUARY 17, 2021
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 trigger determinations and for trigger rate
redeterminations; in compensation, further providing for
qualifications required to secure compensation, for
ineligibility for compensation and for rate and amount of
compensation; in determination of compensation, appeals,
reviews and procedure, further providing for determination of
compensation appeals; in shared-work program, further
providing for shared-work plan requirements, for effective
period of shared-work plan and for participating employer
responsibilities; in Unemployment Compensation Amnesty
Program, further providing for definitions; and, in amnesty
program, further providing for definitions.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
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hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Sections 4(g.1), 301.7(a), 301.8(b)(1), 401(e)
(1), 402(a), 404(c), (d)(1) and (1.1) and (e)(2)(iv), (v) and
(vi), 501(c)(1), 1303(b), 1305(b) and 1307(b) of the act of
December 5, 1936 (2nd Sp.Sess., 1937 P.L.2897, No.1), known as
the Unemployment Compensation Law, are amended to read:
Section 4. Definitions.--The following words and phrases, as
used in this act, shall have the following meanings, unless the
context clearly requires otherwise.
* * *
[(g.1) "Credit week" means any calendar week in an
individual's base year with respect to which he was paid in
employment as defined in this act, remuneration of not less
than:
(1) One hundred dollars ($100). This paragraph shall expire
December 31, 2014.
(2) Sixteen (16) times the minimum hourly wage required by
the act of January 17, 1968 (P.L.11, No.5), known as "The
Minimum Wage Act of 1968." This paragraph shall take effect
January 1, 2015.
Only one credit week can be established with respect to any one
calendar week.]
* * *
Section 301.7. Trigger Determination.--(a) On July 1 of
every year, the secretary shall calculate the trigger percentage
to be used in setting surcharge and contribution rates for the
contributions required under sections 301.2, 301.4 and 301.5 and
in setting the benefit reduction required under section 404(e)
(4) for the following calendar year. The secretary shall[:
(1) add the principal amount of outstanding bonds under
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Article XIV and the amount of outstanding advances under Title
XII of the Social Security Act (58 Stat. 790, 42 U.S.C. ยง 1321
et seq.) and subtract that sum from the balance in the
Unemployment Compensation Fund;
(2) determine the average of the benefit costs for the three
immediately preceding fiscal years; and
(3) calculate the percentage that the amount determined
under paragraph (1) represents of the average of the benefit
costs.] determine the average high cost multiple for the
preceding calendar year in accordance with 20 CFR 606.3
(relating to definitions). The trigger percentage shall be the
percentage determined by the ratio of the average high cost
multiple over one.
* * *
Section 301.8. Trigger Rate Redeterminations.--* * *
(b) (1) For calendar years 2013 through the year determined
under paragraph (4), if the trigger percentage as of July 1 of
the preceding calendar year is less than [two hundred fifty per
centum (250%)] one hundred per centum (100%), the rates
determined under paragraph (2) shall apply. For calendar years
following the year determined under paragraph (4), if the
trigger percentage as of July 1 of the preceding calendar year
is less than [two hundred fifty per centum (250%)] one hundred
per centum (100%), the rates determined under paragraph (3)
shall apply.
* * *
Section 401. Qualifications Required to Secure
Compensation.--Compensation shall be payable to any employe who
is or becomes unemployed, and who--
* * *
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(e) (1) [Has been unemployed for a waiting period of one
week.] (Reserved).
* * *
Section 402. Ineligibility for Compensation.--An employe
shall be ineligible for compensation for any week--
(a) In which his unemployment is due to failure, without
good cause, either to apply for suitable work at such time and
in such manner as the department may prescribe, or to accept
suitable work when offered to him by the employment office or by
any employer, irrespective of whether or not such work is in
"employment" as defined in this act: Provided, That such
employer notifies the employment office of such offer within
seven (7) days after the making thereof; however this subsection
shall not cause a disqualification of [a waiting week or]
benefits under the following circumstances: when work is offered
by his employer and he is not required to accept the offer
pursuant to the terms of the labor-management contract or
agreement, or pursuant to an established employer plan, program
or policy: Provided further, That a claimant shall not be
disqualified for refusing suitable work when he is in training
approved under section 236(a)(1) of the Trade Act of 1974.
* * *
Section 404. Rate and Amount of Compensation.--Compensation
shall be paid to each eligible employe in accordance with the
following provisions of this section except that compensation
payable with respect to weeks ending in benefit years which
begin prior to the first day of January 1989 shall be paid on
the basis of the provisions of this section in effect at the
beginning of such benefit years.
* * *
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(c) If an otherwise eligible employe has base year wages in
an amount equal to or in excess of the amount of qualifying
wages appearing in Part C of the Table Specified for the
Determination of Rate and Amount of Benefits on the line on
which in Part B there appears his weekly benefit rate, as
determined under subsection (a) of this section, [and had
eighteen (18) or more credit weeks during his base year,] he
shall be entitled during his benefit year to the amount
appearing in Part B on said line multiplied by the number of
[credit weeks during his base year] weeks for which a claim for
unemployment benefits is filed, up to a maximum of twenty-six
(26). Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, any
employe [with less than eighteen (18) credit weeks] without
wages in at least two (2) quarters during the employe's base
year shall be ineligible to receive any amount of compensation.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding any other provisions of this
section each eligible employe who is unemployed with respect to
any week ending subsequent to July 1, 1980 shall be paid, with
respect to such week, compensation in an amount equal to his
weekly benefit rate less the total of (i) the remuneration, if
any, paid or payable to him with respect to such week for
services performed which is in excess of his partial benefit
credit[,] and (ii) vacation pay, if any, which is in excess of
his partial benefit credit, except when paid to an employe who
is permanently or indefinitely separated from his employment.
[and (iii) the amount of severance pay that is attributed to the
week.
(1.1) For purposes of clause (1)(iii), all of the following
apply:
(i) "Severance pay" means one or more payments made by an
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employer to an employe on account of separation from the service
of the employer, regardless of whether the employer is legally
bound by contract, statute or otherwise to make such payments.
The term does not include payments for pension, retirement or
accrued leave or payments of supplemental unemployment benefits.
(ii) The amount of severance pay attributed pursuant to
subclause (iii) shall be an amount not less than zero (0)
determined by subtracting forty per centum (40%) of the average
annual wage as calculated under subsection (e) as of June 30
immediately preceding the calendar year in which the claimant's
benefit year begins from the total amount of severance pay paid
or payable to the claimant by the employer.
(iii) Severance pay is attributed as follows:
(A) Severance pay is attributed to the day, days, week or
weeks immediately following the employe's separation.
(B) The number of days or weeks to which severance pay is
attributed is determined by dividing the total amount of
severance pay by the regular full-time daily or weekly wage of
the claimant.
(C) The amount of severance pay attributed to each day or
week equals the regular full-time daily or weekly wage of the
claimant.
(D) When the attribution of severance pay is made on the
basis of the number of days, the pay shall be attributed to the
customary working days in the calendar week.]
* * *
(e) * * *
(2) * * *
(iv) In addition to the limitations set forth in subclause
(iii), the following shall apply:
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(A) Notwithstanding the provisions of subclause (iii)(B),
for calendar years 2020 through 2023, the maximum weekly benefit
rate shall not increase if the trigger percentage determined
under section 301.7(a) is less than one hundred ten per centum
(110%) as of July 1, 2019.
(B) Notwithstanding the provisions of subclause (iii)(B.1),
for calendar year 2024, the maximum weekly benefit rate may not
increase from the preceding year if the trigger percentage
determined under section 301.7(a) is less than [two hundred
fifteen per centum (215%)] eighty-six per centum (86%) as of
July 1, 2023.
(C) If the maximum weekly benefit rate does not increase
under subparagraph (B), it may not increase until the year
following a July 1 determination under section 301.7(a) that the
trigger percentage is at least [two hundred fifty per centum
(250%)] one hundred per centum (100%).
(D) If the conditions of subparagraph (C) are met, for the
purpose of determining the maximum weekly benefit, subclause
(iii) shall apply.
(v) If, on July 1, 2025, the trigger percentage determined
under section 301.7(a) is less than [two hundred fifty per
centum (250%)] one hundred per centum (100%), the following
shall apply:
(A) Notwithstanding the definition of "highest quarterly
wages" in subsection (b), but subject to subclause (vi),
"highest quarterly wages" for purposes of this section for
calendar years 2026 and thereafter shall be the average of the
total wages (computed to the nearest dollar), which were paid to
the employe computed as follows:
(I) The wages paid to the employe in that calendar quarter
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in which such total wages were highest during the base year
shall be calculated.
(II) The amount calculated under division (I) shall be added
to an amount equal to one hundred thirty per centum (130%) of
the wages paid to the employe in the calendar quarter in which
such total wages were the second highest of any calendar quarter
during the base year, provided that the amount added under this
division (II) may not be greater than the wages paid to the
employe during the highest calendar quarter under division (I).
(III) The sum calculated under division (II) shall be
divided by two.
(B) Notwithstanding section 401(a)(2), and except as
provided in subsections (a)(3) and (e)(1) and (2), section
401(a) shall require that the second entry in Part A of the
table for the determination of rate and amount of benefits, on
the line on which there appears the employe's weekly benefit
rate, does not exceed sixty-three per centum (63%) of the
employe's total base year wages.
(vi) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) and
subclause (v) if, on July 1, 2026, or July 1 of any subsequent
year, the trigger percentage determined under section 301.7(a)
is at least [two hundred fifty per centum (250%)] one hundred
per centum (100%), the following shall apply:
(A) "Highest quarterly wages" for the subsequent calendar
year and thereafter shall be determined as provided in
subsection (b) and not as provided in subclause (v).
(B) Section 401(a)(2) shall apply and not subclause (v)(B).
* * *
Section 501. Determination of Compensation Appeals.--* * *
(c) (1) The department shall promptly examine each claim
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for [waiting week credit and each claim for] compensation and on
the basis of the facts found by it shall determine whether or
not the claim is valid.
* * *
Section 1303. Shared-work plan requirements.
* * *
(b) Reduction percentage.--The reduction percentage under an
approved shared-work plan shall meet all of the following
requirements:
(1) The reduction percentage shall be no less than 20%
and no more than 40%.
(2) The reduction percentage shall be the same for all
participating employees.
[(3) The reduction percentage shall not change during
the period of the shared-work plan unless the plan is
modified in accordance with section 1308.]
Section 1305. Effective period of shared-work plan.
* * *
(b) Start date.--The effective period of [the] an approved
shared-work plan shall begin with the first calendar week
following the date on which the [department approves the plan.]
employer submits the plan to the department or on the first
calendar week following the date the employer provided in the
plan, whichever is later.
Section 1307. Participating employer responsibilities.
* * *
[(b) Benefit charges.--Notwithstanding any other provision
of this act, compensation paid to participating employees for
weeks within the effective period of an approved shared-work
plan will be charged to the participating employer.]
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Section 2. The definitions of "employee information" in
sections 1501 and 1501-A of the act are amended to read:
Section 1501. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * *
"Employee information." The name and Social Security number
of each employee[,] and the amount of wages paid to each
employee [and the number of credit weeks for each employee] in
each calendar quarter.
* * *
Section 1501-A. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article
shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise:
* * *
"Employee information." The name and Social Security number
of each employee[,] and the amount of wages paid to each
employee [and the number of credit weeks for each employee] in
each calendar quarter.
* * *
Section 3. The Secretary of Labor and Industry shall
transmit notice to the Legislative Reference Bureau for
publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin upon completion of
implementation of the technological upgrades to the delivery
system for unemployment compensation benefits.
Section 4. This act shall take effect as follows:
(1) The following shall take effect immediately:
(i) This section.
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(ii) Section 3 of this act.
(2) The amendment of sections 301.7(a), 301.8(b)(1) and
404(e)(2)(iv), (v) and (vi) of the act shall take effect July
1, 2021.
(3) The amendment of sections 1303(b), 1305(b) and
1307(b) of the act shall take effect in 30 days.
(4) The remainder of this act shall take effect upon
publication of the notice under section 3 of this act.
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