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A03443
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
HOUSE BILL
No.
1446
Session of
2023
INTRODUCED BY R. MACKENZIE, CONKLIN, FREEMAN AND M. MACKENZIE,
JUNE 20, 2023
REFERRED TO COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND INDUSTRY, JUNE 20, 2023
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 compensation,
further providing for ineligibility for compensation.
providing for eligibility related to domestic violence.
The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
hereby enacts as follows:
Section 1. Section 402(b) of the act of December 5, 1936
(2nd Sp.Sess., 1937 P.L.2897, No.1), known as the Unemployment
Compensation Law, amended November 3, 2022 (P.L.2153, No.156),
is amended 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,
irrespective of whether or not such work is in "employment" as
defined in this act: Provided, That a voluntary leaving work
because of a disability if the employer is able to provide other
suitable work, shall be deemed not a cause of a necessitous and
compelling nature: 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, and in
that case, the domestic violence situation shall be verified by
reasonable and confidential documentation as determined by the
department in consultation with the Office of Victim Advocate,
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 or
any type of evidence that reasonably proves domestic violence,
but the department may not 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 that 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
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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, 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:
Provided further, That a claimant shall not be disqualified for
voluntarily leaving work if the claimant left such work to
accompany a spouse who is on active duty with the United States
Armed Forces and is required to relocate due to permanent change
of station orders, activation orders or unit deployment orders
and such relocation would make it impractical or unreasonably
difficult, as determined by the department, for the claimant to
continue employment with the claimant's employer. For purposes
of this subsection the term "suitable employment" means with
respect to a claimant, work of a substantially equal or higher
skill level than the claimant's past "adversely affected
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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).
* * *
Section 2. The Department of Labor and Industry shall
consult with the Office of Victim Advocate when implementing the
amendment of section 402(b) of this act, including updates to
the application for unemployment compensation and the
development of any forms related to documentation of a domestic
violence situation.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in six months.
Section 1. 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 a section to read:
Section 402.7. Eligibility Related to Domestic Violence.--
(a) An employe shall not be deemed to be ineligible under
section 402(b) for voluntarily leaving employment or section
402(e) for failure to attend work if, due to a domestic violence
situation, the individual's continued employment would
jeopardize the safety of the individual or a member of the
individual's family or household.
( b) Verification of a domestic violence situation may be
provided on the initial application for benefits through any one
of the following which documents recent domestic violence:
(1) An active or recently issued protective order or other
order, court records, a police record, medical treatment
records, social services records or child protective services
records.
(2) A statement supporting the existence of recent domestic
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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, or a
similar statement from a friend or relative from whom the
individual has sought assistance.
(3) A self-affirmation that the individual's continued
employment would jeopardize the safety of the individual or a
member of the individual's family or household due to the
domestic violence situation.
(4) Any other type of evidence that reasonably proves
domestic violence.
(c) The documentation of domestic violence shall remain
confidential, and the department may not disclose the existence
of a domestic violence situation in any notice provided to an
employer regarding the claim for compensation.
(d) If an individual who submits a self-affirmation under
subsection (b)(3) is otherwise eligible under section 401, the
individual shall be considered eligible, and the department
shall expedite a determination of eligibility under section 501.
This subsection shall not be construed to prohibit
redetermination of eligibility within eighteen (18) months of
the application for benefits if the department receives
information within eighteen (18) months of the application for
benefits indicating that the self-affirmation submitted under
subsection (b)(3) included false information.
(e) If the department has reasonable cause to suspect that a
self-affirmation submitted under subsection (b)(3) included
false information, the department may require additional
documentation under subsection (b)(1), (2) or (4) to verify the
domestic violence situation when considering a redetermination
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of eligibility.
(f) The department shall grant relief from charges under
section 302.1 to base year employers for benefit charges related
to a claim that is determined eligible in accordance with this
section, unless the department determines that the domestic
violence situation is attributable to the employment with the
base year employer. Relief from charges shall be provided
without a request from the employer.
(g) Subject to subsection (c), if an employer will be
granted relief from charges without a request under subsection
(f), the department shall notify the employer that relief from
charges shall be granted without the need for the employer to
submit a request. Notice under this subsection may be included
on the eligibility determination provided to the employer or on
other relevant claim documentation delivered to the employer.
Section 2. The Department of Labor and Industry shall
consult with the Office of Victim Advocate and relevant advocacy
groups when implementing the addition of section 402.7 of the
act, including updates to the application for unemployment
compensation, updated notices to claimants and employers and the
development of any forms related to documentation of a domestic
violence situation.
Section 3. This act shall take effect in six months.
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