Ky. lawmakers express concerns, frustration over state’s unemployment situation
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - A panel of state lawmakers heard an update on the state’s unemployment situation.
The big takeaway from Wednesday morning’s meeting of Budget Review Subcomittee on General Governement Finance is that there are still a lot of questions, and frustrations, with the unemployment system here in the state.
Some lawmakers thanked members of the Labor Cabinet for what they’ve done to improve the situation, but others had serious concerns and serious questions.
“Tell me, how do I do it differently than log on the website, try to get an in person appointment? Tell me what I need to do different,” said Rep. Suzanne Miles (R).
Lawmakers wanted to know what kind of solutions are available to them to help lift the burden on employees and employers.
Labor Cabinet officials threw out topics like the controversial Back to Work Incentive Program, which opened up for applications on August 2, aimed at giving Kentuckians who get a new job and stay in that job for at least five weeks an additional $1,500 bonus as incentives to bring more Kentuckians back to the work.
Another option was a short time compensation program.
Labor Cabinet officials said this type of program is being used in 27 other states right now and, essentially, it’s purpose is to make sure that employee jobs and a trained workforce is retained during lowered economic activity.
Officials say this could be a future alternative to layoffs.
Labor Cabinet officials also mentioned that over 40,000 people have scheduled in-person unemployment claim meetings since April and more than 70,000 calls have come into their offices.
That prompted lawmakers to ask what kind of backlog there still is and how easy is it to get these appointments.
Lawmakers did ask for more information on much of the stuff that was discussed during this meeting. Again, the big take away, there are still questions about unemployment insurance and right now there don’t seem to be many good answers.
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