If you are having trouble viewing this email, click here.  
Labor Report

Tartaglione Lauds Gov. for Signing U.C. Bill, 44,000 Workers Impacted

Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation into law that will help 44,000 seasonal and cyclical workers gain eligibility for unemployment compensation insurance, state Sen. Christine M. Tartaglione (D-Philadelphia) said.

Gov. Tom Wolf Signs House Bill 319Tartaglione, who is the Democratic chair of the Senate Labor and Industry Committee, helped develop and shepherd the measure through the legislative process.  The bill (House Bill 319) was signed into law on Nov. 3.

The legislation reduces the percentage of income earned outside an employee’s high quarter in order to be eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.

The formula was changed four years ago by Act 60.  Under that law, a worker earning less than 49.5 percent of income in the three quarters outside the high quarter was ineligible for UC benefits.  The legislation reduces the percentage to 37 percent and restores it to the previous rate.

The change is estimated to benefit 44,000 workers. 

Tartaglione said she was very pleased that Gov. Tom Wolf signed the measure into law.  She released the following statement in support of the governor’s action:

“I am pleased that the governor signed the unemployment compensation measure into law.  Seasonal and cyclical workers should not be ineligible for benefits because they earn a large portion of their wages in a single quarter.  This measure is about fairness for our construction workers, and other seasonal workers, who experience periods of intense work following by lulls in employment.”

The lowering of the earning percentage removes an eligibility hurdle that proved far too high for too many workers and their families, Tartaglione said.

The legislation also includes other measures to ensure that the U.C. Trust Fund remains fiscally sound.

Help for Firefighters on Way

fire fighterLegislation that will help firefighters in Philadelphia and across the state was signed into law today by Gov. Tom Wolf.  The measure, House Bill 2148, would add first responders to what is commonly referred to as the Heart and Lung Act (Enforcement Officer Disability Benefits Law). 

Tartaglione worked with the representatives of the Philadelphia Firefighters and the Pennsylvania Professional Fire Fighters Association to move this legislation to the governor’s desk. 

The new act (Act 145) covers those first responders who were overlooked when the original law was drafted.  The responders now under state Heart and Lung Act protections include firefighters at airports, firefighters employed the state, EMS personnel who are employed by a city fire department and state fire marshalls. 

“This new law offers protection for more firefighters and first responders,” Tartaglione said.  “It will be a significant help for those who are often in hazardous conditions in an attempt to protect life and property.”