Bill Text


PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-19 Unemployment insurance compensation: COVID-19 pandemic: temporary benefits.(2021-2022)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 12/07/2020 09:00 PM
AB19:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 19


Introduced by Assembly Members Santiago, Chiu, and Kalra

December 07, 2020


An act to add Section 316.5 to, and to add and repeal Sections 1026.3 and 1280.6 of, the Unemployment Insurance Code, relating to unemployment benefits, making an appropriation therefor, and declaring the urgency thereof, to take effect immediately.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 19, as introduced, Santiago. Unemployment insurance compensation: COVID-19 pandemic: temporary benefits.
(1) Existing law provides for the payment of unemployment compensation benefits to eligible persons who are unemployed through no fault of their own through a federal-state unemployment insurance program administered by the Employment Development Department. Unemployment compensation benefits are paid from the Unemployment Fund, which is continuously appropriated for this purpose. Under existing law, unemployment compensation benefits are based on wages paid in a base period that is calculated according to the month within which the benefit year begins. Existing law provides that a weekly unemployment compensation benefit amount may be paid to an individual whose highest wages in the quarter of their base period exceeded $900, but a weekly benefit amount may not exceed $450. Existing law requires the Director of Employment Development to maintain a separate reserve account for each employer, and to charge unemployment compensation benefits paid to an unemployed individual during any benefit year against the reserve account of that individual’s employer during the individual’s base period.
Existing law, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), temporarily provides for expanded unemployment benefits through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provisions of the CARES Act.
This bill would require the department to provide, until July 1, 2022, following the termination of assistance pursuant to PUA and PEUC or any other federal or state supplemental unemployment compensation payments for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to an individual’s weekly benefit amount as otherwise provided for by existing unemployment compensation law, unemployment compensation benefits equivalent to the terminated federal or state supplemental unemployment compensation payments for the remainder of the duration of time the individual is unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding the weekly benefit cap. The bill would prohibit any unemployment compensation benefits authorized by the bill from being charged against the reserve account of any employer.
Because this bill would authorize additional benefits to be paid from the Unemployment Fund, which is continuously appropriated, it would make an appropriation.
(2) The Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act, among other things, generally requires every state agency, as defined, directly involved in certain activities involving contact with a substantial number of non-English-speaking people, including administering state benefits, to employ a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions to ensure provision of information and services to the public in the language of the non-English-speaking person.
This bill would specifically require the Employment Development Department to comply with that provision in order to ensure that non-English-speaking California residents have adequate access to department employees who are qualified to provide information regarding applying for, and receiving, unemployment insurance benefits in the language of the non-English-speaking person.
(3)This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: YES   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 316.5 is added to the Unemployment Insurance Code, to read:

316.5.
 (a) The department shall comply with Section 7292 of the Government Code in order to ensure that non-English-speaking California residents have adequate access to department employees who are qualified to provide information regarding applying for, and receiving, unemployment insurance benefits in the language of the non-English-speaking person.

SEC. 2.

 Section 1026.3 is added to the Unemployment Insurance Code, to read:

1026.3.
 (a) Notwithstanding Section 1026 or any other law, any unemployment compensation benefits paid pursuant to Section 1280.6 shall not be charged against the reserve account of any employer.
(b)This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2022, and, as of January 1, 2023, is repealed.

SEC. 3.

 Section 1280.6 is added to the Unemployment Insurance Code, to read:

1280.6.
 (a) Notwithstanding Section 1280 or any other law, following the termination of assistance pursuant to the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation provisions of Sections 2102 and 2107 of Subtitle A of Title II of Division A of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Public Law 116-136) or any other federal or state supplemental unemployment compensation payments for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the department shall provide, in addition to an individual’s weekly benefit amount as otherwise provided for by existing unemployment compensation law, unemployment compensation benefits equivalent to the terminated federal or state supplemental unemployment compensation payments for the remainder of the duration of time the individual is unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(b) For the purpose of this section, the department shall determine an individual’s eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits equivalent to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in accordance with Section 2102 of Subtitle A of Title II of Division A of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (Public Law 116-136).
(c)This section shall become inoperative on July 1, 2022, and, as of January 1, 2023, is repealed.

SEC. 4.

 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order to facilitate the immediate delivery of unemployment assistance during the COVID-19 public health emergency, it is necessary that this act go into effect immediately.