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There is an additional matter which I believe your committee should consider. In a letter to Secretary Dunlop on April 7, I expressed deep concern about the lack of clarity in the law dealing with those whose eligibility for the original 52 weeks of unemployment benefits had already expired prior to the signing of P.L. 94-12. Assistant Secretary for Manpower, William H. Kolberg, responded in a letter dated April 24, "the fact that individuals have exhausted their benefits under previously existing programs does not par them from receiving benefits under the new legislation. What is required, however, is that their benefit year (the one year period during which regular benefits are payable) must not have expired prior to the beginning of an extended benefit period during which benefits are payable under the Federal supplemental benefits program.'
Thus, it seems that those who became the first victims to the economic recession will receive the fewest benefits from the Congress. I am confident that this was not the intention of the committee, or of the Congress as a whole, in their passage of P.L. 94-12, surely a man should not be ineligible to receive the additional 13 weeks of supplemental benefits simply because his original benefits expired one month, or even one week, prior to our passage of the legislation. Surely thousands should not be penalized because the Congress acted slowly on unemployment legislation. This is an inequity that should promptly be corrected.
Mr. Chairman, as I know you and the other distinguished members of the committee are aware, supplemental unemployment benefits and public service employment programs are only a stop-gap effort to lessen the effects of the recession on individuals. The only long term solution lies in the stimulation of jobs and capital in the private market place. The only long term solution is a health economy which does not need constant government interference to bring about full employment. We should certainly work on legislation to help stimulate the economy to meet those goals. However, in the short-term it is essential that we take active measures to assure that our programs are equitable and practical and I commend you for embarking on these hearings to that effect.
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY & MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1975 MR. JOHN MARTIN, Jr., Chief Counsel, Committee on Ways and Means, U.S. House of Representatives, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. MARTIN: On behalf of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, I am pleased to submit for the hearing record of the Subcommittee on Unemployment Compensation our statement on extension of temporary and special unemployment compensation programs.
We hope the Committee will find this statement helpful. If we can provide any further assistance, or if you have any questions regarding our statement, please do not hesitate to contact me.
MARTIN J. GLEASON,
STATEMENT OF THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY & MUNICIPAL
The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees submits this statement on behalf of our more than 700,000 members, men and women who work for state and local governments throughout the country. This union supports legislation to provide additional weeks of unemployment insurance benefits under the temporary Federal Supplemental Benefits and Special Unemployment Assistance programs.
AFSCME commends the Chairman and members of the Subcommittee for the timeliness of these hearings and for scheduling mark-up sessions and action on legislation during the next few weeks.
We urge the Subcommittee to quickly develop legislation to assure unemployed workers additional weeks of UI benefits. However, AFSCME strongly urges the Subcommittee to enact temporary legislation. Yet we hope this legislation will not delay action on permanent changes in the current inequitable system.
In our testimony before the Subcommittee in mid-April providing our views on the current UI system, we stressed the inequities in the present system as it affects public employees.
In the states in which public employees are covered under the permanent program, the benefit entitlement period is currently 65 weeks. For public employees covered for the first time under PL 93-567, the Emergency Jobs and Unemployment Assistance Act of 1974, the benefit entitlement period is only 26 weeks. So, in a state which provides mandatory coverage only for state employees, a state employee is eligible for up to 65 weeks but a local government employee is only eligible for up to 26 weeks and only because of recent congressional action.
AFSCME believes that legislation developed by the Subcommittee should correct this inequity in the UI system. We recommend providing a comparable number of weeks of benefit entitlement for all eligible workers, those covered by both the regular program and those newly covered under PL 93–567.
Further, it is imperative for the Subcommittee to extend the additional thirteen weeks of benefits provided for in the Tax Reduction Act of 1975 beyond the current expiration date of June 30, 1975. And the Special Unemployment Assistance program, which provides unemployment compensation coverage for the first time to almost 8 million state and local government employees, must be extended beyond December 31, 1975.
These changes are necessary because unemployment has increased almost nine percent during the few months since the enactment of these programs and is expected to increase even more. In public employment, the need for coverage under UI programs is becoming more immediate-as states and localities plan massive layoffs of workers in attempts to pare expenditures in accord with reduced revenues. Therefore, we urge the Subcommittee to extend these Federal Supplemental Benefits and Special Unemployment Assistance programs until such time as changes are made in the permanent UI program.
In summary, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees urges the Subcommittee to develop legislation which would provide a comparable number of weeks of benefit entitlement to all eligible workers; and to extend the SUA and emergency benefits programs until such time as permanent equitable legislation reforming the UI system is enacted. We look forward to working with the Subcommittee in developing legislation to meet these goals.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE OF THE UNITED STATES,
Hon. JAMES C. CORMAN,
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: This statement on temporary and emergency unemployment compensation benefits is made on behalf of the National Chamber's membership which includes over 48,000 business enterprises and 3,600 trade and professional associations, local and state chambers of commerce.
The National Chamber supports the permanent programs of the FederalState Unemployment Compensation system. This includes the program to provide up to a maximum of twenty-six weeks of benefits to unemployed workers during normal economic periods. It also includes an additional thirteen weeks of extended benefits in times of recession when there is prolonged unemployment. Further, as we testified on April 21 before your Subcommittee, we support the financing of these permanent programs by employers through payroll taxes.
We do not support proposals to have the federal government extend unemployment compensation benefits beyond thirty-nine weeks. Such extensions undermine the basic purpose of the program which is limited to providing income maintenance for temporarily jobless workers. Unemployment compensation is neither designed nor equipped for administering to the needs of the long-term unemployed. This is the function of other manpower assistance programs and/or public relief which can offer both income support and reemployment assistance of the type and nature suited to the needs of those suffering from long-term, structural or chronic unemployment.
We are concerned that adding temporary and emergency extensions of benefit periods will weaken the system which has worked so successfully for 40 years. This would occur at a time when employers are faced with substantial cost increases just to provide funds for the permanent programs, plus increased costs for wages, Social Security payroll taxes and other employee benefit programs.
This problem of continually extending benefits and still labeling it as unemployment compensation emphasizes the need for a National Study Commission. As a preliminary step we urge the Subcommittee to require that adequate studies be made by the Department of Labor of the current recipients of existing long-term
unemployment compensation programs. Information on what kinds of people are drawing benefits, their work history, household income (wages, welfare, food stamps, housing supplements, etc.), individual and family need for income support, and access to or use of other manpower services should be included as a mandate in any legislation adopted. The availability of such data to a study commission and the Congress will be invaluable to the formulation of sound income support policies and programs for the longterm unemployed.
General Manager, Legislative Action.
STATEMENT OF CAROL BURRIS, PRESIDENT, WOMEN'S LOBBY, INC.
Chairman Corman, members of the Committee, I am Carol Burris, President of Women's Lobby, Inc. The Lobby is a national organization with affiliates in forty states. We work solely on legislation pertaining to women. It is a privilege to discuss the special problems of women in unemployment insurance coverage with you today.
Women have three basic difficulties in unemployment. They are paid 56¢ for every dollar men make, on the average, so their benefits are less; 25% of all women work on a part time or part year basis so they cannot collect at all although their employers pay for them; and in 38 states pregnancy is considered proof of ineligibility in definance of the pregnancy guidelines on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Naturally, women have not accumulated any seniority so they are the last fired and the first hired. Their rate of unemployment is always higher than that of men so their need for benefits is greater. But they either cannot use or do not have these benefits for they return to the work force more quickly than men, often in a lesser job.
Perhaps in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, women are perceived as not serious workers. But the Women's Bureau tells us that women are now 45.7% of the work force. The average woman_will remain in the work force 43 years-two years less than the average man. Between 1969 and 1973, there was a 60% increase in the number of households headed by women so that two-thirds of all women who work are single, widowed, divorced, separated, or have husbands who earn less than $7,000 per year. These women need the money they earn. They need the unemployment benefits they are entitled to even more. Since the Congress outlawed sex discrimination in employment 11 years ago, there is little that can be done about the problems of wage differential expressly in unemployment insurance. A federal system with consistent data might show more pattern and practice discrimination, but enforcement efforts would still be underfunded and understaffed.
Part-time work, particularly when it is the chosen schedule of the employee should be covered under the act. There is no child care and there are six million women in the workforce who have children under the age of six. Another eleven million women have children between six and eleven. No child care bill has passed Congress since 1971, when the President vetoed the bill that passed then. We do not provide child care so many women choose lower salaries with time available for child care. Many students, men and women, many handicapped people, and many elderly people also choose part-time work and are ineligible.
The problems of pregnant women are really a vicious circle: they are often fired because they are pregnant, then they are ineligible for benefits because they are not considered "ready for work" and they are not hired because they are pregnant. For the single mother, there are only public assistance programs for help. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in their guidelines consider pregnancy a temporary disability. Certainly the Labor Department shows men lose more days from the work force with hernias than women do with childbirth. The amount of lost time for heart attack or serious illness is obviously much greater than for childbirth. In a burst of paternal concern, most states have a regulation for the amount of time after childbirth women cannot collect.
Women obviously are individuals and the lack of concern for their individual work habits would be a violation of equal protection with any other group.
This brief statement is just a laundry list of the problems women face as a group. It is unfortunately not prepared with the factual data I know the subcommittee will need in working on this problem. That data is to be found in the statement of Ms. Margaret M. Dahm, Director, Office of Research and Actuarial Services, Unemployment Insurance Service, Manpower Administration, U.S.
Department of Labor in the hearings Economic Problems of Women before the Joint Economic Committee on July 26, 1973. Those hearings were chaired by Congresswoman Martha W. Griffiths.
I want to thank you for accepting my statement today.
STATEMENT OF Daniel M. ROHRER,1 Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
As the nation's recession deepens, unemployment continues rising to proportions for which existing legislation fails to provide adequate compensation. With national unemployment reaching 8.7 percent in March, it hit 15.3 percent in areas such as Michigan where depressed automobile sales are taking their greatest toll. According to Mr. Richard VanderVeen, statistics on the average number of weeks that a worker is unemployed are increasing as well. Based on Mr. VanderVeen's figures, they have reached eleven. Some estimates further indicate that the average will go up to 20 weeks in a few months. Approximately nine percent are already unemployed for over 27 weeks. Mr. Vander Veen has further pointed out that supplemental and unemployment benefits provided by labor unions at both Chrysler and General Motors have been exhausted.
In an effort to cope with these serious problems, Labor Secretary John T. Dunlop asked Congress to extend temporarily certain unemployment benefits and to enact clauses that would end special unemployment compensation when the jobless rate falls to a certain level. Under President Ford's proposal, a claimant would be eligible for 13 weeks of supplemental benefits if the national or regional unemployment level exceeded four percent. The claimant could collect 26 weeks of supplemental benefits should either rate top five percent and 39 weeks only if unemployment reached six percent, according to Dunlop. All those benefits would be in addition to the regular 26 weeks of compensation.
The regular 26 weeks of compensation, which derive from the Emergency Jobs and Unemployment Assistance Act of 1974, provide under Title II of the act a basic measure of income maintenance for all covered workers depending on previous labor force attachment. Also in place is the Federal-State Extended Unemployment Compensation Act of 1970 which establishes a program that will pay up to 13 weeks of additional benefits to unemployed workers who have exhausted their State unemployment benefit rights and up to 26 weeks to unemployed workers otherwise lacking State unemployment insurance protection. To be eligible for benefits, a worker's most recent five days of employment must have been in an area of 6.5 percent or more unemployment. The local areas utilized for this Act are defined as areas eligible to become prime sponsors under Title I of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act. Benefits under the program are payable from the date of enactment until March 31, 1976.
In the form of H.R. 3513 Mr. VanderVeen has proposed an essential bill to` amend the Emergency Jobs and Unemployment Assistance Act of 1974 so as to increase from 26 to 39 the maximum number of weeks for which an individual may receive unemployment assistance under the special unemployment assistance program established by Title II of this Act. The rapid passage of this bill is critical to filling the gap between the Ford proposal and existing legislation.
While H.R. 3513 complements the Ford proposal, Mr. VanderVeen has further submitted H.R. 3515 which appears to have embodied the Ford proposal before the Ford proposal was created. Introduced two months earlier, H.R. 3515 is intended to amend the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act of 1974 so as to increase from 13 to 26 the maximum number of weeks for which an individual may receive emergency compensation thereunder.
Since both of VanderVeen's bills complement each other as well as supplement and strengthen the Ford proposal, it would appear that the President will be quick to sign his District V successor's legislation. Hopefully, the Subcommittee on Unemployment Compensation and the Committee on Ways and Means will not hesitate to give Congress the opportunity of sending this legislation on to President Ford as soon as possible.
[Whereupon, at 9:41 a.m. the hearing was adjourned.]
1 Daniel M. Rohrer is Director of Forensics at Boston College.