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Vt. Senate poised to vote on bill to expand unemployment benefits

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 4:43 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermont’s business community is raising concerns over a bill that would boost unemployment benefits by 20%.

The measure would also give a weekly $50 payment to claimants with kids and push back tax increases on businesses for several several years.

A slew of business groups are concerned that these new benefits, plus the extra $300 a week from the American Rescue Plan, will deter people, especially short-term seasonal workers, from coming back to work. The issue is complicated by Vermont’s work search requirement, which has been suspended during the pandemic. Business owners say these factors could prevent them from being able to find staff this summer.

“One of the major fixes that we need to see for our economy to rebound is that the work search requirement needs to be reimplemented for people to come back to work,” said Matt Musgraves with Associated General Contractors of Vermont.

Supporters of the measure say the bill and added benefits are needed because many Vermonters are still out of work, especially women, who make up 70 percent of unemployment claims.

The Senate is set to vote on the bill Thursday.

Related Story:

Will proposed Vt. benefits discourage seasonal workers from returning to labor force?

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