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State Sen. Dawn Addiego. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe)

Senate panel approves bill extending additional unemployment benefits

By Nikita Biryukov, December 15 2020 2:51 pm

A Senate panel unanimously approved a measure that would extend additional unemployment insurance benefits for an additional eight weeks and allow a job-sharing furlough program to continue Tuesday.

“With Congress still negotiating a new stimulus bill and unemployment benefits starting to run out, we need to act immediately to ensure that the hundreds of thousands of workers who are out of work because of the pandemic are able to continue to feed their families,” said State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham), the bill’s prime sponsor.

The bill would provide for expanded unemployment benefits until the Feb. 27 and would similarly extend the job-sharing program, which allows employers to alternatively furlough workers so they can collect unemployment benefits in turns to reduce payroll expenses suffered by beleaguered businesses.

“It is crucial that we continue this program that enables employers to keep more of their workers on the payroll part-time and to slowly transition workers they previously laid off back into the workforce as the economy improves,” State Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Long Branch) said. “Workers in the furlough program get more money each week from their part-time pay and partial unemployment benefits than they would get by staying on unemployment.”

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