House Approves James’ Unemployment Compensation Reform Bill Sparked by Local Plant Closing
HARRISBURG – The state House today approved an unemployment compensation reform bill introduced by Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) that aims to help unemployed workers like those who recently lost their jobs at the Joy Global Inc. plant in Franklin.

“My goal is to help unemployed workers and their families,” James said.  “We want to improve our state’s unemployment compensation system and make it fairer.”

James’ bill would increase the time workers and employers have to appeal unemployment compensation decisions.  Current law allows 15 days for an appeal.  James’ bill would allow 30 days.

“After the company announced its plans to close the plant, I spoke with some of the union representatives and asked what the state could do to help,” James said.  “During our discussion, the concept of extending the appeal timeline came up, so I looked into it and went to work drafting a bill.”

James said the change is fair because it would extend the deadline for both workers and employers.

“Unemployed workers and small business owners often are each juggling a lot of different responsibilities,” James said.  “This would provide workers and employers with additional time to review and appeal a decision.”

James’ bill also would increase penalties related to violations of the unemployment compensation system.  It would increase fines on claimants who make false statements to obtain increased benefits.  It also would increase fines on employers who commit unemployment compensation fraud.

James’ legislation also would expand unemployment compensation eligibility for seasonal workers, including construction workers, roofers and others who are subject to slow work periods.

Joy Global Inc. earlier this year closed its Manufacturing Plant No. 1 in Franklin, letting go hundreds of employees.

James’ House Bill 2382 now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact:  Dan Massing /
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