Austin – HB 931 by Representative Murphy, the companion to Senator Bettencourt’s SB 576, has passed the Senate. This essential legislation is now on its way to Governor Abbott’s desk awaiting his signature. The law effectively changes the waiting week process by making the waiting week benefit payment payable at the same time that the payment is made for the week in which the claimant returns to full-time work, with a minimum waiting period of one week. The existing procedures had been in place since the thirties.
“This is an old problem that just needed a new set of eyes to spot this easy fix to incentivize Texans to re-enter the workforce,” said Senator Paul Bettencourt. “This incentivizes folks to get back to work prior to four weeks on unemployment.”
Current law requires payment of the waiting week claim after three weeks’ worth of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits have been paid to the applicant in a given benefit year. As a result, the law creates motivation for unemployed individuals to remain off work for at least four weeks, because they will be paid double in the fourth week of unemployment. HB931 will assist in reducing benefit payouts from the UI Trust Fund by means of providing an incentive to find suitable new work as quickly as possible.
“As a result of compromise language authored by Rep. Murphy, and to have garnered support from business, and industry groups plus the AFL-CIO is a rare collaboration,” stated Senator Bettencourt.
Under the present law, claimants are not required to inform the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) when they return to work. Some claimants advise the agency when they return to work, but the majority simply stop filing for benefits. Under HB 931 the individual would be required to report to the TWC when they return to full-time work.
“Closing the loop by reporting a successful return to the workforce is a great step for all Texans back in the workforce,” concluded Senator Bettencourt.