Serves as a reference for researchers and advocates working on unemployment insurance reform. A series of question-and-answer talking points walk through legislation and arguments that can be used against those seeking to cut the benefit program.
Building on similar prior publications and its knowledge of how the unemployment insurance program is being implemented across the United States, the National Employment Law Project has created a toolkit “designed as a ready-reference…for both [unemployment insurance] reform efforts and the defensive battles [likely to be faced]…in 2014 and beyond” (p. 2). The toolkit targets advocates of unemployment insurance reform and offers them information on the basics of the benefit, challenges to unemployment insurance as an earned benefit, the business climate and economic impact of unemployment insurance, and the financing and solvency of the program. The bulk of the resource is formatted as a series of questions and answers that might prove useful to unemployment insurance advocacy work and includes model legislative language, details about the implementation of the benefit in a diverse array of states, and data about the financial impact of the program.
(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

The toolkit divides information about unemployment insurance into four sections, each of which offers details about related legislation. The National Employment Law Project hopes that this information gives advocates a better understanding of the program as well as how to make arguments for its reform. • Benefit Basics: This section recommends that every state pay 26 weeks of the unemployment insurance, offers arguments for and against the “waiting period” feature of many unemployment insurance programs, explains how states calculate the weekly unemployment insurance benefit, provides information about partial unemployment insurance, covers benefit denial rules for seasonal work and school employees, and defines work share or short-time unemployment insurance compensation. • Challenges to Unemployment Insurance as Earned Benefit: This section focuses on job search rules and how they differ across states, training and community service mandates, drug testing, and questions and answers about properly defining misconduct. • Business Climate and Economic Impact: This section highlights a series of questions and answers about how the unemployment insurance program impacts the economy and is supported by related data, such as the hourly cost to employers of wages and benefits. • Financing and Solvency: This section “give[s] readers an introduction to [unemployment insurance] financing with an emphasis on experience rating” (p. 47). It explains that experience rating is a complex topic and that a better understanding of the topic may help advocates argue their position. (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)