Apr. 14, 2020

HARRISBURG – Rep. Josh Kail (R-Beaver/Washington) joined his colleagues in voting for legislation that would allow people to safely return to work rather than continue to force them to wait for unemployment benefits that are significantly delayed.

“I understand that Gov. Tom Wolf is concerned for welfare of Pennsylvanians, which is why he greatly reduced the work that can be done in person. People who don’t have jobs that he deemed ‘life-sustaining’ or that can be done remotely are struggling with financial loss. Many have been waiting for unemployment checks for a month,” Kail said.

As of April 9, more than 1.2 million Commonwealth residents applied for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits, which translates into approximately 16% of the population. The system has struggled to respond to demand that is easily triple the standard.

“My colleagues and I have been instructed to tell people to be patient with unemployment compensation, but everyone who is telling my constituents to be patient is still getting paid. It’s hard to be patient when you can’t buy food,” Kail explained. “We need to ease the UC backlog and get people the money they need by allowing them to return to work safely and in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.”

The bill would require the governor to develop and implement a mitigation plan to allow businesses to operate during the proclamation of disaster emergency issued on March 6, provided the business complies with CDC recommendations to limit the spread of COVID-19. Many of Pennsylvania’s neighboring states are taking this commonsense approach.

“We must start thinking about people going back to work safely – not just those who work for life-sustaining businesses. People are facing very real financial and mental health challenges, and that deserves our attention and action,” Kail added.

Within seven days of the bill’s enactment, the governor must post the mitigation plan on the Department of Community and Economic Development’s website for public viewing.

As the legislation received support from the House, it now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Representative Joshua Kail
15th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives