South Carolina’s unemployment agency says the state is on track to lower unemployment insurance and pay out less money on jobless benefits this year.
That will also be eased by the agency’s paying off the federal government for an unemployment benefits bailout in the recession.
Department of Employment and Workforce assistant director Laura Robinson told a SC Senate panel Tuesday
“We expect the rates to go down, based on the benefits paid so far this year and the taxes collected, we certainly expect the rates to go down in 2013 to about 12 percent which would be about the original 2012 rates,” said Robinson.
But Anderson Senator Kevin Bryant. who is chairing hearings to toughen up on who gets benefits, says he believes there will be an increase in tax rates, despite the agency’s numbers.
Bryant says his basis is “From the practice that we’ve seen, the latitude of –and I can’t get into the specific cases but–the latitude that is given to benefit the claimant and the very, very narrow latitude that is given to the employer.”
The committee and the D.E.W. have been asked by the U.S. Department of Labor to not discuss cases because of confidentiality laws. The Labor Department has also officially warned Bryant’s committee to avoid influencing the agency’s granting of benefits.
Bryant wants to ease the costs of unemployment insurance on small businesses, which have been increased to pay off the federal government for unemployment extensions during the recession. D-E-W says those costs ARE coming down at the rate of $1 million a month.
Recent special hearings by a Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry subcommittee are part of a retooling of the unemployment agency was restructured a few years ago.
Tuesday the Senate panel grilled the state’s employment agency on how it awards benefits to employees who are fired. These special hearings by a Senate Labor, Commerce and Industry subcommittee are part of a retooling of the agency that began five years ago. The employment commission was restructured and renamed the Department of Employment and Workforce. And this year, a new law to toughen up on awarding benefits when people are fired for misconduct
Edgefield Senator Shane Massey, who is on the panel said “The oversight is just to make sure we are all on the same page. THere have been a lot of changes at the department in the past five years administratively with the law, we need to just make sure that their understanding of the law is the same as ours. As long as we are all working together, we’ll get the problems fixed.”
Laura Robinson of D.E.E says their staff is trained well and are also trying to involve employers more in unemployment cases in question
While cutting payouts, South Carolina’s unemployment agency is paying down a federal debt for benefit extensions in the recession. Agency officials say they are on track to pay it all back by 2015.