In 2011, the general assembly tackled the crisis of Unemployment Insurance tax rates. Employers sought and received overdue reforms , but benefits for the many South Carolinians who remain unemployed are still under attack in the state Senate. The term for collecting benefits has already been reduced from 26 to 20 weeks saving employers $146 million dollars, and now the Senate's Labor, Commerce & Industry Committee will be deciding four bills that could further impact an unemployed worker's ability to get these Benefits.
There is a bill to deny unemployment benefits for any person fired for cause; one repealing benefits for persons seeking only part-time work; and one establishing community service work as a condition for receiving benefits. The last is a bill requiring that applicants for unemployment benefits to first undergo a drug test. While I believe there should be parameters for those who test positive for drugs and still collect benefits, the policy must be crafted in such a way that it's fair to employers and those searching for work.
Some of these reforms make sense, and some seem designed to make those who have lost their jobs and are desperately seeking new ones jump through more hoops to collect benefits that help them pay the bills until they do. That's my perspective. Please share yours with a member of the state Senate's LCI committee.