PA House to vote on streamlining unemployment benefits to victims of domestic violence

26 February 2024- Legislation sponsored by Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh) that would assist victims of domestic violence in Pennsylvania when applying for unemployment compensation (UC) benefits was unanimously approved by the House Labor and Industry Committee last week. House Bill 1446 now moves to the full House for consideration.

“Although UC claims submitted by domestic violence victims are not the most common or numerous, I believe these individuals are the most in need of a quicker and cleaner claim process,” said Mackenzie. “Escaping domestic violence sometimes involves relocating suddenly and finding a new job. My bill represents one small way we can help make the ordeal a little less complicated.”  

Specifically, Mackenzie’s proposal would clarify current law regarding a domestic violence victim’s eligibility for UC benefits. Under the bill, victims would have several methods for documenting their situation and the benefit application process, which can sometimes take months, would be faster.

Mackenzie also noted that his measure would end any confusion for employers when someone leaves work due to a domestic violence situation by providing them with automatic relief from charges to avoid impacting their tax rates for these claims (unless the domestic violence situation itself was attributable to the employment).

The bill is supported by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Community Legal Services, and Philadelphia Legal Assistance.

“I want to thank those who worked with us in crafting the language of this legislation, including advocates for survivors of domestic violence and legal services groups,” noted Mackenzie. “We expect it to receive bipartisan support and are hopeful for quick passage and enactment.”