A new law in Montana has prioritized domestic violence victims and ensured that everyone is entitled to a full slate of unemployment insurance benefits.

Prior to the law – recently signed into effect by Gov. Steve Bullock – Montanans who had to leave their jobs due to domestic violence could only receive up to 10 weeks of unemployment benefits. Now, they are eligible for the full 28 weeks just like any other claimant.

“Domestic-violence victims now eligible for 28 weeks of UI benefits.”

The Associated Press reported that the law goes into effect on July 1. However, any claimant must also prove that they are victims of domestic violence, either through a court order of protection or other valid documentation.

“No Montanan should be forced to choose between the physical safety of themselves and their children and their economic security,” Bullock emphasized in a statement. “This law will is an important step towards promoting workplace equity, and it will provide victims of domestic violence an avenue to leave their job and seek new employment where they and their families can be safe.”

Law addressed the economic impact of domestic violence
While domestic violence is incredibly personal, it does have an economic impact on the state. Victims are often forced out of work for a variety of reasons, and they are then typically on their own financially. This not only puts a strain on them but their employer as well.

In Bullock’s news release, the governor’s office reported that U.S. women lose an average of 8 million days of paid work per year due to domestic violence. Having a lifeline of unemployment insurance is critical at this time.

Abbie Chermack, outreach and education coordinator at the Friendship Center, a domestic and sexual violence shelter in Helena, Montana, explained her backing for the law to the AP.

“Through the support behind this bill, victims are feeling like they are starting to be truly seen, heard and understood,” she said.

In addition to the new law, Montana’s jobless rate is on the way down. It was 4.1 percent in March, according to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry. Not only is the state’s economy improving, but the legislation change will be a direct benefit to workers across Montana.

At Corporate Cost Control, we work closely with employers across the country to better manage the nuances of unemployment insurance. Legislation changes on the state level could impact you today, and we welcome any questions or concerns you may have on a wide range of topics.


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