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Recently the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) released its list of 2022 Legislative Priorities. These advocacy issues are published annually on behalf of state workforce agencies, developed in collaboration with members through 10 national policy committees. Through this list of legislative priorities, NASWA identifies the workforce development investments it recommends for Congress, as well as policy changes for the workforce system, data infrastructure support and unemployment insurance administration.

There are several key takeaways from their priority issues this year, especially concerning unemployment insurance.

The one most on the minds of employers with whom we engage is the waiver of all nonfraudulent pandemic related unemployment compensation.  Some states already chose this route but there are still many states that put the burden on employers to identify claims associated with the pandemic or which have chosen not to allow for non-charging of pandemic claims. If this recommendation comes to fruition, many employers could see a lower tax rate for 2021 and 2022.

Another item of interest to employers would be the waiver of interest payments and accrual of interest on federal advances. During the pandemic, state unemployment trust fund balances were depleted so to ensure the continuance of the program, some states had to borrow funds via a Title XII loan. If the loans are not repaid by a certain date each year, interest accrues and must be paid. The waiver of this interest payment would certainly have a positive impact to employers. Since employers fund the unemployment insurance system, states would be looking to them to provide repayment of the interest.

One other notable recommendation is giving states the flexibility over the CARES Act funding by extending their authority over its use. Again, some states used this funding to help replenish their trust fund balances, thereby precluding the need to borrow from the federal government. If states are given further flexibility, they could use this to improve their antiquated databases or add staffing.

While all of the recommendations would be a step in the right direction, these three are topics with the most interest for our clients. The full list of NASWA recommendations is as follows:

Unemployment Insurance Administration:

The main focus on NASWA’s unemployment insurance recommendations are designed to prepare for future recessions while promoting efficient and equitable administration of UI programs. The recommendations include:

Workforce System:

NASWA’s recommended changes in the workforce system are designed to increase flexibility for states and enhance federal investment. They advocate for the following actions to achieve those goals:

Data Infrastructure Support

NASWA also advocates for the following recommendations to invest in state-driven data infrastructure, better align the workforce with post-secondary and infrastructure investments, reduce systemic barriers to success and promote economic mobility:

Regardless of the legislative outcomes for NASWA’s unemployment insurance priorities this year, companies can still take steps to manage their costs by leveraging the expertise of unemployment management professionals.


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