Congressman Renacci Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Create Jobs through Unemployment Reform


Date: June 6, 2011
Location: Washington DC

Today, Congressman Jim Renacci (OH-16) announced the introduction of H.R. 2137, the EMPLOY Act, a bipartisan bill which would encourage on-the-job training and rehiring of the unemployed.

The legislation, entitled the Empowering More Productive and Lasting Opportunity (EMPLOY) Act, would create direct disbursements to qualifying employers as an alternative to unemployment benefits. If a business hires an eligible individual, a wage disbursement will be paid directly to the business at a rate of no more than 90 percent of what the unemployed individual would have received through unemployment compensation. In return for this disbursement, the employing business must agree to pay the individual at least 110 percent of what they would normally receive by collecting unemployment.

Created as a cost-effective way to foster job growth, the EMPLOY Act offers a wide range of benefits for workers and employers, while generating new tax revenue for the government by getting more Americans back to work. The legislation gives businesses an incentive to hire those seeking work by reducing the overhead costs of employment, while simultaneously affording workers an opportunity to earn more money via new employment than they received collecting unemployment benefits. In addition, the program allows the government to spend less money on direct disbursements given to businesses than it would on an individual's unemployment benefits, while also generating new revenue from growth in the size of the payroll tax and individual income tax pool.

"Since January of 2009, our economy has lost 2.5 million jobs--an average of 3,044 jobs have been lost every day during that time period. It's time to stop the bleeding and get Americans back to work," Congressman Renacci said. "The House Republican Plan for America's Job Creators includes the goal of encouraging entrepreneurship and growth. The EMPLOY Act will significantly reduce the risk associated with hiring a new employee, giving businesses the confidence they need to hire more workers. It has positive implications for the entire economy--beginning with more take home pay for working families."

On a local level, the EMPLOY Act enjoys the strong support of the Stark-Tuscarawas Workforce Investment Board. "The implementation of a system to connect unemployed individuals … with employers in need of a skilled workforce will promote the creation of jobs and allow [unemployment insurance] recipients to more quickly return to the labor force," said Alice Stephens, Executive Director of the WIB, which operates the regional One Stop Employment Source.

"The EMPLOY Act creates new avenues for assisting the unemployed without touching existing unemployment benefits. Crucially, it reduces government spending while giving businesses new incentives to hire," said Democratic Congressman Hansen Clarke (MI-13), who co-sponsored the legislation.

"Expanded business operations translate into increased revenue, which will help bring down the deficit," Congressman Renacci added. "I am pleased to introduce this bill with the co-sponsorship of Congressman Clarke, and I am hopeful that our colleagues in Congress work with us to pass this bill and help spur the job growth we so badly need."