Last night, the Maine House and Senate passed a bill to penalize laid-off workers in our state.  The legislation, LD 1785, delays benefits for newly-unemployed workers until they’ve used up most of the vacation time they earned by doing their job.

This bill takes money out of working families’ pockets at the time they need it the most and is a direct reduction in benefits for every worker in our state.

“We are disappointed that Governor LePage and his legislative allies spent this session working to undermine the unemployment system and harm laid off workers,” said Maine AFL-CIO President Don Berry.  “Maine people worked tirelessly to oppose this bill and as a result some of the worst provisions were defeated. Working people should be proud of their efforts to maintain the unemployment system, a basic lifeline for families in Maine.”

As a direct result of the outcry from Maine workers, the damages done by LD 1785 were partially limited by amendments that passed in both the House and Senate, which only hold the first 4 weeks of vacation pay against laid-off workers.

However, the legislation still marks a rollback in protections for working Mainers and recreates a problem the legislature recognized in 2010 when they initially ensured that laid-off workers would not have their unemployment benefits delayed.