(1) Existing law provides for the payment of unemployment compensation benefits to eligible persons who are unemployed through no fault of their own through a federal-state unemployment insurance program administered by the Employment Development Department. Unemployment compensation benefits are paid from the Unemployment Fund, which is continuously appropriated for this purpose. Under existing law, unemployment compensation benefits are based on wages paid in a base period that is calculated according to the month within which the benefit year begins. Existing law provides that a weekly unemployment compensation benefit amount may be paid to an individual whose highest wages in the quarter of their base period exceeded $900, but a weekly benefit amount may not exceed $450. Existing law requires the Director of Employment Development to maintain a separate reserve
account for each employer, and to charge unemployment compensation benefits paid to an unemployed individual during any benefit year against the reserve account of that individual’s employer during the individual’s base period.
Existing law, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), temporarily provides for expanded unemployment benefits through the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provisions of the CARES Act.
This bill would require the department to provide, until July 1, 2022, following the termination of assistance pursuant to PUA and PEUC or any other federal or state supplemental unemployment compensation payments for unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to an individual’s weekly benefit amount as otherwise provided for by
existing unemployment compensation law, unemployment compensation benefits equivalent to the terminated federal or state supplemental unemployment compensation payments for the remainder of the duration of time the individual is unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding the weekly benefit cap. The bill would prohibit any unemployment compensation benefits authorized by the bill from being charged against the reserve account of any employer.
Because this bill would authorize additional benefits to be paid from the Unemployment Fund, which is continuously appropriated, it would make an appropriation.
(2) The Dymally-Alatorre Bilingual Services Act, among other things, generally requires every state agency, as defined, directly involved in certain activities involving contact with a
substantial number of non-English-speaking people, including administering state benefits, to employ a sufficient number of qualified bilingual persons in public contact positions to ensure provision of information and services to the public in the language of the non-English-speaking person.
This bill would specifically require the Employment Development Department to comply with that provision in order to ensure that non-English-speaking California residents have adequate access to department employees who are qualified to provide information regarding applying for, and receiving, unemployment insurance benefits in the language of the non-English-speaking person.
(3)This bill would declare that it is to take effect immediately as an urgency statute.