Saturday, October 02, 2004

 

Low paid in Ohio? Got laid off? Uh, you know that unemployment check you thought you had coming . . .

"If you work year-round, 35 hours a week but at minimum wage or close to it Ohio, alone among the states, you're not eligible for unemployment benefits."

Hard to believe? Well, Allison Grant of the Plain Dealer today has an eye opening story on this loophole in the state's unemployment system.

According to a report, authored by the National Employment Law Project, this is no "small" loophole. In fact, there were 352,302 Ohioans who ruled ineligible becuase they fell just short of the hours and wages in 2002. The report said that there were 508,117 Ohioans who were ineligible for any benefits because they worked less than 20 hours a week or averaged less than $100 a week.

A fix would apparently cost $4-6 million a year - less than one percent of the benefits typically paid.

So, who could object to this, especially since employers are already paying into the fund for these workers? Report co-author Rick McHugh was quoted as saying, "I don't see how you defend [the ineligibility] from a policy perspective."

Well, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, will step up to that plate. "You just can't continue to make the pie bigger and compensate everything under the sun, or you're not going to have any jobs," said Andrew Doehrel, president of the OCC.

Someone send the man something by Charles Dickens.

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