Corbett signs Pa. law on unemployment changes

    Gov. Tom Corbett has finalized a measure intended to save $114 million a year, as well as guarantee 45,000 Pennsylvanians keep receiving unemployment compensation checks.

    Corbett signed the bill into law in private Friday while traveling in western Pennsylvania.

    State lawmakers waited until the very last minute to pass the law.

    Another day and checks would have stopped for those on extended federal unemployment.

    But the Senate moved briskly Friday morning, unanimously approving the measure in less than a half hour. Among other changes, the law will help companies avoid layoffs by creating a “work-share” program.

    Republican Sen. John Gordner, who authored the measure, said “work-share” will let companies reduce employees’ hours instead of laying them off. Workers will be able to file for partial unemployment benefits to make up for the drop in income.

    “So that they would not be out in regard to amount of monies, but rather than be laid off, they could continue to work, which is of benefit to the employer and employee,” Gordner said.

    The legislation also requires those receiving checks to actively look for work. It would delay benefits for anyone earning more than $17,000 in severance pay.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.