Emergency economic relief subject of house bill

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Alaska House will consider a bill to consider relief for Alaskans who have lost time at work due to the spread of COVID-19.

    The Labor and Commerce Committee will consider a bill this week.

    “8% of Alaskan workers were essentially laid off overnight, and they don’t know when they’re coming back to work,” said Ivy Spohnholz, Chair of the Labor and Commerce Committee. “We must act swiftly to make sure Alaskan families can pay for groceries, rent, mortgages, and other essentials.”

    The bill directs the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to provide unemployment insurance to laid-off workers or those who lost work hours.  This includes workers who were forced to self-quarantine.

    “Alaska’s fishing and tourism industries are reeling from the fallout COVID-19,” said Committee Vice-Chair Louise Stutes. “HB 308 will make sure that we can tide Alaskans over until our economy resumes again.”

    Legislators said without this legislation or regulatory changes, the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development may not be able to compensate workers for lost hours and associated income.

    Legislators also wrote the Alaska Congressional Delegation to ask for assistance from the federal government.

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