Help Us Fix Maine's Unemployment System!

Have you struggled to get unemployment benefits during the pandemic? Have you found that unemployment benefits aren't enough to help you get by until you get hired back or find another job? You're not alone!

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that the state unemployment system needs to be strengthened and improved. That's why we have submitted bill to help fix the unemployment system so that this crisis doesn't happen again. LD 1571, sponsored by Speaker Ryan Fecteau, comes directly from the experience of Mainers laid off during the pandemic.

LD 1571 will modernize Maine’s unemployment insurance program to ensure that Maine workers will receive timely and adequate unemployment benefits and that our system runs smoothly to help people get back on their feet. The bill:

  • Sets up a process for Maine to improve the number of unemployed workers who get unemployment benefits. Currently only 1 in 4 unemployed workers gets Unemployment in Maine. 
  • Creates an Unemployment Navigator program to help unemployed workers access benefits and identify systemic problems.
  • Increases supplemental unemployment benefits for dependent children for the first time in 20 years.
  • Increases the eligibility and benefit amount for workers who are partially unemployed. 
  • Requires employers to file unemployment claims for employees subject to a mass layoff or reduction in hours.
  • Removes the disqualification for workers who must leave work for a compelling personal reason, such as a loss of child care or transportation.
  • Eliminates the “waiting week” to receive unemployment benefits.
  • Repeals interest on non-fraud related overpayments. 
  • Penalizes employers that discourage workers from applying for unemployment benefits.

It’s not going to be easy to pass this bill and it is critical that legislators hear about your struggles in accessing unemployment and why this bill is needed.  If you support this legislation, there are three ways to help us pass it:

1.) Share your story about why this bill is important to you.

2) Testify at the public hearing on Monday, May 3 at 9am on Zoom.

3) Email or call your legislators and ask them to support this bill.

We can help you craft your testimony and prepare your comments on this bill if needed.

Would you be interested in being involved in passing this important bill?

PLEASE EMAIL Andy at maineaflcio dor org If you would like to testify, email your legislators or for more information about LD 1571!