Recent legislation provides much-need family support.
Nebraskans who leave the workforce to care for a family member can now apply for unemployment insurance benefits. Legislative Bill 260 added “caring for a family member with a serious health condition” to the list of reasons that are considered “good cause for voluntarily leaving employment” under Nebraska Employment Security Law. Benefits are available only for a limited time up to a limited amount while the worker seeks to rejoin the workforce – just like it is for any other unemployed applicant. It is estimated that this new law will increase unemployment payouts by about $400,000 in a typical year.
Senator Megan Hunt of Omaha sponsored the legislation which had bipartisan support and 25 co-sponsors. In explaining the rationale for the bill, Senator Hunt said, “After the year we have had, it’s been my goal to do something that will provide some tangible relief to Nebraskans. More Nebraskans than ever this past year have had to make the difficult choice to stay home with a loved one who is seriously ill. With the passage of LB 260, Nebraska is officially recognizing family caregiving as a legitimate reason for leaving employment.