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Since the economy reopened after the pandemic, almost immediately workforce became a principal issue for policymakers to address. Governor Reynolds made workforce issues a priority in her legislative agenda this year. This week the House and Senate approved a compromise measure reforming and updating Iowa’s unemployment insurance program. 

HF 2355 changed the length of unemployment benefits from 6 months to 4 months. With 85,000 job openings, tens of thousands more openings than Iowans on unemployment, opportunities abound for Iowans to reenter the workforce. Research has shown more people return to work at a higher rate as the benefits deadline nears. 

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Among other changes, this bill also changes the definition of suitable work. If suitable work is offered to people on unemployment, they must take that position or lose benefits. With so many parts of the economy struggling to find workers and some employers closing their doors because they can’t find help, it’s time to address the barriers to re-entering the workforce for some of the unemployed. 

Finally, this bill is expected to save the unemployment trust fund $75,000,000. Those savings will likely lead to a reduction in unemployment taxes employers must pay. Lower unemployment taxes allow them to create new career opportunities or invest in their businesses, employees, and communities. 

The recent explosion of federal government spending has undermined the value of work. Government payments replacing work has hamstrung many parts of the economy and even caused some businesses to shutter completely because of the lack of available workers. This law is designed to get Iowans back into the workforce more quickly and address this pressing need. 

Author: Brad Zaun

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