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Minnesota Legislature

Some high-tech layoffs eased (new law)

Published (5/1/2009)
By Kris Berggren
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The fear of being laid off will ease for some workers in the renewable energy industry who are now eligible for unemployment benefits as compensation for reducing their work hours while enhancing their high-tech skills.

Signed by Gov. Tim Pawenty April 27 and effective the next day, the new law, sponsored by Rep. Kathy Brynaert (DFL-Mankato) and Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato), allows eligibility for the federally funded Workforce Investment in Regional Economic Development program to take effect; it expires June 30, 2011.

Through WIRED, employers in certain businesses can reduce employees’ work hours while those workers take skills training and receive unemployment benefits in proportion to the amount of reduced hours.

Brynaert said the measure is “a win-win for both workers and employers” and that the $680,000 cost in unemployment benefits will be recouped from employers over a four-year period.


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