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  • Acts
  • 1999
  • Chapter 172 AN ACT RELATIVE TO UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE RATES AND WORKFORCE TRAINING.

Whereas , The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is, in part, to provide forthwith for unemployment insurance rates in 2000, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Chapter 175 of the acts of 1998 is hereby amended by striking out section 25 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 25. Sections 3A, 20A and 21A of this act shall take effect on December 31, 2002.

SECTION 2. Said chapter 175 is hereby further amended by striking out section 26 and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

Section 26. Section 19A of this act shall take effect on January 1, 2003.

SECTION 3. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 14 of chapter 151A of the General Laws, the experience rate of an employer qualifying therefor under subsection (b) of said section 14 of said chapter 151A shall be the rate which appears in the column designated "B" for calendar year 2000.

SECTION 4. There is hereby established a special legislative task force to consist of six members; three of whom shall be appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, one of whom shall be the house chairman of the committee on commerce and labor; and three of whom shall be appointed by the president of the senate, one of whom shall be the senate chairman of the committee on commerce and labor. The chairmen of the commerce and labor committee shall serve as chairmen of the task force. The task force shall consider the following two issues:

(1) The task force shall make an investigation and study of the financing of the commonwealth's unemployment insurance system, including but not limited to a review of the need for adjusting the current positive and negative ranges of the experience rate table and the trust fund schedules and ratios as established in section 14 of said chapter; the adequacy of the taxable wage base to raise sufficient revenue and any other matter related to the financing of the unemployment insurance trust fund. The task force shall also consider the feasibility of exempting an employer from making unemployment insurance contributions for any employee who was a recipient of cash benefits under a Massachusetts welfare program in the calendar quarter or immediately preceding calendar quarter that wages were first paid by that employer. The task force shall conduct an investigation, hold hearings and receive testimony from members of the general public, including but not limited to organizations representing employers and employees in the commonwealth and the deputy director of the division of employment and training.

(2) The task force shall make an investigation and study of how a portion of the commonwealth's unemployment insurance system trust fund may be used to finance a personal development allowance to enable claimants to apply a portion of their benefits to pay for retraining and skill development. The task force shall investigate the potential demand for such a program, any issues associated with conformity under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, whether the state may get a waiver under the federal law or seek an amendment to the federal law to allow this program to occur, if there are any tax implications for employees using this allowance and any other matter related to the development of a personal development allowance under the unemployment law. The task force shall conduct an investigation, hold hearings and receive testimony from members of the general public, including but not limited to organizations representing employers and employees in the commonwealth and the deputy director of the division of employment and training.

The task force shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation to carry its recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives on or before May 15, 2000.

SECTION 5. There is hereby established a legislative task force to consist of three members of the senate, one of whom shall be the senate chairman of the committee on commerce and labor, three members of the house of representatives, one of whom shall be the house chairman of the committee on commerce and labor. The task force is hereby established for the purpose of making an investigation and study relative to the establishment of a statewide insurance and retirement plan for temporary disability, family medical related leave and retirement. The chairmen of the commerce and labor committee shall serve as chairmen of the task force. The task force shall conduct an investigation and shall hold hearings and receive testimony from members of the general public including but not limited to representatives of organizations representing employers and employees in the commonwealth, the director of labor and workforce development, the commissioner of the division of industrial accidents and the state treasurer, members of the general public knowledgeable in the area of family leave, and members of the general public with experience in human resource management.

The task force shall report to the general court the results of its investigation and study, and its recommendations, if any, together with drafts of legislation to carry its recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives on or before May 15, 2000.

Approved December 30, 1999.