Changes may be coming to Illinois' unemployment insurance after an agreement between business and labor groups.
The agreed reforms include making it easier for workers to be deemed ineligible for unemployment benefits if they've damaged property, consumed drugs or alcohol on the job, or repeatedly violated attendance policies.
Illinois Retail Merchants Association president Rob Karr says it was a rigorous negotiation, but he can't call it a permanent solution to his issues with unemployment insurance costs.
"To that extent, no, it's not perfection, but there never will be," Karr said. "I think it resolves some important issues to the best of our ability and there will always be other issues to address when we meet again in two years."
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One change which will benefit workers is allowing those who are laid off but also eligible for Social Security to collect full benefits under both programs. Illinois is currently one of only two states to subtract 50 percent of what a worker receives for Social Security from the potential unemployment benefit.
That reform carries an approximate $25 million price tag, but Karr believes the new definitions of misconduct will offset that cost.
The changes will now need to be put in bill form. In a statement, Gov. Bruce Rauner said " “I want to thank the legislators involved in crafting this agreement and urge the legislature to swiftly pass legislation and send it to my desk.”