Senate passes bill that would give domestic violence, military spouses unemployment benefits
On Friday, the Idaho state Senate passed a bill that would provide unemployment benefits to victims of domestic violence and spouses of transferred military members.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Guthrie, said Idaho is one of only 11 states in the country that does not give benefits to victims of domestic conflicts. It is also one of three states that deny benefits to military spouses who move for new assignments.
“Typically in Idaho to be found eligible when quitting a job, a claimant must have a work-related reason,” Guthrie explained.
This could include individuals fleeing abuse or survivors recovering from violence.
Sen. Scott Herndon, who eventually voted no on the bill, said he was extremely sympathetic to these situations but was leery of raising costs to employers.
“An individual employer would not be singled out to pay a higher rate because they had somebody become unemployed because of domestic violence or military deployment,” Guthrie responded.
The senator said the benefits would be paid for through the Unemployment Insurance Trust fund, which currently has a balance of more than $1 billion.
“The fiscal impact of this legislation is 200,000 for this year, and as weekly benefits amounts go up each year, the increase is estimated to be 3% of each year,” Guthrie added.
The bill passed 29 to 6 on the Senate floor and was assigned to the House Commerce and Human Resources Committee.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of domestic violence, anonymous, confidential help is available 24/7. Call the National Domestic Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit their website at www.thehotline.org. Text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474 if speaking by phone feels too risky.