Common Good Vermont Testified on H. 29 (Unemployment Insurance Bill); Urgently Seeks Input from Impacted Nonprofits

On January 18, 2022, Common Good Vermont’s Director, Morgan Webster, testified on H. 29 in front of the House Committee on Commerce and Economic Development.

The Committee’s strike-all amendment to this bill proposes two major changes to Unemployment Insurance (UI) law impacting nonprofits:

  1. Requiring ALL nonprofits, INCLUDING THOSE WITH FEWER THAN FOUR EMPLOYEES that are currently exempt, to provide unemployment insurance, either by paying state taxes or as a self-insured/reimbursable employer.
  2. Implementing a bonding requirement for reimbursable employers. Essentially, this would be a deposit or security paid to the DOL Commissioner that could be drawn from if an employer fails to pay benefit claims they are liable for.

Stakeholder input is needed! Please reach out if your nonprofit:

has fewer than four employees and does not currently provide UI coverage;
is currently a self-insured/reimbursable employer

If you need more information, would like to testify, or would like to speak with Common Good Vermont about these proposed changes, please email [email protected] today! We will share any identifying information without your permission.

How you can help:

  • Make sure relevant members of your leadership team are aware of these proposed changes, and discuss their organizational impact internally. THEN:
  • Email the House Commerce and Economic Development Committee (and CC/BCC [email protected]) to let them know what these proposed changes would mean for your organization. You can find a list of committee member emails HERE. Not sure what to say? Here are some prompts to guide your thinking around these issues:
    • For small nonprofits with <4 employees: What impact would a requirement to provide UI coverage have on your budget? (Try using this tool developed by LCC (shared with their permission) to evaluate the cost for your organization of providing UI as a reimbursable or taxable employer.) How would this additional expense impact services and programming? How much lead time would you need to plan for this change? Would an effective date of July 1, 2022 be feasible for your organization? What additional information or resources would you need to implement this change?
    • For reimbursable employers: Why did you choose to be a reimbursable employer? How was your experience as a reimbursable employer impacted by COVID? Did you need to pay out more for benefit claims? If so, were you prepared and able to cover them? How would a bonding requirement impact your decision to be a reimbursable employer? What feedback or suggestions do you have regarding the proposed bonding amount (two percent of wages paid in the last four quarters)? If a bonding requirement were enacted, how much time would you need to plan for the additional cost?
  • Are you interested in testifying? We expect House Commerce (and possibly other committees) to be taking testimony on this issue in the near future and they will want to hear from impacted organizations (you!). If you are interested in providing written testimony and/or appear in person if called upon, please email [email protected]. We are also happy to support you in preparing testimony. Please note that committee schedules are often set/change last minute, so we will keep you updated.
  • Keep in touch: Common Good VT will be following this issue closely this session and will share information as we learn more.