On Tuesday in Virginia’s capitol, Governor Youngkin ceremonially signed five bills that deliver on the Governor’s commitment to enact common sense solutions to make government work better for Virginians and provide solutions for the Commonwealth’s business community.
According to the official announcement, one of the bills is meant to help the struggling Virginia Employment Commission (VEC), is bring meaningful reform to the troubled commission:
“From day one, a top priority of my administration has been to address the significant challenges at the VEC. The VEC faced an unprecedented number of unemployment claims during the peak of the pandemic, facing fifty times the claims in a normal week,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“These bills will go a long way in making government work for the people again, improving the VEC’s operations to ensure they are ready to handle any future economic challenges and promoting process integrity to ensure we can detect and stop fraud.”
The Governor also signed two bills that provide a pathway for businesses to provide private family leave for their employees.
“Until today, there has been no state permitting companies to offer insurance plans that cover family leave benefits,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I am proud to say that Virginia is leading the way by being the first state to pass legislation like this. It’s important to find solutions that balance the needs of workers with the flexibility needs of businesses, their employees and families.”
In total, five bills were signed, with the other 3 being:
- HB 270, patroned by Delegate Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, and SB 219, patroned by Senator Jeremy McPike, D-Prince William, which aligns administrative and reporting processes of the Virginia Employment Commission with recommendations outlined in JLARC’s
- SB 769, patroned by Senator Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania, which requires the Virginia Employment Commission to conduct all mandatory and recommended program integrity activities as identified by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, perform a full eligibility review of suspicious or potentially improper unemployment claims, and recover any improper overpayment of benefits to the fullest extent authorized by state and federal law.
- HB 1156, patroned by Delegate Kathy Byron, R-Bedford, and SB 15, patroned by Senator Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, which establishes family leave insurance as a class of insurance. The bill defines “family leave insurance” as an insurance policy issued to an employer related to a benefit program provided to an employee to pay for the employee’s income loss due to (i) the birth of a child or adoption of a child by the employee; (ii) placement of a child with the employee for foster care; (iii) care of a family member of the employee who has a serious health condition; or (iv) circumstances arising out of the fact that the employee’s family member who is a service member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty.
With these bills signed, Youngkin has taken meaningful and dramatic steps to help the struggling VEC, whose failures during 2020 and 2021, according to Delegate Kathy Byron, caused “real harm and genuine hardship for countless Virginians and their families”