Senator Wiener’s Statement on Unemployment Benefits in the Federal Economic Rescue Bill

March 25, 2020

Sacramento - Today, Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) released the following statement regarding the federal emergency rescue bill, which contains a massive expansion of unemployment benefits for laid off and furloughed workers.

Under this proposal, workers will receive regular unemployment, plus $600 per week for four months. Regular unemployment benefits will be extended by 13 weeks, and freelancers and gig workers will be covered by the $600 per week supplemental unemployment benefit. Additionally, workers will get unemployment if they’re furloughed but not laid off — i.e., not getting paid but still getting healthcare.

This legislation comes at a time when freelance and gig workers, who are not covered by unemployment benefits, badly need support on both state and federal levels. Senator Wiener is exploring how best to extend full benefits to freelance and gig workers during the COVID-19 crisis. 

The U.S. Senate is expected to pass this emergency legislation later today.

Senator Wiener said:

“The COVID-19 emergency is dramatically harming workers. People are losing their jobs and having hours cut back. Many workers will struggle to make rent. This unemployment expansion is extremely significant, and will help tens of millions of workers survive through this difficult time. It’s rare to see bipartisan support for a bill with such strong worker protections, and I hope this spirit continues far past the COVID-19 emergency. Although this legislation isn’t perfect, it will provide much needed relief for our nation’s workforce.”