"Alaska currently ranks 47th in the nation with a maximum weekly benefit of $248."
- Rep. Anderson
"An Act relating to the calculation and payment of unemployment compensation benefits; and providing for an effective date."
House Bill 305 provides an 8.2% increase the maximum weekly unemployment benefit amount. This increase, phased in over a three-year period, minimizes the impact to employers, employees, and the UI Trust Fund. Alaska currently ranks 47th in the nation with a maximum weekly benefit of $248. Alaska will rank an estimated 28th in the nation when the maximum weekly benefit is fully increased to $308 in 2006. The fully increased maximum benefit amount would be available to claimants earning $34,250 or more per year.
The full impact of the increase in benefit costs will not be reflected in employer tax rates until 2010. When the cumulative impact of the increased benefit costs is included in the tax rate calculation by 2010, the average employer tax rate will increase by 0.17% and the average employee tax rate will only increase by 0.04%.
Alaska's unemployment benefits assist Alaskans who find themselves temporarily without work. The benefits are distributed back into the local economy, which in turn maintains economic stability for communities, business, and workers. HB 305 enables Alaskan workers to weather periods of economic downturn and alleviates skill shortages by keeping trained workers in Alaska.