RICHMOND, Va. - Tuesday, Gov. Glenn Youngkin ceremonially signed three bills reforming the Virginia Employment Commission and two bills providing a pathway for businesses to provide private family leave for their employees.
“From day one, a top priority of my administration has been to address the significant challenges at the VEC," Youngkin said. "The VEC faced an unprecedented number of unemployment claims during the peak of the pandemic, facing fifty times the claims in a normal week. 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.”
HB 270 and SB 219 align administrative and reporting processes of the VEC with recommendations outlined in a report by Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission. The recommendations addressed many of the critical issues with the VEC highlighted during the height of the pandemic.
SB 769 will require the VEC 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's Office of the Inspector General. It will also require the VEC to perform a full eligibility review of suspicious or improper unemployment claims, and recover any improper overpayment of benefits to the fullest extent of state and federal law.
The two bills establishing family leave as a class of insurance, HB 1156 and SB 15, will create benefit programs to pay for employee income loss due to the birth or adoption of a child; placement of a child with the employee for foster care; care of a family member of the employee who has a serious health condition; or circumstances arising from 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.
“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.”