As your constituent and a member of MomsRising, I am writing to share my strong support of HB 1106, a bill that would remove the caregiver penalty from our state's unemployment insurance laws. It is currently before the Washington State Senate and ready for a final vote.
HB 1106 would make a modest change to the definition of "good cause quit" to include quits that result from a worker's childcare or care of a vulnerable adult becoming inaccessible. This will allow workers to qualify for unemployment insurance while they look for a new job and child or elder care.
Imagine being forced to choose between keeping your job or leaving a two year old home alone because you were moved from the day shift to the night shift, without your consent. Or picture having to leave an elderly parent who depends on round the clock care home alone when that care suddenly becomes unavailable. These are the exact situations we’re talking about when we say “voluntary quits”.
To call these voluntary quits is a misnomer - the problem we are trying to solve for is an impossible situation. In these situations, the employee - and the children who depend on their paycheck - would be denied unemployment insurance benefits.
Unemployment insurance is a lifeline between jobs. It is very possible for workers in these situations to find new work with schedules or care options that work for their family. But this takes time, and unemployment insurance can provide a much needed buffer during that time to prevent a family from spiraling into more dire circumstances.
We urge your support of HB 1106. Thank you!