Urgent! Please ask your state Senator to vote “Yes” on SHB 1106 April 6 and fill the caregiver gap in unemployment benefits!

This Thursday, April 6, the Washington state Senate will vote on SHB 1106, a bill that ULP helped develop to reform unemployment benefits to protect family caregivers. The bill has already passed the state House of Representatives and this is the final vote needed. Please ask your state Senator to vote for SHB 1106 on Thursday to assure that caregivers faced with impossible workshift conflicts or care facility closures are protected by unemployment benefits law.

This bill fixes a critical hole in the unemployment insurance safety net for family members caring for children, elderly parents, or other vulnerable adults. If they are forced to quit a job because caregiving has become inaccessible, they can receive unemployment benefits to look for another job.

Washington’s restrictive good-cause-to-quit list covers some situations such as dangerous workplace conditions or a worker’s or family member’s illness—but caregiving inaccessibility has been conspicuously absent. This omission is a relic of a long-past era when women’s domestic responsibilities were not considered relevant to employers’ needs.

The Senate vote is a milestone for this bill, which ULP has been supporting over the last six years to correct an injustice. That is the exclusion of family caregivers who have outside jobs—a majority of whom are women—from access to benefits when they have no choice but to quit their job because a change of workshift or a local condition such as day cares closing has made family caregiving impossible.

Outstanding leaders—House Labor Committee chair Rep. Liz Berry and bill sponsor Rep. Mary Fosse and the bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Rebecca Saldaña— have led the campaign to get this important legislation passed. SHB 1106 is a priority of the United Labor Lobby, led by Washington State Labor Council, and Moms Rising as well as the Unemployment Law Project.

Contact your Senator today and urge their vote for SHB 1106. (For help in finding your district, see https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/)

Your support will help bring SHB 1106 across the finish line!

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