EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

February 4, 2014

Mass. Senate considers changes in unemployment aid

BOSTON (AP) — State Senate leaders have unveiled a bill that would make changes in the unemployment insurance system aimed at lowering costs for businesses.

The measure scheduled for debate on Thursday would continue a freeze on unemployment insurance rates through 2017 and reward with lower rates companies that have consistently strong employment records.

The bill also expands an exemption given to seasonal businesses from 16 to 20 weeks.

Senate President Therese Murray calls the current unemployment insurance system a “considerable burden” on businesses in Massachusetts.

The Senate voted last year to hike the state’s minimum wage from $8 per hour to $11 per hour over three years. Many business leaders have argued that unemployment insurance reform should be tied directly to any increase in the minimum wage.

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