Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf today signed House Bill 1915 into law, which is now Act 60 of 2017, a four-year funding plan crafted in collaboration with the legislature to continue Unemployment Compensation operations by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.
“I want to thank the House and Senate for working with my administration to create this compromise plan that provides an infusion of funding for the unemployment compensation system,” said Governor Wolf. “The agreement allows the commonwealth to provide much-needed stability to the system for dislocated workers, businesses and state employees.”
The legislation provides $115.2 million over the next four years to continue critical technology upgrades and to hire additional employees to offer a minimal increase in service levels. Staffing in the Unemployment Compensation system will remain below pre-furlough levels.
In recent years, the Wolf administration has taken numerous steps to address the prolonged challenges facing the Unemployment Compensation system. In April, the governor signed Act 1 of 2017, which provided $15 million in temporary funding to rehire 200 workers, reopen the Altoona call center and reduce lengthy customer service delays.
Additionally, the department is submitting monthly reports to the General Assembly and, through the governor’s GO-TIME initiative, is using Lean practices pioneered in the private sector to eliminate waste and improve efficiencies of operations.
Lean improvements include changing the wording of questions on the application for benefits to reduce the number of incorrect responses and delays, and bringing the processing of employer registrations from 41 steps down to 15 steps while also eliminating an unnecessary letter to employers.
Earlier this year the Wolf administration filed a lawsuit against IBM that alleges fraud and failures related to the Unemployment Compensation Modernization System project. The lawsuit asserts claims for breach of contract, fraudulent inducement, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, intentional non-disclosure, and fraudulent concealment. The lawsuit is in the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.