Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Amendment Would Allow Denial of Jobless Benefits

In advance of the Senate starting its fiscal 2013 budget deliberations on Wednesday, a state senator is pushing efforts to tighten the state's unemployment assistance laws by allowing employers to deny benefits to those fired for stealing, drinking or doing drugs on the job.

Sen. Brian Joyce (D-Milton) said an amendment he filed to the budget bill (Amendment 243) would change a state law that forces businesses in some cases to pay benefits to workers caught engaged in any of those activities if they lack a specific written policy prohibiting such behavior.

"I recognize that unemployment benefits serve as an essential bridge from one opportunity to the next," Joyce said in a statement. "This amendment simply seeks to end abuse by removing those who do not deserve unemployment benefits from the system, including those let go for serious misconduct." Reps. Cleon Turner (D-Dennis) and Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville) filed the same amendment in the House last month and it passed unanimously, according to Joyce.