Rhode Island Department of Labor & Training announced several changes to the unemployment insurance (UI) system for the State. Taking effect July 1, 2012, the average weekly wage for the UI program will be reduced from 60% of their average weekly wage to 57%. The weekly maximum benefit rate will remain at $566. In addition, calculation of the benefit amount will be based on the average of the two highest quarters of earnings instead of the highest quarter. For those receiving severance pay, collection of UI benefits will be delayed by the number of weeks of severance received, up to a maximum of 26 weeks. The weekly amount an individual must earn to overcome a disqualification for a Voluntary Quit, a discharge for misconduct or a refusal of suitable work will change from 20 times the minimum hourly wage ($148) to the individuals’ weekly benefit amount in each of eight weeks.
Many of the proposed changes to the unemployment insurance system in Rhode Island were supported by The Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce on behalf of our state’s business community.