FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 29, 2012
CONTACT: DEO Communications, 850.617.5600, firstname.lastname@example.org
FLORIDA’S UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION PROGRAM BEING RENAMED AS REEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE
Florida becomes first state to better reflect true purpose of helping Floridians return to workforce, while also providing more than $500 million in tax relief
TALLAHASSEE – Florida becomes the first state in the nation to rebrand the state’s Unemployment Compensation Benefits Program to the Reemployment Assistance Program, beginning July 1, 2012. The legislation allowing for the name change focuses attention on the true purpose of the program: finding employment for Floridians, while also providing more than $500 million in tax relief to Florida businesses by reducing the unemployment tax for employers. These positive changes for Florida’s economy were two of Governor Rick Scott’s top economic development goals and achieved this past Legislative Session.
“This transformation to Reemployment Assistance is one of my top priorities for economic development and job creation,” said Governor Rick Scott. “In addition to more accurately reflecting this program’s goal to get Floridians back to work, businesses and employers statewide will also receive more than $500 million in tax relief.”
House Bill 7027, which passed during the 2012 Legislative Session and was signed by Governor Rick Scott on March 28, 2012, renames the Unemployment Compensation Program as the Reemployment Assistance Program, emphasizing the job search activities and reemployment services offered by Florida’s workforce partners to jobless claimants receiving benefits. Florida is the first state in the nation to change Unemployment Compensation to Reemployment Assistance. Additionally:
- Changing the name of the program does NOT change access to benefits provided by the state of Florida or the federal government.
- Claimants will still be able to access benefits and file their claim the same way as they did previously, by going online at www.floridajobs.org, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The legislation does not further extend benefit eligibility.
“One of Governor Scott’s priorities was to implement a Reemployment Assistance Program to better connect job seekers with possible employment opportunities,” said DEO Executive Director Hunting F. Deutsch. “This Program will help enhance jobseekers’ workforce skills based on the current job market and future workforce needs.”
Florida’s businesses will see much needed tax relief thanks to a reduction in the wage base for calculating the unemployment tax paid by businesses, which is reduced from $8,500 to $8,000 per worker. This reduction is estimated to save Florida businesses about $550 million over the next 18 months and $800 million over the next three years.
Other changes effective July 1, 2012, include the Unemployment Appeals Commission renamed as the Reemployment Assistance Appeals Commission and required work searches for claimants in rural counties are reduced from five to three per week.
Florida has thousands of job openings in the state on the Employ Florida Marketplace where reemployment assistance claimants can search for jobs, create a profile and find numerous job search resources. In addition, claimants can receive one-on-one assistance from one of 24 Regional Workforce Boards or nearly 100 One-Stop Career Centers located throughout Florida. More information is available at www.employflorida.com.
In May, the state’s 24 Regional Workforce Boards reported that more than 27,000 Floridians were placed in jobs, with 150,000 job placements reported since January. Of these individuals, 6,298 who previously received reemployment assistance were helped in May, with 33,800 former claimants finding employment since the beginning of the year.
Claimants can call the Reemployment Assistance Program Hotline at 1-800-204-2418 from Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or visit www.floridajobs.org.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity combines the state’s economic, workforce and community development efforts. This new approach helps expedite economic development projects to fuel job creation in competitive communities. For more information, including valuable resources for employers and job seekers, please visit www.floridajobs.org.