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Assembly passes bill giving employers more flexibility for unemployment compensation

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin workers could be partially laid off and still collect unemployment benefits, under a bill passed by the state Assembly Wednesday. 

On a vote of 74-22, the Assembly agreed to give employers more flexibility under the unemployment compensation rules. It would let bosses reduce work hours for all workers in a certain group, instead of having to lay off just a few.

The measure would bring in federal money to implement the change, and to pay workers’ benefits.

Speaker Robin Vos said it would protect at least some employees from full layoffs, and put more money in employees’ pockets throughout the state.

But Republicans eliminated a provision endorsed by the Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council. It would have warned employers to abide by collective bargaining agreements in designing their work reductions.

Republicans said the warning is not necessary, because the law already requires companies to respect union agreements. The bill now goes to the Senate. 

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