Extend WA State Unemployment Benefits until the end of August

Extend WA State Unemployment Benefits until the end of August

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Robbie Skyes started this petition to Governor Jay Inslee

As of June 30, 2020, Washington state has 32,824 confirmed cases of coronavirus and seeing an upward trajectory. The number of deaths in the state is also increasing, with 1,332 confirmed deaths [https://www.wsha.org/for-patients/coronavirus/coronavirus-tracker/ June 30 marks the date Washington state sees its second-highest one-day increase in cases [https://komonews.com/news/coronavirus/washington-sees-second-highest-one-day-increase-in-coronavirus-cases Though the number of cases in Washington state is not as high as other states, the upward trend still poses a threat to the safety and wellbeing of Washingtonians. The unemployment rate in Washington state in May was at 14.8%, and will only increase as Governor Jay Inslee pauses the reopening phases [https://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/2020/06/gov-jay-inslee-pauses-final-stage-of-washington-reopening-plan.html

Governor Jay Inslee made job search requirement to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits optional on 3/24/2020 to help those who were laid off due to COVID-19. However, the proclamation is set to expire on June 30, 2020 at 11:59pm. After that, job searches will be required to continue receiving Unemployment Insurance benefits. During the week of June 14 through June 20, there were 29,612 initial regular unemployment claims (up 2.0% from the prior week) and 718,615 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 3.3% from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD). Initial regular claims applications remain at unprecedented elevated levels and are at 450 percent above last year’s weekly new claims applications. 

We are asking Jay Inslee, the Governor of Washington state to extend the optional job search requirement to receive Unemployment Insurance benefits until cases decrease in Washington state. If people are forced to go out and look for jobs, this will inadvertently increase the number of cases even more. Furthermore, this will put the most vulnerable population (immigrant workers, low-income, children, elderly) at  risk since not everybody has the luxury to work from home. We must act now to keep the numbers down and Washingtonians safe.

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