Colorado

Mar 3, 2010 5:22 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Partial unemployment benefits considered in Colorado

Colorado's Senate has given initial approval to allowing workers partial unemployment benefits if their hours are cut to prevent layoffs.

However, senators also voted Wednesday to suspend the program if it costs too much money.

Colorado's unemployment fund has been insolvent since Jan. 20. Like 30 other states, Colorado is borrowing money interest-free from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits. Democratic Sen. Rollie Heath doesn't think his bill will hurt the fund because partial unemployment would be paid for only 18 weeks, two months less than the period for full unemployment. He said it will avoid more expensive layoffs.

Republicans asked for the safeguard in case employers game the system to avoid paying full salaries.

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