President Obama unveiled a set of changes to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system on Saturday aimed at providing more security for out of work Americans and encouraging them to re-join the workforce.

The President’s proposals focus on three major elements: Protecting workers with wage insurance, strengthening unemployment insurance and making it easier for workers to retool and retrain.

The aim of the proposals is to ensure Americans can rely on UI to provide basic support during difficult times by expanding coverage and ensuring states have the resources to provide benefits

The president’s proposal would require states to provide wage insurance to workers who lose their jobs and find new employment at lower pay. The insurance would replace half of the lost income, up to $10,000 over two years. It would be available to workers who were with their prior employer for three years and make less than $50,000 in their new job.

The plan would also address holes in the UI system by expanding coverage to part-time, low-income, intermittent workers and workers who leave work for compelling family reasons. It would also ensure that states provide at minimum 26 weeks of coverage.

Furthermore, companies will be encouraged to avoid layoffs but instead opt to work-sharing schemes.

More detail on these proposals will be described further in the Obama’s next month budget

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