Public hearing on Unemployment Compensation Issues during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Senate Labor & Industry Committee AND Senate Communications & Technology Committee
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 | 1:00 p.m.

Senate Chamber and Remote Participation



The Senate Labor and Industry Committee and Senate Communications and Technology Committee held a joint hearing to examine the problems with the Unemployment Compensation (UC) system that have created significant delays in assistance and extreme frustrations from claimants.

Some of the topics discussed during the hearing included:

  • *The number of claimants who have applied for benefits and have not yet received payments.
  • *The Department of Labor and Industry’s early efforts to plan for the influx of claims and increased call volumes during the pandemic.
  • *The troubled roll-out of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
  • *How the hundreds of millions of dollars of funding for UC computer and technology upgrades authorized by the General Assembly was used to actually improve the system.
  • *The timeline for the hundreds of thousands of outstanding claims to be processed.
  • *How getting more employers and employees back to work will impact the UC system.

1:00 to 1:15     Introductions

Senator Camera Bartolotta, Chair, Labor & Industry Committee
Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill, Chair, Communications & Technology Committee
Senator Christine Tartaglione, Minority Chair, Labor & Industry Committee
Senator Tim Kearney, Minority Chair, Communications & Technology Committee 

1:15 to 2:15     Panel #1 

Jerry Oleksiak, Secretary
Department of Labor & Industry

Bob O’Brien, Executive Deputy Secretary
Department of Labor & Industry           

Bill Trusky, Deputy Secretary for UC Programs
Department of Labor & Industry

2:15 to 3:00     Panel #2 

Chris Hackett, President and CEO

Alex Halper, Director, Government Affairs
Pennsylvania Chamber of Business & Industry                                   

Julia Simon-Mishel, Supervising Attorney, Unemployment Compensation Unit
Philadelphia Legal Assistance             

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