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News Release
Ohio Department of Job and Family Services
30 E. Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-3414
Ted Strickland
 Helen Jones-Kelley

ODJFS Changes Policies To Assist Dislocated Workers


The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) recently amended trade assistance and unemployment compensation benefit eligibility policies to include clearer definitions of "lack of work." By broadening the definition of lack of work, workers accepting buyouts offered under voluntary workforce reduction programs could be eligible for trade unemployment benefits.


"We are committed to ensuring that Ohio workers are equipped with all available resources to assist them in a quick transition back into the workforce," Helen Jones-Kelley, ODJFS Director said. "As companies introduce innovative streamlining programs we must make sure our policies address those changes so workers who are dislocated due to a lack of work are eligible for the programs intended to help them."


Under previous policy, some workers who voluntarily accepted employer-approved separation plans were viewed as choosing to leave and not considered eligible for trade benefits. In the new policy, effective May 17, 2007, lack of work now includes any job loss, including retirements, occurring as the result of an employer approved staff reduction effort due to lack of work. Adversely affected workers must still meet other eligibility requirements to receive trade or unemployment benefits. The change in policy comes in response to the employer approved separation plan accepted by numerous Delphi/GM autoworkers last year as part of a major workforce reduction effort in the auto industry.


The federally-funded Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program provides additional benefits to individuals whose jobs have been lost as a result of foreign trade as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. These benefits include training allowances, job search assistance and relocation expense reimbursement. Other trade assistance which may be available include extended unemployment benefits, also known as Trade Readjustment Allowances (TRA), and Alternative Trade Adjustment Assistance, a wage supplement for workers over age 50 who become re-employed within 26 weeks of separation.


Unemployment compensation benefits provide temporary and partial wage replacement to eligible workers who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. Ohio employers fund the unemployment compensation benefits system through insurance taxes paid into the Ohio Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. More than $1 billion in unemployment benefits were paid to Ohio workers during the past year.

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For more information, contact ODJFS Communications, (614) 466-6650.