Workforce is a Top Priority for the Governor and Legislature in 2022

February 11, 2022 | Comeback from COVID JD Davis, ABI,

We’re in the thick of the 2022 legislative session and proposals to address Iowa’s workforce shortage are numerous. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have filed legislation aimed at incentivizing, encouraging and helping Iowans take advantage of career opportunities employers are offering across the state. Addressing the workforce challenge is a top priority for ABI and we’re pleased to see legislators put a significant focus on the issue this year. The Executive Branch is leading on this matter as well.

During her time in office, Governor Kim Reynolds has spearheaded many workforce initiatives that aim to break down barriers and help upskill Iowans so they can build better lives for themselves.Whether it’s Future Ready Iowa, Manufacturing 4.0, STEM, or other policies, the governor has made workforce a focal point of her tenure. 

During her Condition of the State address last month, Governor Reynolds announced she would be filing legislation that tackles subjects such as unemployment insurance reform, housing costs, childcare, licensing reform, tort reform and other key issues that taken together, unlock opportunities for Iowa’s workforce. ABI is very much in favor of what she is offering to the Legislature and will be working with policymakers there to enact such measures. 

ABI is leading the charge on unemployment insurance (UI) reform in particular. Iowa employers are the sole source of taxpayer revenues to the Iowa unemployment insurance trust fund. These employer tax dollars are allocated in many ways in Iowa not experienced by business competitors in neighboring states. For example, Iowa does not have a one week waiting period for benefits. In fact, we’re one of 11 states in the country that doesn’t have this provision in our law. Iowa is also one of 13 states that does not simply replace a portion of an employed workers paycheck with benefits but instead increases benefits if there are dependents at home. Additionally, if an individual files a claim pursuant to a business closure, enhanced and lengthened benefits are automatically provided. 

The governor specifically stated in her speech that she would be offering a proposal to eliminate the maximum number of months a claimant can receive unemployment insurance from 6 to 4. A separate proposal would enhance suitable work requirements to ensure the recently unemployed who are being offered similar jobs at similar wages take advantage of those opportunities sooner. 

ABI is working to enact these reforms and others during the 2022 legislative session. With more jobs available than people on unemployment in Iowa, we need to ensure that everyone who is able and available to work has the opportunity to do so. We appreciate Governor Reynolds’ continued leadership in making workforce a priority