By now you’ve probably heard that Congress passed a bill that’ll extend the Bush-era 2% payroll tax cut. Well, prolonging the tax cut isn’t all it’s going to do.
The bill, dubbed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, also contains five other provisions that haven’t received nearly as much hype.
Here’s a rundown of else the bill will do:
- Expand work sharing program. The bill will allow workers who’ve had their hours reduced to receive unemployment benefits equal to half of their reduction in pay. Unemployment insurance funds will be used to pay for this benefit. Proponents of this provision say the current unemployment system tends to encourage layoffs because unemployed workers can collect benefits worth half of the former wages. So this provision is expected to keep more people on the job.
- Give more money to training programs. More funding will be given to programs like Georgia Works, in which unemployed individuals collect benefits in exchange for participating in a job training program.
- Provide benefits for self-employed. Entrepreneurs and self-employed workers will also be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.
- Allow drug testing. States will be allowed to test unemployment benefits applicants for drugs if they lost their jobs because of drug use or they’re seeking jobs that require drug tests.
- Extend unemployment benefits. Unemployment benefits will be extended once again. But the bill caps the maximum duration an individual can receive benefits at 73 weeks, down from 99 weeks.
President Obama hasn’t signed the bill yet, but has indicated that he will as soon as Congress passes it down to him.