Notice: Unemployment Insurance Hearing: September 16, 2020


On Wednesday, September 16, 2020, Councilmember Elissa Silverman (I-At-Large), Chair of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hold a Public Oversight Hearing on on the District’s unemployment compensation program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hearing will air on the DC Council's Live Stream channel and TV Channel 13.

Those who wish to testify live must email the Committee at [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 14, 2020. 

If you are unable to testify live, written and voicemail statements will be made a part of the official record. Statements should be submitted by email to [email protected] or by calling (202) 455-0153 by 5:00 p.m. on October 7, 2020 (this date has been extended from the original deadline of September 30).

A complete hearing announcement along with instructions for submitting live testimony, as well as written or phone testimony, can be found here and below.

Councilmember Elissa Silverman, Chairperson of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, announces a public oversight hearing before the Committee on the District’s unemployment compensation program during the COVID-19 pandemic and B23-500, the Unemployment Compensation Employer Classification Amendment Act of 2019. Note: This notice has been revised to include B23-500 as one of the covered topics.

In March 2020, as local businesses began to implement measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, the District passed legislation expanding eligibility for unemployment benefits to workers who otherwise would not qualify. The United States Congress expanded access to unemployment, boosted benefits payments, and provided supplementary funding to states workforce agencies via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Between March 13, 2020, and July 15, 2020, the Department of Employment Services (DOES) received more than 128,000 applications for unemployment benefits. During this time, an overwhelming number of individuals and businesses also reached out to their Councilmembers with questions and concerns regarding the unemployment insurance system. At this hearing, the Committee will hear testimony about the District’s response to the steep increase in unemployment claims caused by the pandemic. In addition, the hearing will consider B23-500 which aims to align District law with the requirements of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act by clarifying that government entities and instrumentalities may make payments into the District Unemployment Fund.

Witnesses may use their phone or computer to participate in this virtual hearing. Those who wish to testify must email the Committee at [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 14, 2020 to provide their name, email address, telephone number, organizational affiliation and job title (if any), as well as the language of oral interpretation they require (if any).  Witnesses who require language interpretation or sign language interpretation are requested to inform the Labor Committee of the need as soon as possible, but no later than 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The Council’s Office of the Secretary will fulfill timely requests for language interpretation services, however requests received later than July 1 may not be able to be fulfilled due to vendor availability.

The committee will email instructions on how to participate and the Webex link to those who have signed up by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, September 14, 2020. Only witnesses who have signed up by the deadline will be permitted to participate.

Those wishing to testify are encouraged to submit an electronic copy of written testimony by 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, so that staff may distribute testimonies to committee members and staff in advance. Those representing organizations will have five minutes to present their testimony, and other individuals will have three minutes to present their testimony; less time will be allowed if there is a large number of witnesses.

If anyone is unable to testify at the roundtable, written statements will be made a part of the official record. Written statements should be submitted by email to [email protected].  Additionally, the public may provide testimony by voice mail by calling (202) 455-0153, stating and spelling the witness’s name, stating any organizational affiliation, and speaking slowly to provide a statement to be transcribed and included in the record. The record will close at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 30, 2020.

unemployment insurance hearing