ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara announced that three pieces of legislation were passed that protect and support small businesses. It will also ensure New Yorkers can access the unemployment benefits they need.

The first piece of legislation replaces the system for determining eligibility for partial unemployment insurance benefits, which is currently based on days worked per week, with a new system based on the applicant’s weekly earnings. At a time when the economy is hurting, Santabarbara believes it is critical that the state encourage – not disincentivize – working, and this change to the current system will ensure that individuals can take on a part-time job without the risk of losing the benefits they need.

The second legislation passed ensures that businesses are not penalized for following shutdown orders. Additionally, a measure was passed that would exclude unemployment charges caused by COVID-19 from being used to calculate an employer’s experience rating. These experience ratings are used to assess unemployment charges on employers that reflect their past unemployment claims, and due to the recent spike in these claims, businesses were bracing for a massive increase in their unemployment insurance tax rates.

Finally, the COVID-19 Emergency Protect Our Small Businesses Act was passed with the package. This Act provides eviction protections for small businesses with less than 50 employees and a demonstrable financial hardship until May 2, as well as extends foreclosure protections for small businesses with 10 or fewer units.