Employment Law Alert – Unemployment Insurance Expanded and Extended But Not Cobra Subsidy

July 29, 2010

On Thursday, July 22, 2010, President Obama signed legislation which further extends access to federal unemployment insurance benefits.  Unlike previous acts, this new legislation does not continue the 65% subsidy for COBRA health coverage.  Absent further Congressional action, the COBRA subsidy is not available for employees who were laid off after May 31, 2010.  

In April 2010, Berliner Cohen brought you an update on the Continuing Extension Act of 2010, which allowed for an additional short-term extension of unemployment benefits and the COBRA subsidy put into place by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (“ARRA”). 

The Continuing Extension Act of 2010 provided that individuals who lost their jobs prior to May 31, 2010 may be eligible for the 65% subsidy for COBRA health insurance, and permitted transition relief for those who lost their jobs between March 31, 2010 and April 15, 2010.  The Continuing Extension Act extended the period in which individuals could apply for federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) to June 2, 2010.  The law was intended to give Congress time to decide whether these benefits should be extended through December 31, 2010.  However, no action was taken by June 2, 2010; thus access to the expanded unemployment benefits terminated as of that date.

The July 2010 bill restores individuals who experienced a disruption in unemployment benefits by making access to those benefits retroactive to June 2, 2010, and carries benefits forward through November 30, 2010.  However, the Employment Development Department (EDD) has pointed out that the new federal legislation will not impact the nearly 152,000 individuals in California who have already received the maximum 99 weeks of extension benefits. 

If you have any questions regarding these changes or how they affect your business, please contact Kara Arguello or any member of Berliner Cohen’s Employment Law Group.

Roberta S. Hayashi

Christine Long

Kara L. Arguello



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Berliner Cohen’s experienced employment law attorneys advise and represent employers and managers on a full range of legal issues affecting the workplace, including harassment and discrimination, unfair competition and trade secrets, wrongful discharge, wage and hour issues, and labor disputes.  Berliner Cohen is one of the largest and oldest law firms in San Jose serving the business and regulatory needs of private business and public agencies in Northern California.  For 40 years, the Firm has developed the special expertise required by a diverse client base consisting of nationally recognized business interests and a number of Silicon Valley's largest national and multinational corporations, new ventures, leading real estate developers and brokerages, cutting-edge technology companies, healthcare and other service providers, banking and financial institutions, municipalities, public agencies and individuals.  Berliner Cohen also meets the growing demands of the San Joaquin Valley with its expanding office in Merced.