State asks appeals court to stay order on resumption of federal pandemic unemployment benefits

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INDIANAPOLIS – The state of Indiana is asking an appeals court to stay a judge’s order to reinstate federal pandemic unemployment payments.

A Marion County judge had ordered the state to immediately resume those payments. Indiana ended its participation in the federal pandemic unemployment programs on June 19.

The decision prompted a lawsuit that led to last week’s order to reinstate them. The Department of Workforce Development has not resumed the payments.

In its motion for a stay of that order filed by the Attorney General’s Office, the state argued that the expanded unemployment benefits are hurting the state’s recovery from the pandemic and leading to a labor shortage:

In mid-May, however, Governor Holcomb determined that continued participation in the CARES Act programs is harming Indiana’s recovery from the economic and social havoc wreaked by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic because the optional federal benefits are dissuading people from returning to the workforce, resulting in a significant labor shortage. He thus withdrew Indiana from those programs effective June 19, 2021, in accordance with the required 30-day notice to the United States Department of Labor (USDOL). The preliminary injunction in this case was issued nearly a week later, on June 25, 2021.

The state is asking the appeals court to expedite the stay:

This case involves issues of significant public concern regarding the ability of our State, its employers, and its employees to recover from the unprecedented economic impact of the pandemic. And the case is highly time-sensitive due to deadlines outside the control of any party. The Court should thus expedite this appeal.

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