PA Dept. of Labor and Industry questioned by lawmakers on unemployment

Regional News

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) —Since the beginning of the pandemic, half a million Pennsylvanians have lost their jobs. They are still battling to get help.

A hearing in the Pennsylvania State House Tuesday revolved around the Department of Labor and Industry’s (L&I) response so far. State reps hammered the acting secretary about unemployment claim failures, including that people sending emails asking for help are often waiting between two and nine weeks for a response.

And when it comes to phone calls, many people never even get through.

“Can you all hear that?” Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R-40). “I’m trying to get in touch with somebody at the Department of Labor and Industry. I have been all morning. I have been for 11 months.”

Acting secretary of the Department of L&I Jennifer Berrier said the department is aware of the situation and that it is not acceptable to them.

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“We are working as quickly as we can to beef up our staffing,” Berrier said. “Our goal is to make sure folks can get through on the phone line.”

Berrier said the department is working with two contracting services to reduce wait times by hiring as many people as possible.

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