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Led by State Representative Wayne Ford, D-Des Moines, the Iowa House approved House File 623 on Thursday to provide up to 26 weeks of additional unemployment benefits for laid off workers who are retraining for occupations that are determined to be areas where the number of available jobs is growing. 

These added retraining benefits will not be charged against the employer who laid off the workers, because the funding comes from federal job training legislation, estimated to pump $71 million in additional funds into the state’s unemployment trust fund.

Also, this legislation will make it legal to allow people who are unemployed after working part-time to qualify for unemployment benefits without necessarily being required to seek full-time work. The bill also waives any additional unemployment charges against employers who lay off temporary workers in order to give returning military veterans their jobs back.