Terry McAuliffe has signed a bill that will provide an extra month of paid unemployment benefits for the first time since 2009.
The new law will allow eligible Virginians who work part-time for more than 30 days to receive benefits for six months, up from the previous four months.
The minimum amount of time for which eligible Virginian workers can qualify for unemployment benefits is one month.
A Virginia official told The Associated Press that the state is pleased with the bill, saying it’s an important step to help Virginians get back to work.
The bill is expected to be signed into law by McAuliffe on Friday, and the first official benefit announcement will come next week.
The state has struggled to make up for a shortfall in jobless benefits because of a federal government budget shortfall and the implementation of new regulations that require businesses to pay more toward their benefits.
Virginia unemployment has been stuck at 5.6 percent since last August, but the state said last week that the number will likely rise this month because of the temporary unemployment benefits and the state’s planned expansion of the state unemployment benefit program.
In a news release issued last week, McAuliffe’s office said the state will expand its unemployment benefit coverage to cover up to 7 million eligible workers.
The unemployment rate in the Commonwealth was 4.8 percent last year, according to a report from the U.S. Labor Department.