Virginia State legislator proposes bar on summer unemployment benefits for musicians

Posted on: January 25, 2012

In Monday’s (1/23) Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia), Wesley P. Hester writes, “Delegate G. Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond, is sponsoring legislation that would deny active symphony orchestra performers unemployment benefits between orchestra seasons. House Bill 1254 would make symphony performers between orchestra seasons ineligible for unemployment between orchestra seasons if they performed during the last season and plan to perform in the upcoming season. Loupassi said Monday that he introduced the legislation after being alerted to the fact that many performers in the state were collecting unemployment each year. ‘They’re not unemployed. They know they’re coming back. They always come back,’ Loupassi said. ‘They just have a job that’s seasonal.’ … Richmond Symphony executive director David J.L. Fisk said that about a quarter of the orchestra’s 70 members collect unemployment in any give year, and an even higher number of the Virginia Symphony’s members. ‘It’s a significant financial burden on both orchestras,’ Fisk said. … The Richmond Symphony pays its unemployment insurance out of pocket to the tune of about $70,000 a year, he said. But the bulk of the Virginia Symphony’s claims go directly through the state’s system, funded with taxpayer dollars.”

Posted January 25, 2012