Local legislators were divided last week on a bill that would allow people who lose their jobs to receive unemployment benefits even if they have received vacation pay during that time.

The House voted Feb. 25 to approve LD 1626. Currently, a person is not eligible to receive jobless benefits in any week that they receive accrued vacation pay once they have been laid off by a business. The bill would remove that restriction.

The House voted 81-53 to approve the change.

Voting for the measure locally were Democratic Reps. Edward Mazurek of Rockland, Joan Welsh of Rockport, Andrew O’Brien of Lincolnville, House Speaker Hannah Pingree of North Haven, Wendy Pieh of Bremen, Veronica Magnan of Stockton Springs and John Piotti of Unity.

Voting against the bill were Reps. Chuck Kruger, D-Thomaston; Wes Richardson, R-Warren; Jonathan McKane, R-Newcastle; Jayne Crosby-Giles, R-Belfast; and Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport.

Kruger said he voted no on the bill because the current law simply delays delivery of unemployment benefits until earned vacation time is used up.

Mazurek said, however, that it was not fair to make someone wait until their vacation pay had been exhausted before being able to collect.

Welsh agreed and said it does not cost the employer any more money but simply speeds up when the laid off worker can begin collecting benefits.

The Senate has not voted on the measure.