HARRISBURG, DEC. 12, 2008—State Sen. Wayne D. Fontana today commended the Department of Labor and Industry for expanding unemployment compensation services in an effort to accelerate assistance to Pennsylvanians who have lost their jobs.

“The Department has taken an important and essential step toward efficiently meeting the needs of the unemployed by increasing staff and service,” Fontana said. “This expansion will undoubtedly allow quicker claims processing, helping unemployed Pennsylvanians already struggling to buy groceries and pay their bills.”

The expansion includes extended hours for the statewide unemployment compensation toll-free number 1-888-313-7284. Call-in hours now range from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. To accommodate the rise in call volume, 300 temporary employees will be added beginning Dec. 15. Later this month, a new call center will open in Harrisburg, staffed by 50 new employees. As more staff are hired and trained, call-in hours are expected to expand even further.

The most efficient way to file a claim for unemployment compensation, Fontana said, is online at www.dli.state.pa.us. Online claims can be filed 24 hours a day.