Obama laid out a plan to help support the income of workers who lose their jobs and end up in lower paying positions, as part of a push to get unemployed Americans back to work, Reuters reported on Saturday.
The proposal would offer experienced workers who now make less than $50,000 a year a form of wage insurance, allowing them to replace half of their lost pay. The benefit would cover up to $10,000 over two years.
"It's a way to give families some stability and encourage folks to rejoin the workforce - because we shouldn't just be talking about unemployment; we should be talking about re-employment," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address, broadcast on Saturday.
"If a hardworking American loses her job, regardless of what state she lives in, we should make sure she can get unemployment insurance and some help to retrain for her next job.," Obama noted.
The wage insurance proposal will be included in a broader effort to overhaul the unemployment insurance system. Details about the program's proposed funding will be further outlined in Obama's budget for fiscal year 2017 expected to be released next month.
Obama wants to require all states to provide at least 26 weeks of unemployment insurance — creating a new mechanism to trigger 52 weeks of benefits in states with sudden high unemployment.
In the past, Congress has voted to authorize the longer benefits when there is a recession, but the White House says Congress is often too slow to act when a recession hits.
The White House did not say how much the proposal would cost or how it would be paid for, saying those details would be released when the president sends his fiscal year 2017 budget to Congress on February 9.