U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King are seen in this June 20, 2018, file photo. Credit: Andrew Harnik / AP

Maine’s two U.S. senators said the coronavirus pandemic has provided evidence that the state’s unemployment system needs to be modernized.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King said Wednesday the federal government is giving the Maine Department of Labor more than $380,000 toward that effort. They said the money will promote and improve the labor department’s short time compensation program, which is designed to allow workers to receive partial unemployment benefits if their employer reduces their hours to avoid layoffs.

The labor department is expected to use the money to raise awareness of the program and increase participation in it, the senators said. They said the money will also help streamline reporting by employers and workers to the Maine Bureau of Unemployment Compensation.

Collins and King said in a statement said it is “crucial that we maintain the safety net that supports individuals whose hours have been reduced through no fault of their own.”