LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska residents who stop working temporarily to care for a family member with a serious health condition could claim unemployment benefits under a bill that lawmakers advanced Tuesday.

Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval with a 27-11 vote.

The proposal by Sen. Megan Hunt, of Omaha, would allow workers to collect benefits if they left a job due to family caregiving needs but are planning to return to work.

Hunt said the bill will help caregivers who might otherwise struggle financially while caring for a loved one and will help the state avoid costly long-term care services in cases where no one else is available to take care of the person with a health condition.

Some senators objected to the cost. The Nebraska Department of Labor estimates that, based on 2020 data, the state will pay out $749,927 in unemployment benefits each year. Hunt argued that 2020 is a bad year to use as a measurement because of the coronavirus pandemic, which left many people severely ill and caused unemployment to surge.