Some Making More Money on Unemployment Than at Work – Democrats Seek to Extend Federal Payments
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
One provision of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill Congress passed last month was providing laid off workers an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits on top of state-supplied benefits.
The intention of the federal money: to keep unemployed workers more financially secure – and at home – while the virus raged. But there’s a downside to the extra money: many people are now earning more from unemployment than when they had jobs. And that could be trouble for businesses trying to reopen:
The pressure for businesses to staff back up is especially intense as many have tapped federal loans contingent on paying employees. The government’s Paycheck Protection Program forgives the loans if companies bring back all workers within eight weeks of receiving funds that can be used to pay operational expenses such as payroll and rent.
Some states have said workers who’ve been furloughed and then called back to work – and refuse to return – will lose their unemployment benefits.
To get workers back, employers have had to offer higher wages and other benefits. But some Democratic lawmakers hope to extend the $600 weekly benefit, which is scheduled to expire July 31:
Among the Democratic bill’s provisions:
Unemployed people receiving the additional $600 in weekly unemployment benefits will receive it until 30 days after President Trump ends his emergency declaration.
Those getting aid from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program — designed for contractors and gig workers — will not be limited in the number of weeks they can collect unemployment until 26 weeks after “extreme social distancing” is over.
Workers that use up their 26 weeks of traditional state unemployment benefits would be able to access another 26 weeks fully paid for by the federal government.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D) said the extension is intended to “sustain people whose lives have been upended through no fault of their own until they can safely go back to work.”
Image Credit: Leopaltik1242 / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)