Governor Tate Reeves reports on Facebook that he plans to end the additional pandemic-related federal unemployment benefits by June 12, 2021.
The purpose of unemployment benefits is to temporarily assist Mississippians who are unemployed through no fault of…
“It has become clear to me that we cannot have a full economic recovery until we get the thousands of available jobs in our state filled. I have also directed MDES to prioritize pre-pandemic enforcement of all eligibility requirements for any individual to receive unemployment benefits under state law. Mississippi is open for business,” said Reeves on Facebook.
What seemingly began the conversation surrounding the termination of federal unemployment benefits that came due to the COVID-19 pandemic was the reality that many small businesses are reportedly having trouble keeping their doors open due to, what some term it as, the government paying people more to stay home rather than return to work.
In addition, Speaker of the House Philip Gunn sent a letter to Governor Tate Reeves urging him to end the state’s participation.
Gunn sent the letter to Reeves asking him to crack down on those receiving unemployment benefits that might not actually be eligible.
In the letter, Gunn says he and many other Mississippi House members have received calls from small businesses across the state saying they are in trouble because those workers are receiving more in unemployment benefits than in a normal paycheck.
“Under Mississippi law claimants are required to demonstrate that they are unsuccessfully searching for work as a precondition of obtaining unemployment benefits. However, employers tell us that MDES is not effectively enforcing that requirement, which claimants easily evade,” Gunn wrote.
Gunn told Reeves that one business in particular had 18 job applicants who signed up for interviews, however all but three did not show up.
The Speaker as well as these businesses are under the impression that individuals are reporting to MDES that they signed up for interviews in order to claim the benefits, but then never followed through on the potential job.
Businesses have also reported to them that the employees that are showing up for work are being overworked due to operating without a full staff.
“I ask that you take the steps necessary to promptly and effectively enforce the work search requirement or, if that cannot be accomplished, to terminate Mississippi’s participation in the federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits,” Gunn asked in the letter.
The NFIB joined in urging the Governor to do the same. In a release on Monday, the business advocacy group encouraged the Governor to end participation in the federal supplemental unemployment assistance
“When the pandemic began a little over a year ago, businesses throughout the state had to scale back or, in some cases, close altogether, and that put a lot of people out of work. Congress responded by subsidizing state unemployment payments, and while that helped a lot of families get through the COVID-19 crisis, it’s having the unintended side effect now of discouraging some people from returning to the workplace,” said Dawn Starns McVea, NFIB State Director. “Mississippi’s economy is getting stronger, but employers say they aren’t getting enough applicants, and that labor shortage is affecting customer service.”
The NFIB’s job report for April shows a record 44% of small business owners nationwide that have job openings they can’t fill.
To see the full letter from Speaker Gunn click below: