LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After an unprecedented year of hardship caused by the global pandemic, Gov. Andy Beshear ended most of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions on June 11, declaring, “We are no longer in crisis.” Businesses across Kentucky, however, still are and are advocating unemployment benefits change.
GLI has joined a coalition of the three metro chambers of Kentucky – including Commerce Lexington and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce – to advocate for ending the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC).
As small businesses across the state try to recover economic losses from the pandemic, they are facing another substantial hurdle. The FPUC program created by the CARES Act makes it nearly impossible for businesses to find workers when FPUC unemployment benefits provide potential workers over $17 per hour, the three chambers said. While this program provided much-needed relief and stabilization during the height of the pandemic, it is now threatening the regional economic recovery, the chambers said.
This critical workforce shortage is seen across several core industries including hospitality, tourism, manufacturing and childcare.
“We are encouraging the Governor to end the state’s participation in the FPUC program ahead of the Sept. 6 sunset provision to ensure businesses can recruit a reliable workforce to operate at full capacity,” GLI said in a press release. “The large number of open jobs in our state, coupled with the 30-days’ minimum notice requirement of FPUC will allow our workforce and economy to more fully recover from the pandemic.”
Twenty-five states have already notified the federal government of their desire to terminate their participation in this program, the letter from the coalition said, including Ohio (June 26), Indiana (June 19) and Tennessee (July 3).
“By giving the minimum 30 days notice now and phasing out Kentucky’s participation in this additional $300 weekly enhancement, it would encourage unemployed workers who remain on the sidelines to return to work and give current program recipients plenty of runway to land a good job before losing the federal enhancement,” the letter reads.
Read the entire letter from Greater Louisville Inc., Commerce Lexington, and the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce here.
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