Florida to require ‘job search’ for unemployment benefits from June 1

TALLAHASSEE – People in Florida’s unemployment system will have to show they have looked for work on a weekly basis after Memorial Day, as the state works to get workers back to work, especially in restaurants .

Additionally, a process is in place for business owners to report unemployed claimants who violate the “job search” rule, which will require people to apply for five jobs per week.

Dane Eagle, executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, said on Wednesday that the job search requirement, which was lifted last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, would be reinstated on June 1 for new applicants. Unemployed. Gov. Ron DeSantis also said last week that the job search requirement would return.

“You’ve seen restaurants that had to close earlier or open later or close on certain days of the week,” Eagle said at a press conference outside the Metro Deli in downtown Tallahassee. “All over the Panhandle I saw signs that say, ‘Welcome to the new pandemic’. The 2021 pandemic is unemployment, the inability to hire. So, we have to put an end to this.

Florida’s unemployment rate was 4.7% in March, representing 475,000 jobless people out of a workforce of 10.17 million.

Eagle said many people take advantage of $ 275 a week in Florida and $ 300 in federal aid, which when combined is competitive with weekly pay at many restaurants and businesses in the entertainment industry.

Rob Bazemore, owner of Metro Deli, said he was lucky that most of his staff of around 12 continued to work during the pandemic, but as the economy recovers it has been difficult to recruit new recruits.

“We’re going to have a hard time competing, until that extra $ 300 is gone,” Bazemore said. “Once it comes down to $ 275, we can now work with that. We can beat that, but if you want to beat us $ 600 a week, it won’t be easy for us.

Eddie Agramonte, owner of Gordo’s Cuban Kitchen in Tallahassee, said the need for workers is also hitting his suppliers, which he says is leading to delivery delays and rising prices.

“I don’t understand why people no longer have that urge to keep raising, instead of staying home and earning an extra $ 300 a week,” Agramonte said. “At $ 300, why not win $ 400, or why not win $ 500? They have to have that ethic in themselves to want to go out and do the job.

DeSantis waived the job search requirement in an executive order, as the state’s unemployment rate climbed to 13.8% in April 2020, when the pandemic forced businesses to close or downsize significantly.

“We put this on hold last year at that time because, quite frankly, there were no jobs,” DeSantis said last week.

When the order expires on May 29, Eagle said business owners will be able to report if someone does not meet the job search requirement.

“So if you apply for a job and don’t show up for an interview, or turn down a suitable job, that will be reported to us and you won’t be able to recover,” Eagle said.

The Florida Senate last month approved a bill (SB 1906) that would have increased the maximum weekly payments from $ 275 to $ 375, added additional weeks during which benefits would be available, and changed the search requirement for employment. The proposal called for the number of job searches to increase to three per week for most people and to two per week for people living in counties with fewer than 75,000 inhabitants.

But DeSantis expressed opposition to the increase in weekly payments and the House did not take the bill back from the Senate.

One concern of House Republicans was that the increase in benefits could lead companies to put more money into the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund. Similar reasoning was used when benefits were cut in 2011 to mitigate a large increase in corporate unemployment taxes.

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Lillie Berry

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