RICHMOND, Va. -- A new proposal in Congress would provide weekly payments to workers re-entering the labor market as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions begin to ease.
Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have introduced the legislation that would provide weekly payments to those re-entering the workforce. The $180 weekly payments would go to those who recently started a new job but previously received federal expanded unemployment benefits.
The goal of the legislation is to incentivize people to return to work. The program would end in September, shortly after federal $300 unemployment payments are set to expire and the program would not impact people still on unemployment.
Some business groups and Republicans have argued that workers aren't returning to the workforce because of the expanded benefits.
The CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce released the following statement that reads:
As businesses around the Commonwealth work to recover from the significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Chamber appreciates Congresswoman Spanberger’s bipartisan efforts on the Strengthening Unemployment Programs to Provide Opportunities for Recovery and Training (SUPPORT) for New Workers Act.
Businesses are struggling to fill available positions, which has greatly impacted their ability to grow and serve their customers. We need to be doing all that we can to support businesses and encourage more workers to return to work. This legislation offers an innovative approach to incentivize more workers to return, while not creating additional barriers or burdens for employers.
While there are several contributing factors to our current worker shortage, such as the need for greater access to child care and lingering safety concerns, we need to be doing all that we can to encourage more workers to return and help our businesses that are struggling. I believe that this effort will be impactful in getting more individuals back into the stream of commerce.
I would like to thank Representative Spanberger and her colleagues for this legislation and would encourage others to support its passage.
According to the latest numbers from the Virginia Employment Commission, there are currently over 44,000 open claims in the Commonwealth.