The bill I co-authored to help address the current worker shortage in Wisconsin passed the Legislature. It will encourage unemployed individuals to return-to-work to make sure the state’s economy continues to grow. It ends Wisconsin’s participation in federal unemployment compensation enhancement programs which actually dis-incentivize people from returning to work.
The shortage of workers has reached a crisis point for many employers in our state. Numerous businesses are raising wages and offering sign-on bonuses but are still unable to find enough people to meet demand.
They are competing with the government for workers.
The federal benefit supplement provides an additional $300 per week on top of state benefits and extends the length of eligibility beyond the normal 26 weeks. The enhancements aren’t set to expire until September 2021.
The bill also ensures that individuals who file for Unemployment Insurance are actively searching for a job to be eligible to collect benefits. The governor waived that requirement last year through an emergency rule.
Twenty five other states have moved to end the additional federal payments and at least 36 have reinstated requirements that those receiving benefits have to look for work. Businesses can’t wait until September for workers to come off the sidelines.
They need help now.
According to an SR Poll Results report, 71 percent of voters favor ending the enhanced federal unemployment payments. This includes 67 percent of independents and 59 percent of Democrats. If the legislation is signed by Governor Evers, the Wisconsin unemployment compensation program will return to pre-pandemic operations and provide an ongoing safety net for those who truly need it.