As Massachusetts moved to increase capacity and drop COVID restrictions over Memorial Day weekend, businesses now face all-new barriers. Many employers struggle to fill open positions to keep their businesses fully staffed. Adding insult to injury, those businesses with help wanted signs in their windows are also experiencing rising unemployment insurance taxes due to record high unemployment.
So how can so many Massachusetts residents still be out of work with employers desperately seeking job applicants?
Some employers feel they are competing with overly generous state UI benefits coupled with the additional federal supplemental $300. Some states, like New Hampshire, have opted to end the federal unemployment benefits and instead offer a back to work incentive instead. And while Governor Baker reinstated the UI “work search” requirement that had been revoked since the state of emergency was declared last year, lawmakers seem to have no appetite to follow New Hampshire’s example by calling for an end to the $300 federal bonus.
Additionally, the Massachusetts Legislature approved another UI tax “fix” to address outlandish solvency assessment charges. But make no mistake, this is simply a temporary solution that spreads the price tag of COVID-related layoffs over a 20-year span, still paid entirely by employers. Maryland, Ohio, Georgia and more than 25 other states have all used, or committed to use, federal dollars to help provide relief. Massachusetts has failed to commit any of the nearly $5.3 billion in federal aid to help provide employers a UI tax break as of yet.
We urge you to contact your elected-officials immediately to demand the state of Massachusetts use federal dollars to pay for the COVID-related layoffs that were a result of state ordered shutdowns and restrictions. These layoffs were not the fault of employers and therefore should not shoulder the financial burden of replenishing the UI Trust Fund without shared responsibility from the state. Take Action!