NYS lawmaker calling to end pandemic assistance payments


UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR) — New York State Senator Joseph Griffo is urging the New York State Department of Labor to take action to get people back to work. “We’re here today to talk about the continuing challenge that is facing our businesses across not only this region, our state, but this nation,” Griffo says.

Businesses across the country are desperate for employees as they continue to struggle to compete with unemployment benefits, but no one feels these struggles more than small businesses. Griffo was joined by Dr. Pat Laino from The Business Training Institute and Jonathan Batson the marketing manager at Sovena USA at a press conference on Thursday to support that position.

Many individuals are making more money on unemployment than they did at their jobs, thanks in part to federal funding that gives an extra $300 a week to those eligible. Now that businesses are beginning to reopen employers are having a difficult time filling positions and having employees return to work. Griffo introduced a few solutions to help the state address these issues. One was for New York to join 24 states that have announced they plan on ending enhanced federal COVID-19 unemployment benefits early.

“Another that I have introduced would split the difference in reflection of those who provide incentives,” Griffo said. “What this would do is to use a partial benefit to augment whatever salary is being paid so it would mirror what you were getting on unemployment for the pandemic period only.”

The senator has also called for those who are offered their old jobs back but turn it down to be forced to forfeit their unemployment benefits, the same goes to those who turn down a job that is comparable to the one that they lost.

“Even if it’s being cited as a concern related to health and safety considering the CDC and the departments of health are ensuring that all the protocols to keep people safe are in place,” Griffo said. “We need to just get people back to work.”

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