Employers blame shortage of workers on benefits, COVID stimulus; others say system and pay needs changes

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(NEWS10) — As businesses ramp up for the summer season and welcome back an increased number of customers, they are also facing a big challenge: hiring employees. So some business owners are using a touch of humor to get noticed.

On the Cookie Factory Facebook page, there was a notice which read, “The Cookie Factory is giving away over $500 a week to 5 lucky people! Come in at 8am every day for 5 days a week for about 40 hours. 😊 Apply within.”

Owner Chris Alberino posted it as a kind of “Help Wanted” notice. He said they have five open positions at their site on River Street in Troy and 20 positions open company wide.

He says the pay starts at $12.50 an hour and goes up to about $25 per hour and yet they can’t fill those spots.

“Honestly, the stimulus money and the unemployment right now, it’s hard to get people to work for the same money that they can get when they’re staying home,” he said. 

Outside the Raindancer restaurant in Amsterdam, another sign seems to share the same sentiment.

It reads that they are now “Issuing Weekly Stimulus Checks” and to apply within. 

The manager told NEWS10 ABC it is meant to be a lighthearted jab as they, like many other businesses, struggle to hire staff. She said they have offered financial incentives, which haven’t really worked and that they are now forced to limit their hours by staying closed on Monday nights. 

“I can say, unequivocally, this is not about laziness. Inherently people want to work.”

That’s Peter Gannon, President and CEO of the United Way of the Greater Capital Region. He says when it comes to returning to hourly or lower paying jobs, it’s not about laziness and that the pandemic has revealed problematic issues within the system. 

“You’re throwing on the fact that there are more resources for you when you’re not working. But then, you also have to deal with the fact that many of these jobs don’t have paid time off. They don’t have paid leave to deal with family issues,” Gannon added. 

A solution may also come down to incentives like higher pay and flexible hours.

That’s been John Murphy’s method at the Snowman in Troy. Many of his seasonal workers are in their teens and 20’s.

“Timing of [employees] coming in throughout the day is flexible with scheduling sports and everything else. That’s my toughest thing. But I’m fully blessed to have a complete staff this year.”

Back at the Cookie Factory, Chris says he is just waiting things out.

“Everything is a circle. It will start coming back.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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