Some employers are hopeful new ‘Arizona Back to Work’ plan will strengthen workforce

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 6:44 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday, May 13, announced Arizona will no longer take the federal pandemic unemployment compensation. This means those on unemployment will go from receiving $540 a week to $240.

With this new plan, there are also incentives to get people back on the job hunt including bonuses and child care assistance. Some business owners hope the governor’s new incentives will get their employees back to work.

“Anything that’ll drive or incentivize anyone looking for a job, is definitely I think moving toward the right direction,” restaurant owner Arnoldo Silva is optimistic Ducey’s new plan will bring in more employees before they are ready to open at full capacity. ”We’ve been having a hard time finding more employees. I don’t have a full staff. We’re still short about three or four people.”

Some employers said they have found it hard to compete with the federal government’s unemployment payments. But, effective July 10, those payments will be cut down to less than half of what they are now.

With a goal of getting as many Arizonans back to work by Labor Day, the state will offer a one-time $2,000 “back-to-work” bonus for full-time workers earning less than $52,000 per year. Those who find part-time work are eligible for a $1,000 bonus.

In addition, the state is offering child care support, job training opportunities, and even rental assistance.

Katherine Taylor knows many people on unemployment right now.

“And I think that’s really good because a lot of people are being real lazy and collecting. And there’s work out there,” she said. “They should go back to work.”

On the other hand, some business owners are skeptical of what kind of people may apply for jobs now. Doug Levy is the owner and chef at Feast.

“I’m a little nervous about hiring someone who is just going to take the path of least resistance. I would rather have someone here who wants to work rather than someone who just going to choose wherever they get the best deal because that means the second they get a better deal on paper, they’ll be off somewhere else,” Levy said.

Levy said they’ve had ads out for months with no responses. Currently, they’re open only for takeout during the day and only inside dining for dinner until can find more employees.

“Here we are trying to get ready to reopen and we literally can’t fully reopen because we don’t have enough staff,” Levy said.

Arizona is the twelfth state to end federal unemployment benefits early.

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