PA Chamber of Business and Industry issues statement on state work force

Gene Barr, PA Chamber of Business and Industry president and CEO, recently issued a statement on the state’s workforce having difficulty filling open positions.

Businesses in several industries have been forced to close or reduce hours because of a lack of workers, Barr said, and policies have exacerbated this challenge. These policies include an additional $300 in weekly federal benefit payments and waiving of the work-search requirement.

An estimated 40 percent of claimants make more in benefits than wages, Barr said.

“Despite claims to the contrary, the impacts of the enhanced federal unemployment benefits are not negligible,” Barr said. “Rather than just continuing these policies that have outlived their purpose, we encourage the Wolf administration to follow the lead of other states that are implementing innovative solutions to help encourage employment and connect unemployed Pennsylvanians with hiring employers. House Bill 508, for example, would phase out federal benefit enhancements and create a return-to-work grant for workers who transition back into the workforce.”

The bill would amend the Unemployment Compensation Law to establish the Back-to-Work Bonus Program. The program would phase out Pennsylvania’s participation in federal unemployment programs and would use federal COVID-19 relief funds to provide up to two $300 bonus payments as an incentive for unemployed workers to discontinue their unemployment claims and to seek and maintain employment.