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Refusing to Work: Handling employee work rejections in light of expanded unemployment benefits

Just a few months ago, employers faced an immense challenge: more job openings than people to fill them with more than seven million open jobs and the unemployment rate at a 50-year low. Now, employers are faced with an entirely different set of challenges: mandatory closures, decreased revenues, and difficulty enticing their employees to return to work.

The process of re-opening the economy will be stunted by dramatically expanded unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, including a $600 weekly unemployment bonus on top of regular benefits. This has created a trap for workers who can now make more on unemployment than they can through work. As states reopen their economies, the UI boost is now a hindrance to getting people back to work with businesses now competing with unemployment benefits.

Congress and the Trump administration must ensure that the $600 weekly unemployment boost expires as scheduled at the end of July. Keeping the bonus will hurt businesses trying to hire back workers—stalling the economic recovery. States can help get people back to work by making it easy to report those fraudulently receiving UI benefits, including refusals to work.

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