Support for the New Workers Act, introduced in Congress by Rep. Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), includes NJBIA and a growing number of local, state, and national organizations interested in incentivizing Americans to re-enter the workforce and get more businesses fully reopened.
The bipartisan bill, which is also sponsored by Rep. Peter Meijer (MI-03) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), allows workers who have gained employment after previously receiving unemployment insurance benefits to retain $180 per week of those benefits. The legislation would also continue to provide critical assistance to millions of people who still can’t find work.
“The expansion of unemployment insurance during the darkest days of the pandemic was critical to keeping millions of families out of poverty and sustaining our economy,” Sherrill said. “In order to help reopen businesses and speed up our economic recovery this summer, we must make sure we don’t disincentivize workers from returning to work.
“Our approach must support businesses looking to hire as they reopen, while also taking care of the workers who continue to face challenges to returning to work related to the pandemic,” Sherrill said. “This legislation will help us do both.”
The legislation has been endorsed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, NJBIA, Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Morris County (NJ) Chamber of Commerce, Sussex County (NJ) Chamber of Commerce, Livingston Area (NJ) Chamber of Commerce, and Third Way.
“The provisions in the Newly Employed Worker Allowance legislation strike an important balance in incentivizing employees to return to work in a timely fashion, while not losing income as they do so,” said Michele Siekerka, NJBIA president and CEO.
“We have heard untold stories from our member businesses as they struggle to hire post-pandemic, even while attempting to raise wages and offering other incentives,” Siekerka said. “We believe this bill will help those employers hire as they look to emerge from this labor shortage and fully reopen.”
Michael Stanzilis, vice president of Membership and Government Affairs at the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, said the federal bill would help re-energize the Main Street economy.
“Small businesses need help with incentivizing people to come back to work,” Stanzilis said.
“Main Street businesses are struggling to get fully staffed. In some instances, businesses are turning away customers or shortening hours. This legislation provides a landing pad to get people back to work without hurting them financially.”
Tammie A. Horsfield, president of the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, said the bill would help employees and employers during a difficult economic time.
“The goal of government should be to get everyone back to work as soon as possible, rather than encouraging individuals to stay home,” Horsfield said. “This legislation is a great first step in helping us get back to business, by supporting both the employee and employer.”