Two Frederick County Legislators Weigh In On Decision Keeping Enhanced Unemployment Benefits

Sen. Hough calls it ‘unfortunate;’ Delegate Young says the judge made the right decision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frederick, Md (KM) Two Frederick County legislators are commenting on a decision regarding enhanced unemployment benefits. State Senator Michael Hough (R) calls it “unfortunate.’ Delegate Karen Lewis Young (D) says it was the right decision.

On Tuesday Judge Lawrence Fletcher-Hill of Baltimore issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Hogan Administration to continue paying the expanded benefits which come from the federal government’s pandemic-related, enhanced unemployment benefits. Governor Larry Hogan had sought to end the program in Maryland, stating that it discourages residents from looking for jobs because they can get more money while unemployed. The Governor has said the state will not appeal this decision.

Senator Hough says it discourages people who are out of work to apply for jobs. “I think Governor Hogan did the correct thing in joining half of the states in America where the governors have stopped the federal program which pays people more money in many cases than what they’d be making in the private sector. So they’re getting enhanced unemployment benefits,” he says.

And, Hough continues, this is making it difficult for small businesses and other employers to hire enough employees to keep going. “At this point, it’s a federal program that is misguided because there’s a record number of job openings, there’s a record number of employers that want to hire people. And the federal government has put in place a program which is paying people more money to stay at  home and incentivizing them not to get back into the workforce,” says Hough.

But Delegate Young says the reason some people are not going back to work is far more complex than just staying at home and collecting unemployment compensation. “Some are still afraid of COVID. Particularly women don’t have adequate child care yet because child care organizations haven’t opened,’ she says.

Along with that, a lot of the positions  which have been advertised are minimum wage jobs. “Most of the jobs that are opening up are in restaurant, retail, some construction and warehouses. But those that are minimum wage jobs, you can’t even afford to put food on the table, pay your rent no less pay for child care,” she says.

The federal program, which was established to supplement the unemployment compensation being received by those who are out of work due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to expire in September.

 

By Kevin McManus