An unintended and unexpected consequence of the multi-trillion dollar
stimulus package is that workers are asking to be laid off or reluctant to go
back to work after being furloughed.
In an effort to help people financially cope with their job losses in the midst
of a pandemic, the federal government—through the Coronavirus Aid,
Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)—is providing an extra $600
per week in unemployment benefits. This amount is in addition to what the
states already pay, which is in the range of $200 to $300 per week.
A person could conceivably earn $1,000 per week on unemployment,
depending upon the state he or she resides in. In addition to the enhanced
benefits, most Americans, earning less than $75,000 in 2019, received a
one-time check for $1,200 and $500 for each child under 17 years of age.
Here’s the situation facing companies that have already been financially
hurt by the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak. Consider a worker in
an Amazon warehouse. The worker has to be on their feet all day, lift heavy
boxes onto and off of high shelves and race around the facility to fulfill
orders. Earning a minimum wage of $15 per hour, the person may make
pre-tax $525 per week. Think of how many millions of other people work
at dangerous, physically demanding or unpleasant jobs earning a similar
The unintended consequences may make it difficult for companies to get
back their furloughed workers. Without their staff, business will have an
extra burden to keep things alive. They may be forced to hire new people
and train them from scratch, which takes time and money.
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