Florida residents must now prove they are looking for work to receive unemployment benefits

Florida residents must now prove they are looking for work to receive unemployment benefits
AP Photo/Marta Lavandier
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Floridians who are collecting state unemployment benefits must now prove they are actively seeking work if they are to remain collecting benefits. 

The policy, which was implemented on Tuesday, requires recipients of unemployment benefits to submit at least five job applications per week and register with local career centres, according to local Fox 13.

Florida is facing a shortage of workers in the hospitality industry following the pandemic, which has seen many restaurants reducing hours. 

Frank Sierra, the general manager of a Florida restaurant, approved of the new rules, telling Fox 13: “I think it’s going to put a lot more people to work. It’ll obviously fill some of those positions that are in demand. Business six months ago wasn’t really demanding, so if you had somewhat of a shorter staff, you were able to get by, and everything was fine, but I think this might boost people as business picks up. I think it’ll help people out with more applicants.”

“It’s definitely been more challenging than normal, you know, in a typical, normal setting for hiring whenever you put a job posting out you almost always have an overwhelming amount of applicants. Lately, we’ve been putting some ads out getting a hit here or there,” Sierra said.

Floridians are currently able to receive $275 from the state and $300 from the federal government in unemployment every week, which works out to roughly a $14/hour wage for a 40 hour work week. The federal benefits are set to expire in September, but some states, including Florida, are shutting it down earlier. 

Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced last month that the state’s suspension of conditions on receiving unemployment would come as the pandemic nears its end in the U.S.

“Normally when you’re getting unemployment, the whole idea is that it’s temporary, and you need to be looking for work to be able to get off unemployment,” DeSantis said. “It was a disaster, so we suspended those job search requirements. I think it’s pretty clear now — we have an abundance of job openings.”

“We absolutely can put more people to work,” he continued. “The demand is there. Businesses want to hire more people, and I think we can go in that direction very soon.”

“I think now we’re in just a different situation, you have a surplus of jobs, particularly in restaurants, lodging, hospitality, that people want to hire,” DeSantis said. “I mean, you see the signs all over the place. Look, that’s a good problem to have. But we also just want to make sure, like, look, if you’re really unemployed, can’t get a job, that’s one thing. But making sure that you’re doing your due diligence to look for work, and making sure those incentives align, better.”

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