Governor Brad Little announced today Idaho will end its participation in three federal pandemic unemployment compensation programs to help employers get workers back on the job.
“Employers are telling me one of the big reasons they cannot recruit and retain some workers is because those employees are receiving more on unemployment than they would while working. We see ‘Help Wanted’ signs everywhere. Idaho has the strongest economy in the nation, and we are a top 10 state for best employment, but there is more we can do. It’s time to get back to work,” Governor Little said. “My decision is based on a fundamental conservative principle – we do not want people on unemployment. We want people working. A strong economy cannot exist without workers returning to a job.”
“The Idaho Chamber Alliance, along with chambers of commerce across the state, support Governor Little as he brings an end to the federal supplements to unemployment insurance benefits. We feel that this is an important next step to helping businesses recover and we look forward to working with the Governor’s Office as we seek ways to improve workforce availability for Idaho’s businesses,” said Chip Schwarze, chairman of the Idaho Chamber Alliance.
“The current labor shortage in Idaho has created significant challenges for our businesses. So many employees in our industry have left the workforce and we aren’t sure when or if they will come back. Workers seem to chase money, whether it is from the government or other employers that keep raising wages. We work hard to be an outstanding employee-centered business and we compensate our people well. But, the current environment is making it difficult to run operations smoothly. We have had to turn down lots of business because we don’t have the people to deliver services and I fear that if not dealt with, there will be lasting effects. I applaud Governor Little for his leadership and continued pro-business stance,” said Stephanie Camarillo of Molly Maid in Meridian and NFIB member.
Effective June 19, 2021, the following federal programs will end in Idaho:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – provides an additional $300 weekly payment
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – benefits those who would not usually qualify for unemployment, such as the self-employed and others
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) – extends benefits once regular benefits have been exhausted
Idaho was one of only three states that chose not to participate in the Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) unemployment program, an additional federal program that provided a $100 benefit to certain people on top of the additional $300 weekly payment.
In addition, Idaho recently reinstated the pre-pandemic work search requirements for unemployment insurance claimants to help get workers back on the job. The work search requirement means Idahoans who are out of work and collecting unemployment benefits must look for full-time employment. The requirement was lifted during the pandemic but was reinstated in April.
Through the work of the Idaho Department of Labor, Workforce Development Council, State Board of Education and other entities, Idaho also continually works to address workforce barriers such as the availability of childcare, matching worker skills to the needs of employers, and increasing the labor force participation rate.
Idaho was a leader in getting workers back on the job during the pandemic. Last year, Idaho was the first state to boldly implement Back to Work incentives during the most difficult months of the pandemic. The Return to Work bonuses counteracted the federal payouts and incentivized the workforce to get back to work safely. The federal government now is eyeing Idaho’s program as a way to help hard-hit businesses now that jobs across the country are coming back.