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“I Make More On Unemployment”

…not so fast!

As a recruiter in the hospitality industry for the past 16+ years I have placed talented managers, chefs, and executives with some of New England’s best restaurants, hotel, catering, entertainment, and grocery companies. As businesses begin to open back up again, I am hearing people say they don’t want to go back to work, not because of health reasons, but because they are making more money on unemployment then working for their current employers or taking a new job opportunity.

More than 30 million Americans have filed for jobless pay since mid-March, more than erasing all job gains since the Great Recession.  With millions of people out of work due to Covid-19, our economy is in crises. I am not suggesting that everything immediately open back up at 100%. I am suggesting, however, that this too shall pass. In the meantime, it is time for you to think about your future. The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief law, the CARES Act, gives an extra $600 a week in federal aid to unemployed workers. That enhancement ends after July 31. In some states, it ends a week earlier.  Look at the unemployment rates for New England.  Keep in mind that Massachusetts is the highest payout in the United States.


Connecticut $649 (Individual) up to $724 (w/dependents) Max:26 weeks
Maine $445 (Individual) up to $667 (w/dependents) Max: 26 weeks
Massachusetts $823 (Individual) up to $1,234 (w/dependents) Max: 26 weeks
New Hampshire $427 Max: 26 weeks
Rhode Island $586 (Individual) to $867 (w/dependents) Max: 26 Weeks
Vermont $513 Max: 26 weeks


Ask yourself, “Can I live on $427 a week in New Hampshire?” “Can I live on $823/$1235 a week in Massachusetts?” Maybe the answer is yes?  If it is then after 26 weeks of unemployment you will need to find a new job opportunity. You will be competing with millions of others at the same time, vying for the same jobs. This situation of no money and no job prospects is one that no one will want to be in.

Think of it this way. A one income family of 3 or 4 people may be receiving $1234 a week from the state and $600 a week from the US government. That is the equivalent of $95,368 a year. On August 1st this goes down to $64,168 a year.  In the middle of September, it goes to $0. Now imagine, your boss just called you back to work from being laid off.  You say “No, I am making more money on unemployment so will stay home until this blows over.” Do you think your boss will take you back in the middle of September when you need the money and he has already found someone else willing and able to do what you do?  Would you take you back?

Covid-19 has presented us with an unprecedented crisis that makes the financial crisis 10 years ago seem like child’s play.  Unemployment levels will reach 25% to 30% of working age Americans. States are running out of money and the federal government is trying to spend as much money as possible to make it easier on us. Now is the time to polish off our resume and be aggressive.  Companies are hiring. Not all but some. When you think about your future, your long term goals, you will realize that you need to beat the crowd and get back to work.

Brian J Blum

Gecko Hospitality


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