As we all know very well, the global economy was deeply disturbed by the lockdown measures all over the world. Many businesses had to close, leaving many people jobless.
The situation is getting better now, but still, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Americans seem to hesitate to go back to work. Therefore, many states decided to offer new employees back-to-work bonuses. But is it enough?
This article will explore the new bill and what else motivates employees to return to a full-time job.
For some people, remembering 2020 isn’t only about empty streets but also about empty wallets. Luckily, at the time, many states around the world introduced programs to help the newly unemployed survive the crisis.
Those who lost their jobs during the pandemic could submit an unemployment claim for a federal aid program. Every person was eligible for up to 79 consecutive weeks of help, depending on the program and the state.
However, as restrictions are being relieved and people learn how to live in the new normal, the economy is bouncing back, slowly but surely. Lots of businesses went online, and many small businesses are being created regularly.
At the same time, while more than 9 million people in the U.S. rely on unemployment insurance programs, these businesses perceive a labor shortage. Many job vacancies remain without applicants.
This is why many states decided to embark on a different strategy. They want to motivate the unemployed to start looking for a new job instead of settling for either Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) or the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC).
The first state to authorize the incentives for those citizens who start a new job was Montana.
This happened in May this year, several months before September 6th, 2021, which is not only Labor day in the U.S. It is also the date when pandemic unemployment aid programs were supposed to end after being prolonged several times.
At the same time, only several countries introduced the back-to-work bonuses: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Virginia.
The new back-to-work bonus programs are different among the states. One of the most generous ones is in Arizona, offering $2,000 for every person getting a full-time work contract. Also, in order to additionally motivate people to find work as soon as possible, some states announced that the funds are limited. Connecticut provides one-time payments of $2,000 for only the first ten thousand people who apply for the bonus.
Others set deadlines for finding a new job. For example, the state of Colorado offers $1,600 to those who got back to the office in May and $1,200 to those finding a job in June. For more detailed information, it is best to consult the official websites of a respective country.
As mentioned, Montana decided to cut off from this program early, the state authorities believing that this aid is the reason why people choose to stay unemployed. Soon, many states followed, and until the end of July, there were 26 states following a similar path.
The list of the states cutting off the federal aid programs early is as follows: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, West Virginia, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, Utah, South Dakota, Ohio, Maryland, Tennessee, South Carolina, Arizona, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana.
Unemployed residents in most of these countries now can’t count on either UI benefits or one-time bonuses.
Nevertheless, there is a piece of good news. Those who can prove that they are currently unable to look for a job (i.e., having an active COVID-19 infection or having to take care of someone who has one) usually get to keep the unemployment bonuses from before.
As many job positions across America remain empty despite the available workforce, managers might wonder what prevents people from working and what can be done to change that.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey, there are several factors long-term unemployed people pointed out as important motivators for coming back to work:
The many reasons behind people’s reluctance to start working again reveal a complex reality people are facing at the moment. It is not only the money but also about work organization, health, safety, and child care.
Remote work is a growing trend, and many businesses now function almost entirely online. On the one hand, our technology has saved many businesses and created space for many new ones to emerge. Since not everything can be done with a click, most companies opted for a hybrid work schedule.
However, as much as convenient, companies are also facing some remote work challenges. Communication among workers can sometimes be difficult and slow. Additionally, managers can’t really track employee performance or help resolve conflicts.
Therefore, it can be hard to keep the remote team culture at the same level as in the office.
There are many employee performance factors, but three of them seem to be of utmost importance:
Pandemics or not, these three factors are something any worker requires from a job to consider worthy of their dedication. So, investing in training can be a good way to attract new people to the company.
On the other hand, engaging people means providing them with clear goals and the right tools for achieving them.
Also, as innovation and improvisation now happen daily in an uncertain world, no one knows everything. Listening to the employees’ feedback and saying “thank you” for a job done well is a good way to engage workers.
Company culture seems to be more important than ever. These are the hard times, and there is a deep need in people for meaning and purpose. Consequences of that can be seen everywhere, in changing trends in market research, in a changing social media voice, in arts, and of course in our workspace – be it virtual or brick-and-mortar.
Therefore, it seems like the future of labor will be creative. Managers begin to understand that the company culture doesn’t have to be rocket science. Sometimes honest listening or just a little attention means a lot for a stressed worker.
Even simple things such as personalized gifts, like mugs with employees’ funny pictures on them, proved to be helpful to keep up the workers’ spirit in hard times.
They won’t solve the problem of unemployment in the U.S. but might be helpful to cheer people up and spark some good humor. These, in turn, can only increase productivity.
In the wake of the new legislative, millions of Americans will have to go back to building CVs and start looking for new career opportunities.
In the age of online businesses and remote work, the labor market is rapidly growing and surpassing national borders. It has never been easier for companies to hire people from all over the world or apply for jobs anywhere in the world.
While US-based companies are hiring remote developers from India, EU-based companies are employing SEO experts from Cuba or Ukraine, shaping the new generation of global business to fit the globalized society we are becoming.
Working in the new normal, of course, poses some challenges, but one is certain: despite the damage, COVID-19 has done to the economy, the job market is getting better, and there will be ways to earn a living.
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