San Diegans Making More On Unemployment Weigh Return To Work
Governor Gavin Newsom said 70% of California's retailers and manufacturers have been given the all-clear for a modified re-opening.
This is a mixed blessing for some low-wage workers, like those in restaurants, retail, hospitality and light manufacturing,
The federal CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, provided jobless benefits of $600 per week to some workers who lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Some workers receiving both state and federal benefits are making more income than when they were working.
The additional federal benefit, equivalent to a full-time job at $15 per hour, is on top of state unemployment benefits, which average about $350 per week. In San Diego, the current minimum wage is $13 per hour.
This round of enhanced federal benefits lasts until July 2020. Workers who refuse to go back to work until after the federal benefit expires are taking a risk. If they turn down their old job to continue to collect benefits, they could be forced to make restitution, incur a 30% penalty and face limitations on filing for unemployment in the future.
Phillip Molnar, business reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune, and Phil Blair, owner and CEO of the staffing firm Manpower of San Diego, joined KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday to discuss the complications of returning to work.