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Massachusetts Officials: Report People who Choose Unemployment over Work


Few issues frustrate Massachusetts employers more than unemployed people who turn down job offers in favor of collecting jobless benefits.

Unemployment Insurance“Extended Unemployment benefits are an extreme challenge for employers seeking to hire for lower-skilled jobs,” one employer said this week.

“Our company is finding it extremely difficult to recruit for these positions. Candidates will come in for interviews and boldly state that they can make as much through Unemployment benefits as by working. In our company's experience, the very generous and extended Unemployment benefits have a negative effect on motivation and drive to work. We have also seen rampant fraud and abuse associated with Massachusetts Unemployment benefits.”

A second employer responding the AIM Business Confidence Index Survey echoes the sentiment: “We can’t hire qualified or experienced employees, or they are not willing to work because of unemployment.”

A third puts it more bluntly: “There are jobs out there but most of the people we interview seem to be entitled to something better.”

Don’t despair - the people who run the Massachusetts unemployment system are just as frustrated as you are with people who choose benefits over work and with cases of outright fraud. Officials with the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance are asking employers to report cases of UI abuse.

DUA Director Judith L. Cicatiello told the agency’s Employer Stakeholder Group recently that DUA welcomes information from concerned citizens who know of workers who continue to collect UI benefits while they are employed. Cicatiello said employers may report cases of fraud or refusal of job offers by unemployed applicants in one of several ways:

Employers may also download the AntiFraud Poster in English and Spanish.

“Unemployment benefits are too important to the people who need them to allow a small minority of people to abuse the system. We applaud the DUA for its willingness to address these issues,” said John Regan, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs for AIM.

The association interacts frequently with DUA on behalf of Massachusetts employers. I am pleased to serve on the DUA Employer stakeholder group, along with executives from six AIM-member companies. Regan serves on the DUA Advisory Committee.


Perhaps this says more about the crappy pay these outfits are offering rather than the overly generous unemployment benefits.
Posted @ Wednesday, May 04, 2011 3:21 PM by Bob Pasquale
Great - then have those employers contact me and I will work for them. I have been unemployed for 5 months and I am frustrated that employers either don't bother to get back to me or they demand exact experience, then when I tell them I have 10 years exp. in their industry (not to mention the other 20 years exp in other industries), they offer me a temporary job or just choose another candidate! This is the most frustrating process I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. If one more person tells me I need to network to find the hidden job market, I am going to get sick!
Posted @ Wednesday, May 04, 2011 3:25 PM by Pat Marais
Like everything else, this is not black and white. For instance, I take Bob's point in the first comment, and in some instances, it probably has merit. On the other hand, I personally know an engineer who was laid off from an $80K per year job. Single and with roommates, unemployment has allowed him to travel to S. American and New Zealand to paraglide for weeks at a time. And I can assure you that his job search will not get serious until those unemployment benefits run out. Problem is, not everyone laid off has the skills of a $40/hour engineer.
Posted @ Thursday, May 05, 2011 6:40 AM by Jim
You have wrong. Sure there are a some that may abuse the system; however, the majority of us DO NOT. We just want to work, be treated and fairly paid, support ourselves, pay our bills and have some semblance of "The American Dream". This government needs a good shake up; get people in who know how to work at a regular salary without all handshake and the "good ol boy" networking. The departments are broken and mismanaged. If management was held accountable and they held their staffs accountable and employee's were held accountalbe maybe we could get something done. If unemployment is being abused then where are all the STATE Employee's that are suppose to be managing this?? At the state level it's even worse. For example, anyone coming into this country gets help, when our own need help it's a bunch of redtape and normally a NO. DSS/DCS another mess; these people love to work the easy cases where they know damn well some nut job is making calls just to make someones life miserable, but the cases that are difficult they claim they are understaffed...if this is true FIT IT (jobs). The people of the USA should have the same healthcare benefits. Put people to WORK. Stop giving our work away. Tighten the borders, stop helping the world, tap our own oil sources (oh look-MORE JOBS). Take care of OUR PEOPLE, OUR COUNTRY. I've work my entire life until the recession hit; I was out of work for over 1yr. I'm blessed with my new job. The employers whine but from what I've seen many are doing very well for themselves. Instead of paying themselves abundant salaries they should staff appropriately and pay fairly.
Posted @ Thursday, May 05, 2011 7:12 AM by Lisa Gadreault
I recently represented my company at an unemployment hearing regarding an employee who just didn't show up for work. We tried to contact her, no response. We assumed she just quit. She was denied unemployment and she appealed. At the hearing, she boldly said that "yeah, she just stopped showing up" and "yeah, she didn't return our calls or attempt to contact us". Hold on to your hat, the original ruling was overturned and she was approved for unemployment. There is something incredibly wrong with this system.
Posted @ Thursday, May 05, 2011 8:16 AM by Angela Bartlett
Unfortunately we find ourselves competing with the wage rate unemployment pays when it comes to hiring for our production jobs. On a personal note, I wish we could raise our rates but I also realize we are straddling the need to remain competitive and keep jobs in Massachusetts verses sending them over seas as many of our neighboring companies have done. We are regularly turned down by applicants who can make as much to stay home as we pay for those jobs. When the benefits run out, they re-apply.
Posted @ Thursday, May 05, 2011 11:37 AM by Carol
The system is riddled with abuse. As Angela above has experienced, political hacks have the final say and they are all tremendously biased to favor the employee. Have you ever noticed how many applicants only start looking when the benefits are about to run out? It's very difficult to catch abuse, and who has the time to play policeman? There is only one cure and that is to reduce benefits so they are less attractive and tempting to those looking for an extended paid vacation. The only ones that can do that are the legislators. Fat chance they would have the common sense to see what's happening. They don't care that Mass. is one of the most costly areas of the country to do business in. Their only interest is getting votes.
Posted @ Thursday, May 05, 2011 3:59 PM by Ralph Wilbur
I am a recruiter in MA. My full-time job is to hire new people for our staff. I cannot tell you how many people say to me "Well, I am on unemployment so I can only make a certain amount of money per week - I'm certainly not going to jeopardize my unemployment benefits.” This is very frustrating. Maybe these are the people I should start reporting.
Posted @ Friday, May 06, 2011 10:13 AM by Mary
We could go on and on with this topic. I believe unemployment should be a lifeline for those who legitimately have lost their job because of a lack of work. It has become much easier to get unemployment. People who are fired or don't show up or quit (as stated above) should not be eligible for benefits. Unemployment benefits are paid BY THE EMPLOYER. More consideration should be given to the employer when it comes to eligibility. I know many skilled workers who are on lay off and working "under the table" and making more money than when they work legitimate jobs. What incentive do they have to go back until benefits expire? They are actually competing with their own employer! They are probably also receiving additional money toward health insurance premiums because they are laid off.  
There needs to be an equitable balance in this system.
Posted @ Monday, May 09, 2011 11:44 AM by Mary Swift
The biggest issue I have encountered is the number of employees who were laid off due to cut backs and were making a reasonable wage. Unfortunately in looking for work, they are being offered positions at $10 - $12/hour, anywhere from a $6 - $10 cut in salary. These individuals are barely getting by on their unemployment and cannot afford the cut in pay. Many face loss of homes and significant impact to their families if they cannot find a position with a reasonable wage.  
I agree that there is some abuse of the system but employers must also consider the wages they are offering. How many of us can sustain a household on $10.00/hour?
Posted @ Tuesday, May 17, 2011 11:54 AM by Arleen Smith
Well said Arleen.
Posted @ Wednesday, May 18, 2011 8:07 AM by Lisa G
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