Few issues frustrate Massachusetts employers more than unemployed people who turn down job offers in favor of collecting jobless benefits.
“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:
- Completing the DUA Fraud Hotline Complaint Form
- Calling the Fraud Hotline — 1-800-354-9927
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
- Writing to the U.I. Program Integrity Department, P.O. Box 8610, Boston, MA 02114. Or Fax to 617-723-5312
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.