Jacobs introduces ‘Help Wanted Act’ to address labor shortages

Posted 13 May 2021 at 12:10 pm

Press Release, Congressman Chris Jacobs

ORCHARD PARK – Congressman Chris Jacobs (NY-27) introduced the Help Wanted Act on Wednesday evening to help address the growing labor shortages reported in Western New York and around the nation.

“The jobs report released Friday shows what we warned would happen – the President’s policies have disincentivized work and made it more lucrative for individuals to stay home and collect enhanced unemployment benefits than seek employment,” Jacobs said. “Now we are seeing the effects. Businesses cannot find employees to keep up with growing demand, restaurants are having to turn customers away when they need them most, and commodity prices are skyrocketing as organizations cannot find labor to support their supply chains. This legislation addresses the root causes of this labor shortage to get Americans back to work and support our economic recovery.”

The legislation would accomplish three main goals. It would require every state to reinstate the “work-search” requirement for unemployment benefits. This requires unemployment recipients to show proof of a job search to receive benefits. During the pandemic, this condition was waived by many states. In addition, the legislation strikes a provision from the CARES Act allowing individuals to collect unemployment if they voluntarily left their job. Finally, the legislation would prohibit the use of generic concerns about Covid-19 as a reason for turning down offers of employment.

“With more than a year of complying with Covid protocols, vaccines available to all adults, and infection rates dropping significantly, it is time for us to fully reopen and get back to work,” Jacobs said.

The jobs report released Friday showed the economy only added 266,000 jobs, falling short of the almost one million projected to be added. In addition, the Buffalo News reported local restaurants and retailers are struggling to find employees, and as a result are being forced to limit service, turn away customers, and suffer financially.

The Help Wanted Act introduced by Rep. Jacobs and cosponsored by Rep. Dusty Johnson (SD-AL) and Rep. Tracey Mann (KS-01).

“There are nearly 8 million job openings and 14 million Americans out of work. If the American economy is going to make a full comeback, we have to get folks back to work – Congressman Jacobs Help Wanted Act accomplishes that goal,” Rep. Johnson said.

“I have continually advocated for reopening our economy and getting people back to work,” said Rep. Mann. “At a time when small businesses and other employers are searching for workers, the federal government’s interference to normal order is not the right path. It’s time to take off the masks, reopen our businesses and schools, and get back on track.”