As extra unemployment benefits end, workers may have reason to go back to work

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — When the pandemic started, the federal government implemented extra benefits for people who lost their jobs.

That included extra weekly pay, and benefits for gig workers or independent contractors — Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) — which had never been done before.

“A lot of those programs are coming to an end. Especially the $300 boost is coming to an end,” said Amber Hansen, who heads up a popular Facebook group about PUA.

“The gig working side, that side is coming to a complete and utter halt,” Hansen said, “which means there will be no more collecting benefits.”

This week, DETR reminded claimants the extra benefits are ending on Sept. 4.

“If they are in an appeals status, still be able to go through that process, and if their appeal is successful then, yes, they will be paid,” Hansen said.

The federal boost has been a controversial topic as employers across the valley and the nation struggle to find workers.

Lola Pokorny owns Lola’s Louisiana Kitchen in Summerlin. She says hiring is still difficult.

“Nothing yet. Nothing has changed as of today,” she said.

She is hoping that more workers might come back as extra benefits end.

“We have been in this stalled stage of recovery for a very long time which has caused so many supply chain voids,” Pokorny said.

“It is not easy to run a company right now with what is going on,” she said.

As the pandemic continues, Hansen said it isn’t only the benefits that have stopped some workers from coming back. Some are worried about issues like the Delta variant, child care and finding the right wage.

Hansen agreed. There are more factors.

“Food costs have increased, gas prices have increased. So we have to really come to the table and kind of meet in the middle by way of either raising wages or incentivizing employment conditions for individuals to make it worth their while,” Hansen said.

The federal benefits end Saturday, which means the last payment that will include extra benefits will be next week, after this week’s filing.

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