During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, enhanced unemployment benefits were basically the difference for many Louisiana residents between having enough food to eat and starving. Now, as more and more of the state's residents are being vaccinated against the disease and more and more businesses are opening, there are some that are calling for an end to those benefit enhancements.

The Louisiana Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business is now asking the state of Louisiana to reconsider how money spent on enhanced unemployment benefits is being spent. The group wants the focus shifted from paying people to not work to funding incentives to get people back into the workforce.

Many Louisiana businesses are suffering a severe shortage of labor. Many blame that shortage on the federal and state enhancements for unemployment benefits which makes staying at home instead of going to a job a more attractive scenario.

Using enhancement money to incentivize hiring is already being done in many other states. For example, in Montana, a $1,200 hiring bonus has been enacted while federal unemployment enhancements have been eliminated. If you do the math, it's basically the same money but it's spent on getting people hired instead of paying people to not work.

For those who say the worker shortage is more of a shortfall of fair and competitive wages, the Louisiana Chapter of the NFIB says that thirty percent of the state's employers have already increased wages for workers in the state. About one-fifth of those plan to offer even more pay increases as their business rebounds from the pandemic.

Currently, the need for qualified workers in Louisiana is listed at 44% according to the NFIB. That's about twice the normal need for workers in the state. According to statistics, the state's need for workers has been at the 44% level for the past three months, so you can see the jobs are there, it's just that the workers are not.

According to reports, there is currently a move underway in the Louisiana Legislature that would curb those federal unemployment enhancements and make changes in the way the money is allocated that would encourage workers to get back out and into the job market.

If you're wondering about the COVID vaccines and how that might affect your plans to return to work or your plans to hire more workers, we've put together a list of frequently asked questions about the vaccines. Hopefully, this information will help you make the best choice for your personal health moving forward. 

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.


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