Incentives to work and get vaccinated
With New Jersey on the cusp of removing most of the remaining pandemic restrictions over the next two weeks, getting people back to work is a challenge in many industries. This is especially true in the restaurant, tourism and hospitality industries. Some restaurateurs have complained that some employees refuse to return to work or cannot hire new workers because they are making more money from unemployment. Coastal hospitality and tourism businesses report similar difficulties
State Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo said he had heard these stories, but didn’t think it was largely true. Asaro-Angelo told the Senate Budget Committee that his department had only received 68 complaints from employers about employees refusing to return to work. However, he pointed out that if this is the case it is a fraud, and urged employers to report it: âI want to be very clear that if you think you have employees who are currently unemployed and who are not returning to work, let us know. “
It is conceivable that some people earn more from unemployment than they did in lower paying jobs, especially through improved federal benefits. The number of workers affected is not readily available.
In an effort to attract more workers, employers are trying all kinds of incentives. Restaurants raise wages and provide free meals. Some companies offer unique bonuses on hiring. On the shore, hiring problems have reached near crisis levels. Thousands of jobs remain vacant. The situation is made worse by the lack of foreign workers coming from overseas to New Jersey. These companies also blame improved federal unemployment benefits for depressing the hiring pool. These benefits are not set to expire until September, and many employers anticipate hiring problems throughout the summer. This is not good for a tourism industry that is reeling from the pandemic restrictions and closures last year.
Gov. Phil Murphy has predicted a “big summer” on the shore this year as pandemic restrictions are relaxed. Morey’s Piers in Wildwood offers free use of its parks and water parks to employees and discounts to friends and family.
Employers are not the only ones to offer attractions. State and federal officials hope the incentives will spur the pace of vaccinations.
President Joe Biden has announced an ambitious new goal to immunize 70% of the country’s adult population. He hopes the incentives will persuade the hesitant to roll up their sleeves. Among the attractions, partnerships with major sports leagues.
Biden says there will be “things like giveaways of tickets, stadium vaccination programs, discounts on merchandise and other creative ways to make vaccination easier and fun.
New Jersey has similar programs. Several local breweries have joined the âShot and a Beerâ program. You get a free beer if you show your vaccination card.
One of the coast’s most popular nightclubs will be hosting a vaccination clinic in Belmar next week. Anyone who shows up for the vaccine will receive a free VIP access card.
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