South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) has ordered all federal, pandemic-related unemployment programs in the state to end on June 30, citing workforce shortages.

In a memo to South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce Director Daniel Ellzey, McMaster said that businesses “face an unprecedented labor shortage” attributed caused by pandemic-related benefits given on top of state unemployment benefits.

McMaster said what was intended to be short-term assistance turned into “dangerous federal entitlement, incentivizing and paying workers to stay at home rather than encouraging them to return to the workplace.”

“Since the Biden administration and Congress appear to have little to no comprehension of the damage being done and no appetite to terminate the federal payments, the State of South Carolina must take action,” McMaster wrote.

South Carolina is the second state that will end expanded unemployment benefits next month.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) announced Tuesday that the state will stop participating in expanded benefits.

The state will instead use funds from President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill to give $1,200 to people who had an active unemployment claim as of May 4, accepted a job offer and completed at least four weeks of paid work.

Both states are ending the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which gave those on unemployment an additional $300 per week.

They will also not participate in the Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Program (PEUC), which provided additional relief to those that exhausted state benefits. The states will cease participation in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which expanded benefits to those woh didn’t qualify for traditional unemployment insurance.

The move comes as Republicans argue that expanded unemployment benefits are contributing to companies’ ability to rehire workers because in some states, federal supplements push benefits above average wage.

Progressives, however, have cited employee health concerns with returning to work as the reason companies are facing hiring struggles.

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Greg Gianforte henry mcmaster Joe Biden Montana Pandemic pandemic unemployment PUA South Carolina

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