Furloughed workers don’t want to return to their jobs as they’re earning more money with unemployment

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An unintended and unexpected consequence of the multitrillion dollar stimulus package is that workers are asking to be laid off or reluctant to go back to work after being furloughed.

In an effort to help people financially cope with their job losses in the midst of a pandemic, the federal government—through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)—is providing an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits. This amount is in addition to what the states already pay, which is in the range of $200 to $300 per week.

A person could conceivably earn $1,000 per week on unemployment, depending upon the state he or she resides in. In addition to the enhanced benefits, most Americans, earning less than $75,000 in 2019, received a one-time check for $1,200 and $500 for each child under 17 years of age.

Here’s the situation facing companies that have already been financially hurt by the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak. Consider a worker in an Amazon warehouse. The worker has to be on their feet all day, lift heavy boxes onto and off of high shelves and race around the facility to fulfill orders. Earning a minimum wage of $15 per hour, the person may make pre-tax $525 per week. Think of how many millions of other people work at dangerous, physically demanding or unpleasant jobs earning a similar amount.

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