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Employers ask Pritzker to end enhanced unemployment, reinstate work requirements

The Center Square

Agroup of Illinois employer associations is urging the governor to end enhanced unemployment benefits and reinstate the work-seeking requirements to ensure the state’s economic recovery isn’t further delayed.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, a combination of federal and state policies have assisted workers with enhanced and extended unemployment insurance. The sweetened benefits continued, even as states were lifting economic restrictions. Around half the states in the nation have ended the enhanced benefits.

“Illinois employers of all types and sizes are struggling to attract needed employees resulting in reduced hours and lost sales,” the group featuring manufacturing, construction, and retail associations said in a letter. “Those lost sales directly impact the budgets of the state and units of local government. Before we lose any more economic ground, now is the time to reinstate normal unemployment insurance operations, including work search requirements, and benefit levels.”

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said for months he’s not willing to end the enhanced unemployment benefits because he doesn’t want to “pull the rug” from underneath anyone. He also said there were concerns about child care.

Illinois Retail Merchants Association CEO Rob Karr said the governor addressed that a few weeks ago when he expanded child care subsidy eligibility. IRMA is part of a group of more than 20 associations that sent the governor a letter Tuesday, July 13, asking him to end the enhanced unemployment benefits of $300 a week and reinstate requirements for those getting the benefits to look for work.

“The faster that everyone’s back in the workforce, the faster Illinois recovers and hopefully gets back to pre-pandemic performance,” Karr said in an interview.

Karr noted Illinois lagged the nation in economic recovery following the Great Recession that ended in 2009.


  1. Sharon on July 19, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    The first sentence in the last paragraph should read, the sooner everyone’s back in the workforce, not the sooner everyone’ snack!!

    • M.Polacek on July 19, 2021 at 2:49 pm

      Why should they go back to work when u get free money! I wish i could stay home and government pay my bills!

  2. JoAnn Knepler on July 19, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    Dont get me wrong, I have been on unemployment. There is no incentive to go back to work. Its a vicious cycle, give them more to stay at home, than what they would working. Sorry, but its the truth.

  3. Cee Cee Stevens on July 19, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    Thank you Gov. Pritzker for thinking of the people that are having a hard time finally a job. I’m over 60 and trying to find employment. As hard as it is for employers needing employees, they still will not hire older people.Unfortunately I’m not able to work a job that requires standing to long. My experience is in customer service. Companies take one look at how old I’m at an interview and they don’t call me back. Without unemployment I don’t know how I would pay my bills. If Mr Karr thinks taking away people’s unemployment is the answer to getting more people back to work he has a big surprise coming his way at the end of August. There is more issues they getting unemployment that is stopping people from going back to work!!!!

    • Kenneth Bidstrup on July 19, 2021 at 2:26 pm

      It’s a competitive job market ! The complainers should pay more !!!!

  4. Barb on July 19, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    Maybe pritzer should fund unemployment out of his personal pocket I am 67 and have worked thru the pandemic with no free handouts get off your da and go back to work like before the pandemic get a life cut off the added benifits and those who do not qualify so maybe places can open again and hire employees so the rest of us don’t have to work ot to get the job done JP you suck

  5. Shawn Robertson on July 19, 2021 at 4:28 pm

    The work search requirements are still in place. The only thing that changed was the requirement to register on the IDES job search was suspended. You are still expected to make 5 job contacts every week.

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