HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says around 200,000 people in the state are receiving unemployment benefits.
Executive orders are now lifted and businesses are asking employees to return to work, however, the department says the number of people receiving unemployment has stayed around 200,000.
Some collecting unemployment are making more money now than they were while working, but SCDEW and local businesses say it’s time to start looking for jobs.
“Is it taking advantage of the system? I would hope that people are doing the right thing and they’re looking for work and if they get offered work, they’ll go back,” said Todd Timmerson, SCDEW Chief Legal Officer.
On Tuesday several Myrtle Beach restaurants told News13 they were severely understaffed. While winter staff has returned to work, the pandemic interrupted peak hiring for seasonal help.
“I’m getting applications in left and right on Facebook and you can see that they’ve read my responses to schedule an interview. You never hear back from them. Unfortunately they are making good money to sit at home and not work,” said Brian Gregory, General Manager of Rip Tydz located on Ocean Boulevard.
DEW is asking employers to report people who are refusing work.
The department says they will make contact and ask why a refusal was made.
“Report those people who turn down work and they indicate it’s because I’m on unemployment. So if you get that kind of message either from one of your own employees or from a perspective hire, that’s information we want to know. Because those people should not be doing that. They should be going back to work if they can,” said Timmerson.
Timmerson says refusal to work without a valid excuse could lead to unemployment benefits being taken away.
DEW also works with business owners and managers find employees through their free SC Works database.
Timmerson says the department expects people to return to the jobs they once had, but understands there are circumstances where that can’t happen.
People who test positive for COVID-19, who are placed in isolation for contact with COVID-19, or are taking care of a family member who is positive can be eligible to keep their benefits while not returning to work.
People with compromised immune systems, confirmed through a doctor could be eligible for the same.
Another issue people are facing is the lack of daycare availability.
Timmerson says if your daycare is closed or has limited availability due to COVID-19, you may be eligible to keep benefits as well.
Before benefits are stopped, the department will be in contact to hear each case.
“In those cases, if the employee reports that to us during the fact finding, then they may be able to continue their unemployment even though they’ve been offered work. But for most people, if you’ve been offered a job and the employer reports that to us that you’ve been offered a job, that may result in your benefits being stopped after you’ve had your chance to tell your side of the story,” said Timmerson.