Hawaii stands prepared to vary the unemployment guidelines to get extra individuals again to work

HONOLULU (KHON2) – The state of Hawaii stands ready to change unemployment rules to get more people back to work. One of the changes is that unemployed people will have to look for work in order to continue receiving benefits.

Entrepreneurs say this is long overdue.

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The changes are welcome news for the Ruby Tuesday owner. He owns nine restaurants and says he could use at least 100 more workers.

Companies in Hawaii say too many gaps prevent employees from going back to work

Owner Rick Nakashima sees himself as one of the luckier ones because he can still fully occupy the restaurants in all shifts.

“The problem is, if we have people who are sick for some reason or have a personal matter, they have to take care of it, that leaves us short. It is really a chore to come into the restaurant and see your manager in the kitchenette, ”he said.

Hawaiian restaurants are struggling to find employees despite nearly 60,000 unemployed residents

The lack of staff was more of a challenge for the owner of Il Gelato Hawaii, which has four locations. The owner needs around 15 workers, so the opening times have been shortened.

“At the moment we want to open longer days and we also want to open our Waikiki store as soon as we can, and we need more people for that,” said Dirk Koeppenkastrop, owner of Il Gelato Hawaii.

The state’s unemployment rate is above the national average

The Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce released a survey that found that nearly 93% of businesses require the state that unemployed workers seek work as a requirement for receiving benefits. In the past, they had to apply for at least three jobs a week. That stopped during the pandemic because no one was hiring. There are now plans to bring it back.

“I think the people who come in are forced to apply in three different places. You come in and see what we have. Hopefully we can land some of them and get out of this bond, ”said Nakashima.

Others say the extra $ 300 a week from the federal government is tempting many people to opt for unemployment. Several states are planning to stop participating, and some business owners say Hawaii should do the same.

“It’s not good for the economy, it’s definitely not good for the community, it’s not good for Hawaii. I think we have to set the right incentives so that people come and have fun coming back to work, ”said Koeppenkastrop.

Federal benefits are expected to expire in September, and there is still no word from the state whether it plans to deregister before that time.

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