Some Connecticut buinesses struggling to hire employees hope the governor's new plan to get people back to work will be successful.
Beginning Monday, the state will offer residents starting a new full-time job a $1,000 bonus at the end of two months of work. The incentive will be available to a total of 10,000 individuals.
The incentive comes as many businesses are trying to get back to normal as the state prepares to lift most of the remaining COVID-19-related restrictions currently in place.
There are a lot of jobs open across the state looking to hire employees.
At Joey B’s Restaurant in Berlin, Help Wanted signs are posted because the restaurant needs four to five more employees.
“It’s a giant nightmare for anybody to get anybody to work. We’re running on a skeleton crew. We’re severely understaffed in the kitchen, in the dining room,” said Joe Buccheri, owner of Joey B’s Restaurant.
Buccheri said the lack of employees is preventing him from reopening the outside dining.
“I have people calling for interviews twice a day and they’re no shows. Nobody shows up so it’s very hard to find help,” Buccheri said.
People must be unemployed for at least eight to 12 weeks to be eligible to receive the bonus, according to Gov. Ned Lamont. The money for the incentive comes from CARES Act funding.
Business owners and managers NBC Connecticut spoke with said the bonus sounds appealing and they are hopeful it will work, but they are concerned that many of the people on unemployment won’t return to work until the end of the summer when the federal long-term unemployment benefits end.
Antonio Lockwood manages Carmela’s on the Extension in Middletown as well as Jerry’s Pizza. He said there is a risk coming back to work, but the reward is there.
“It’s guaranteed hours, it’s guaranteed money. Places are looking for people really bad and there’s money to be made,” Lockwood said.
Lockwood also encouraged the state to give a bonus to those people who have continued working throughout the year-long pandemic and risked their own health.
“We’ve been at work, we’ve been putting ourselves at risk serving people with no masks on while they’re sitting down eating food. We’re the people at risk so I feel like we should be the ones getting compensated,” said Lockwood.
People will be able to sign up for the $1,000 bonus online at the Department of Revenue Services website soon.