Last week, state Senator Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) released the following statement after Governor DeWine announced that Ohioans receiving unemployment will no longer be eligible for the additional weekly federal bonus payments of $300 beginning June 26. Earlier this week, DeWine also announced that jobless Ohioans will be required to actively search for work to qualify for unemployment benefits.
“While we have made great strides toward getting back to normal through vaccination efforts, we are still a long way from leaving the Covid-19 pandemic behind. Not enough of our population is vaccinated, many industries still have not fully reopened, and thousands are still out of work.
“The decision to end enhanced federal unemployment benefits and reinstitute work search requirements will disproportionately harm workers in industries that have not recovered and women, especially those who have had to leave the workforce to care for young children. It will not speed up our state’s recovery and will instead only force families who are already struggling further into poverty.
“I strongly urge Governor DeWine to continue Ohio’s participation in the enhanced federal benefits program because there are still thousands in our state who desperately need it. I also urge DeWine to waive work search requirements for workers in industries within the service sector and parents without access to childcare, and truly invest in publicly funded childcare assistance by raising eligibility to 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, or $21.72 an hour for a single parent with two children. Supporting all workers and families is the only way to truly build back our economy.”
While unemployment claims have dropped in recent months, many industries, including those within the leisure and hospitality sector, have been more severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in this sector is down 16.8 percent since February 2020.
In Ohio, eligibility for publicly funded childcare is 130 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, meaning a single parent of two children who earns more than $28,236 a year – just a little more than $13.57 an hour – earns too much to qualify for childcare assistance. As a result, parents have no choice but to drop out of the workforce altogether because the cost of childcare leaves no expendable income for other needs.