Votes expected tomorrow broaden unemployment eligibility and raise minimum wage
CONCORD (June 29, 2020) – The New Hampshire House is expected to consider two pieces of legislation tomorrow that would increase small business costs and make it hard to get their employees back to work at a time when they are struggling to recover from the economic crisis. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the leading small business association with thousands of members in New Hampshire, hopes the House members will reject these efforts which expand unemployment eligibility and raise the minimum wage.
The House is expected to vote tomorrow on a bill approved by the Senate that would allow employees who feel they have a reasonable risk of contracting COVID-19 at work to receive benefits. It would not make a difference if the employer was complying with all health and safety protocols.
“If you allow someone to receive unemployment benefits simply because they are worried that they could catch the virus, and yet, the employer is complying with all state and federal health requirements, that creates an incentive not to work,” said NFIB State Director Bruce Berke. “Employers also worry they will ultimately be stuck with higher unemployment insurance premiums even if they tried to bring that employee back on the job in a safe work environment, which is inherently unfair.”
The House is also expected to consider a bill approved by the Senate that would raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour next year and increase it to $12 in 2023.
“Retail and food service businesses that hire inexperienced, unskilled workers have been very hard hit by pandemic-related shutdowns and recovery will be slow, so higher wages will result in the elimination of those entry-level jobs,” added Berke. “This is the worst time to raise the minimum wage because it will make it nearly impossible for teenagers, or those trying to get their first job from ever finding one, leaving them with no way to get that initial on-the-job experience.”