Out-of-work Floridians will soon get less money as federal compensation program ends

ORLANDO, Fla. — Out-of-work Floridians will soon be getting even less money.

On Monday, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced its plan to end its participation in the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

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The ending of the $300 per week supplemental FPUC payment will be effective June 26, 2021, as part of the DEO’s “Return to Work” initiative.

According to a news release, April’s labor statistics showed that total private-sector employment increased by 18,800 jobs and more than 460,000 online job postings available throughout the state for job seekers.

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“Thanks to Gov. DeSantis’ leadership, Florida’s economy has bounced back tremendously with over 460,000 jobs available throughout our state and the strongest economic conditions in the nation,” said Dane Eagle, secretary of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. “Florida’s employers are also seeing employment growth, as more Floridians, including some who completely left the workforce, are now eagerly reentering the workforce. Transitioning away from this benefit will help meet the demands of small and large businesses who are ready to hire and expand their workforce.”

Starting June 27, anyone receiving unemployment benefits in Florida will get only the weekly state maximum of $275.

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It should be noted that additional federal Reemployment Assistance benefit programs will continue for now, as DEO continues to monitor job posting and industry hiring trends carefully.

Programs like the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) are set to expire on Sept. 6, 2021.

The DEO news release also stated that Florida has gained nearly 800,000 private-sector jobs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some Florida business leaders and local businesses agree that ending this program will help get Floridians back into the workforce.

“Florida’s hospitality industry was one of the hardest hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though our industry is open for business, we are facing a dire labor shortage,” Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association President and CEO Carol Dover, said. “Strong demand, coupled with this staffing shortage, has left many businesses forced to limit operating days and hours in addition to reducing capacity in both food service and lodging. Ending the supplemental $300 FPUC payment will help the industry regain pre-COVID levels.”

Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani also weighed in on Monday’s announcement.

“It’s been made clear time and time again that Florida’s Governor does not care about our state’s workers,” Eskamani said. “Not only did he dismiss bipartisan efforts during the Legislative Session to increase Florida’s criminally low Weekly Benefit Amount by $100 but today his administration has decided to strip away critical federal support that hundreds of thousands of people rely on.