FCNews Asks: Have unemployment benefits impacted business?

Home Featured Post FCNews Asks: Have unemployment benefits impacted business?

By Elisabeth McGowan The extension of unemployment benefits has been helpful for those receiving it, but some employers say they are paying the price. Many flooring retailers FCNews spoke to say unemployment benefits have caused furloughed workers to stay home due to the additional wages unemployment affords vs. traditional pay scales. Some are luckier than others, however, noting they haven’t experienced any negative impacts regarding staffing levels.

Ryan Commerce, Indoor City of Lancaster, Lancaster, Pa.

unemployment benefits

“It hasn’t [affected us directly]. We’ve been fortunate being able to bring everybody back to work. However, friends of mine have had a very hard time bringing people back to work—not only in flooring. I get it—people were scared of going back to work and getting sick last year, but now the pandemic (hopefully) is coming to an end so people should go back to work soon.”

Peter Messner, Messner Flooring, Pittsford, N.Y.

unemployment benefits

“I am happy to say that we have not been significantly impacted. We started the crisis with 18 employees and approximately 44 installers who are employed by (14) 1099 independent contractors. We had one crew who had been with us for almost 40 years retire due to health reasons (non-COVID-19-related), and two employees moved on to different jobs. All were paid with help from the PPP program. We are 50-50 split between our commercial division and our two retail stores. Commercial stayed open throughout but has slowed down. Retail was closed completely, and since we have reopened we have written record breaking business.”

Drew Barber, Carpet One of Spokane, Spokane, Wash.

unemployment benefits

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were already struggling slightly to be able to fill open positions. Over the past year, it has been more and more difficult to hire people. In March, we were needing to hire an additional person for our administrative/operations team. We had over 100 applicants for this position and we reached out to 12 individuals to set up interviews. Only one person actually showed up for their interview. I think there is a very small but still very present financial impact on businesses when individuals are applying for jobs and then not showing up for interviews. We have to post these jobs on platforms like Indeed.com, and we have to pay for these posts. But when people are clicking and applying for the jobs, some are just doing it to say they have applied for a job but actually do not want the job or do not plan to attend the interview.”

Nick Freadreacea, The Flooring Gallery, Louisville, Ky.


“This has truly been a national disaster. We, along with every business in the cities we serve, have been dramatically, adversely affected. When you have a situation where people can make as much money to stay home and do nothing vs. coming to work, you are sending the wrong message. This is the first time in my career when the people that chose to work were penalized for keeping their job and being productive. I do not blame someone for staying home and making more; I blame a system that causes them to do so while virtually every business has to run on skeleton staffing.”

Mike Beavers, Flaherty’s Flooring America in Woodlands, Texas


“Early last year when we started hearing about COVID-19, some employees were hesitant to be around people in a retail environment because of uncertainty. So, we had a few who preferred to be laid off until we knew more or ‘flattened the curve.’ But once we as a company decided to open back up fully, we did have an employee who showed no interest in coming back. This made us feel that they were comfortable with the expanded unemployment benefits. I feel that the expanded benefits have certainly impacted our ability to fill certain positions. Following pressure from business groups in our state, our governor recently opted to halt all the supplemental benefits beginning June 26. This seems to be making an impact since there has been an uptick in people seeking employment.”

Kim Berkenstadt, Village Carpets Flooring America, Santee, Calif.


“I feel neutral about them. We didn’t have anyone here on unemployment [because] we were able to keep our staff at 100% during the pandemic. Luckily, we got the PPP loan. If we hadn’t had that, maybe it would be different. I understand people not being comfortable going back to work and everyone navigating through COVID-19. However, especially if you’re in San Diego, I think people should leave the benefits for those who need them and come back to work.”

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June 7/14 2021

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