Lawmakers hope work search requirement helps solve restaurant staffing shortage

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The United States is dealing with a jobs crisis and many Midstate businesses are feeling the effects, but some Republican lawmakers in PA think they have an answer to the problem.

Local restaurants in the Midstate are having trouble finding workers to fill open positions, which is hurting their recovery.

Republican Rep. Jim Cox believes he has a fix.

“Work search requirements need to be reinstated and we believe that will be a big step forward in getting Pennsylvania back to work and getting our economy moving,” Cox said.

Rep. Eric Nelson says expanded benefits are stopping people from going back to their jobs.

“The incentive not to work is so great right now that many workers are not engaged, and that’s why this bill is so important,” Nelson said.

President Biden says benefits aren’t the problem. Nationally job growth was much lower than expected in April, but he attributes that to there not being as many jobs available as there were pre-pandemic.

“The data shows that more workers are looking for jobs and many can’t find them,” Biden said.

Melissa Bova with the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association thinks the work search requirements will help.

“While it is a step and it gets us forward a little bit, this is a long-term problem that’s going to need long-term solutions,” Bova said.

She hopes lawmakers are thinking about making long term investments in the industry.

“Maybe looking at incentives to get people back to work, but also filling the gaps as it pertains to childcare, and ensuring that this is an industry and people know this is an industry that they have long term job growth and opportunities within,” Bova said.

If the bill passes work search requirements would go into place either on June 8th or 15 days after the legislation is enacted, whichever one is later.

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