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Lawton business owner on Governor Stitt’s incentive for unemployment

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Employers are hoping to fill their vacant positions soon now that unemployment benefits will be ending early and there’s a 12-hundred dollar offer for people to return to work.

Salas Urban Cantina Owner Julia Salas is one of many business owners who has struggled to fill positions since the pandemic started.

Salas said although she feels like you shouldn’t have to offer money for people to go back to work, she hopes Stitt’s recent announcement about incentives will help.

“I’m an old-fashion person. I like to work, and I believe that the incentive to work is to be able to do the things you want to do and to provide for your family,” Salas said.

Salas said she was very surprised that he did make that move though.

“To me, that seems like a slap in the face to the workers that’s been working diligently all along and not relying on government assistance. I know my crew feels the same way,” Salas said.

Shelley Zumwalt with Oklahoma Employment Security Commission said the 12-hundred dollar incentive is only be available to the first 20-thousand people who apply for it.

Before you can start collecting that money though, you first must meet several requirements.

“You have to have been on unemployment the first two weeks in May, you have to have six weeks of consecutive employment with the same employer, and be able to produce that either through paycheck stubs or however you receive your payment information. You also have to apply through our site, which will be available on June 28,” Zumwalt said.

You must also work for 32-hours or more a week to qualify.

She said if you got a job today, you could apply for the incentive on June 29, and so on.

“I hear from employers every single day that are hiring for positions that they can’t get filled, and a lot of times what they hear is, they’re not the right job or they don’t pay enough. But from my perspective what I’m hearing about is job range from people with GED’s, skills tradesman, all the way up to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. There are positions that we get emails about saying we need to find people, can you help me,” Zumwalt said.

All benefits will end on June 26 and the incentive program will run until September 4.

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