Biden says anyone on unemployment benefits who turns down a job will lose their payments

White House rejected suggestion extra unemployment benefits were keeping workers at home

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 11 May 2021 08:40

Related video: Biden says anyone on benefits who turns down a job will lose their payments

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Joe Biden says that Americans who are offered a job must accept it or lose their unemployment benefits.

The president vowed to enforce unemployment laws but urged employers to raise pay for people to get them back to work.

Despite a slowdown in job growth in April, Mr Biden rejected the idea that enhanced unemployment benefits of $300 a week was encouraging workers to stay at home.

The president said the White House did not “see much evidence” of those claims and reiterated his view that “Americans want to work.”

Mr Biden also told employers that had taken federal relief that he expected them to offer workers decent pay, protect them from the virus and to encourage vaccination.

“My expectation is that as our economy comes back, these companies will provide fair wages and safe work environments,” Mr Biden said from the White House. 

“And if they do, they’ll find plenty of workers.”

But he added: “We’re going to make it clear to anyone collecting unemployment who is offered a suitable job they must take the job or lose their unemployment benefits.”

Mr Biden said his administration would dish out more of the $1.9 trillion relief package, and allow state and local governments to apply for a part of a $350bn aid pool and send grants to 16,000 restaurants and bars, among other things.

The Labor Department reported last week that employers added just 266,000 jobs in April – far fewer than expected. But the president downplayed the slow growth of the jobs market and insisted that the economy was “moving in the right direction.”

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