A Little Short-Term Pain Could Equal A Lot of Long-Term Gain
With EDD payments topped up by an extended federal assistance program in the form of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, many recently unemployed Californians are receiving more from the EDD than they would if they were working.
It’s tempting not to look for another job and return to work, isn’t it? Afterall, why spend hours away from home each day when it could make you worse off?
Before we look at why you should return to work, let’s refresh your memory on the EDD payments you might be receiving if your job has been trashed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Your Entitlement Under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
If you have been made unemployed because of the pandemic, the federal government is trying to make sure that you don’t suffer financially. You’ve been eligible for $300 per week in federal payments because of the CARES Act since March 2020. This originally ran through to December 26, 2020, but President Trump extended the payments through to March 14, 2021.
These payments just became even more generous. President Biden has proposed increasing payments to $400 per week and extending the period of payment through to September.
All this ‘free money’ – on top of your EDD payments – is certainly tempting to take. But this doesn’t mean you should.
The Downside of Your Financial Upside
There are always two sides to any story, and the EDD payments and PUA payments have a distinct downside. Working provides a sense of pride and a purpose to life. It gives you a professional network, connects you to like-minded people, and enables you to keep your workplace skills up to date. You know all this though, don’t you?
There are many more reasons to return to work that you may not have considered as you draw your EDD payments. Let’s run through them.
1. You Could Lose Your Unemployment Benefits
You lose your entitlement to unemployment benefits if you turn down a reasonable job offer, including being invited to return to your old job. There’s a gray area here, because under the CARES Act you can turn down a job offer for a coronavirus-related reason. Are you willing to take the risk?
2. You May Lose Your Job-Related Benefits
Your compensation at work isn’t made up of only your salary. Sure, you may think it’s great to have that extra money in your pocket – especially if you don’t have to work for it – but what about the benefits you could be losing, such as:
- Healthcare for you and your family
- Life insurance
- Retirement plans
In-work benefits generally add around 30% to an employer’s costs to hire you. Can you afford to replace healthcare plans and life insurance from your EDD payments and PUA? Losing the benefits of your retirement plan, such as a 401(K), might not impact you now, but you’ll certainly notice the difference when you retire.
Suddenly the extra money in your pocket from CARES doesn’t seem quite so attractive, does it?
3. Eventually the Money-Go-Round Will Stop
Even though President Biden has extended PUA payments until September, eventually the money-go-round will stop – and you’ll be forced to get off. Your EDD payments in the future are not likely to be as attractive as a salary.
So, you’ll start looking for a new job. We hate to tell you this, but it won’t be easy if you wait. Here’s why…
4. Every Month Out of Work Is Another Month of Stale Skills
The speed at which U.S. businesses have moved to embrace technology has been nothing short of miraculous. As people have been asked to work from home, working practices have altered drastically. Across all sectors of the economy, we’ve witnessed a seismic shift in how things are done.
The skills needed to work in the evolving normality have shifted similarly. Every month you are sitting at home, you are losing ground on those who are at work and upskilling. That’s going to harm your ability to get a job when you need to, and will put downward pressure on the salary you could command.
5. Employment Gaps Matter to Employers
If you have employment gaps on your resume that are reasonably explained, most employers will brush them to one side and focus on you. The difficulty for you comes when the employer knows that you could have been working. They may even have advertised for jobs that suit you while you were benefiting from EDD payments and the PUA ‘COVID bonus’.
6. Wait Too Long and You’ll Join a Long Line of Jobseekers
Right now, there are many people who are happy to take the government’s dime. When the money-go-round does grind to a halt, all these people will become jobseekers. Wait too long to look for a new job and you could find yourself at the back of a long line. All these jobseekers will look like you – a long employment gap on their resume and a lack of up-to-date skills. They will all have the same reason, too – “It was the coronavirus”.
PUA and EDD Payments – A Short-Term Solution with Long-Term Consequences
It is natural to wonder why you should work for less than the money you can receive via EDD payments. However, every day you are not working is a day:
- your skills are eroding
- closer to the day when the money suddenly stops
- without the added ‘hidden’ benefits that work provides
- of another negative on your resume
- closer to joining a long line of jobseekers who all want the same job as you
The choice of whether to stay at home and take the government’s money for short-term gain or to protect your long-term future in a job that gives you a sense of pride, a reason to get up, and the skills you require to further your career is yours.
Here at Everest Recruitment, we are actively seeking candidates for hundreds of roles in California and many other states. Our areas of expertise include:
- Engineering and IT
- Hospitality and Housekeeping
Our clients are waiting for your resume. Contact us today, and let’s get you back into work ahead of the flood of jobseekers that is on its way.