As businesses open, people forced to give up unemployment benefits | KOB 4

As businesses open, people forced to give up unemployment benefits

Ryan Laughlin
Updated: June 04, 2020 10:25 PM
Created: June 04, 2020 08:06 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- As businesses reopen in New Mexico, people are returning to worker.

"I didn't get the unemployment. No, I applied and applied and applied and I never got a response," said Tenika Valdez.

Valdez was one of more than 100 employees laid off at Garcia's Kitchen. 

Some business owners were concerned that people would not want to return to work due to the amount of money they were receiving on unemployment. 

However, Department of Workforce Solutions Secretary Bill McCamley people can't stay on unemployment just because they are earning more money. 

"If an employer tells us that they offered a job back to people, and they didn't want to take it then it's our job to say, 'OK, what was the reason,'" McCamley said.

McCamley said people who want to continue collecting unemployment need to show "good cause."

Examples of good cause include:

  • Employer is not adopting COVID-safe practices\
  • A health condition puts the employee at risk you at greater risk of catching COVID-19.

McCamley said it will take another month to get good data to show how many people are still on unemployment.

Most of Garcia's employees have returned, even those who were receiving unemployment benefits.

"I'm going to say, that no, they didn't want to come back. Some of them," said Dan Garcia, owner of Garcia's Kitchen. "We hated to ask them to come back, knowing they make more money, by not coming back."

Garcia said he's doing everything he can to make sure his employees are safe-- by adopting COVID-safe practices. 

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