Central Florida business owners say some job candidates turning down work for unemployment benefits

Some small business owners say people are turning down job opportunities so that they can continue to receive unemployment.

The owner of Wop’s Hops Brewing in Sanford says many of his employees returned to work but he had a couple of openings in the kitchen.

“When I put the request for people to apply, I did get some responses,” said Greg Piecora. “However, the responses I was getting were that they didn’t want to work because they were getting unemployment compensation.”

At Appleton’s Cafe in Lake Mary, Tricia Rodriguez says 70 percent of her employees would not return.  

“My problem was that the employees were making too much money on unemployment, and they didn’t want to come back to work,” Rodriguez told FOX 35 News.

She closed the restaurant permanently.

“Not being able to get my employees means that I would have had to hire new people and train people so it was definitely part of my decision,” she said.

Many Floridians have struggled to get any unemployment due to the state’s glitch-ridden website. If the claim does go through, people are eligible for up to $275 in state benefits and $600 in federal benefits each week.  

Senator Rick Scott, R-Florida, has been critical of that amount, arguing payments should have been capped by the previous salary.

While Piecora supports unemployment for people out of a job, he said turning down work could backfire when the payments stop.

“Qualified people, there’s a lot of them out there and they’re going to take those jobs,” he said.

Piecora says he was able to fill one of those positions. The other is still open.