(SPEEDWAY, Ind.) – Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh says there’s a connection between businesses’ difficulty filling jobs and the pandemic.
Walsh visited a popup clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as part of a Midwestern bus tour promoting the vaccine. He argues fear of COVID-19 is still keeping some people at home, and says that’s something businesses can help address. While Walsh isn’t calling for businesses to require employees be vaccinated, he says they can help both public health and their own workforce needs by promoting the vaccine. And he says businesses can make it easier for their workers to get the shot, by giving them time off to get vaccinated or by hosting vaccine clinics themselves.
Walsh says another factor is a lack of child care. The pandemic relief bill passed in March included $39 billion for states to shore up child care money, and President Biden has been trying to push more through Congress.
Republicans have blamed a $300-a-week add-on to jobless benefits for the labor shortage, contending workers have viewed it as an incentive to stay home. The National Federation of Independent Businesses says 48% of Indiana employers had openings they couldn’t fill last month. Indiana stopped offering the enhanced benefits on Saturday, one of 26 states to end those payments or announce plans to do so.