Jobless checks, child care a challenge for employers trying to restart

Woodford County Judge Executive James Kay, Health Department Director Cassie Prather during Thursday's update.

VERSAILLES, Ky. (WTVQ) – As the state tries to re-crank its economy, some businesses are starting to run into roadblocks.

During his weekly community briefing Thursday, Woodford County Judge Executive James Kay touched on them, noting employers have workers who don’t want to return to their jobs because they are making more money on unemployment or because they can’t get child care.

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The unemployment situation is fueled by the $600 a week increase provided by federal funding, an increase that is suited for wages in cities like New York and Los Angeles but means a pay bump in other parts of the country.

“The first phase of reopening for business starts May 11 for manufacturing and construction and some other areas,” Kay said in his update. “We’ve been working closely with the chamber and the tourism folks and our cities.

“We’ve been talking with some of our larger employers like Quad/Graphics and More than a Bakery and one of the problems they are having is their workers can’t get child care. That’s a challenge for them.” Kay said.

“And they’ve got some people off on unemployment who are making more money. It’s hard to get them to come back,” Kay continued, noting both companies are hiring.

Gov. Andy Beshear has touched on the child care issue twice this week during his daily briefings, saying the administration hopes to have guidelines in place as early as this week to get child care centers reopened in June. The governor says the nature of children and trying to social distances them to help slow the spread of the coronavirus is a challenge.

“We know the problem it causes for working parents,. We are trying hard to find a solution,” he said Tuesday.

Kay praised businesses in the county who have “taken the initiative to protect their workers, to put their workers’ safety first.

“I am proud of our businesses that are rising to the challenge and trying to reopen in the right way,” he stated. “The worst thing that could happen is to reopen and we have another spike and have to shut down all over again. We don’t want those kinds of setbacks.

“We all want to get back to normal as quick as we can.”