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4.29.31- FOX5DC –ANNAPOLIS, Md. 

Maryland appears to be cracking down on those who are being offered back the job they lost in the pandemic — but are now refusing to return to, preferring to accept unemployment insurance benefits instead. 

A Maryland Department of Labor spokesperson told FOX 5 DC in writing: 

“An email was sent to employers on Tuesday, April 27 informing them that they can now report job refusals and employee return to work dates to the Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance (DUI). The email provided detailed instructions for how to do so in their BEACON portal. When an employer offers a job to a claimant in filing status or recalls a former employee in layoff status and the individual refuses the job (or fails to return), the employer must notify DUI within 15 days of the refusal. DUI will then determine whether the claimant should be paid or denied benefits. Additional information may be requested from the employer.” 

Susan Jones, Executive Director with the OC Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, told FOX 5 DC over the phone, she knows there are legitimate reasons for people not wanting to return to a place of employment. There are also concerns of those scamming the system just to collect unemployment. 

This comes as shore communities from Virginia to Delaware are said to be struggling in returning their workforce as more vaccines are available and more people are looking to book “vengeance vacations.” 

“This is part of the reason why the state of Maryland now is going to start enforcing employees who are currently receiving unemployment to return to work, if they’ve been offered their job back, they need to return to work. We have hotels here on the shore and restaurants that are operating with reduced capacity, not because of COVID, they don’t have the staffing to open their hotel up 100%,” Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce President, Bill Chambers. 

Chambers referred to the Eastern Shore and other shore communities as being “dire circumstance” and that the worker shortage is slowing recovery at a time when they should be picking-up pace. Chambers also noted how Ocean City, Maryland won’t be getting help again from the J1 summer work travel visa program. If you’re looking for good work, Chambers said, they’ve got it. 

Rentals are reportedly booked-up through Labor Day on the Eastern Shore, according to Chambers, who also noted that many rentals are still not operating at full capacity due to staffing shortages.

Chambers is still encouraging people to spend money at their shore communities as they work on bringing back employees.