Central Ky. business taking a stand against Gov. Beshear’s back-to-work incentive

Kentucky

VERSAILLES, Ky. (WDKY) – Governor Andy Beshear is encouraging Kentuckians to get back to work with an incentive program, but not everyone is on board. Some businesses are taking a stand on what they think are unfair benefits.

The people who run Hair Nation say for them, this isn’t a political statement. It’s simply a matter of fairness to their employees who came back during the pandemic.

When hair salons had to close last year, it was an abrupt stop for those stylists.

“We were out of work for eight weeks and that was really difficult because we didn’t know if we would get assistance. We didn’t know anything, we were just told ‘You have 24 hours. You have to be closed by tomorrow at 5:00,’” Chelsea Mann, who owns the Versailles Hair Nation, said.

At each of their locations, their employees came back, even if they could have made more on unemployment.

“Every single one of these teammates came in on Memorial Day, a day that we are normally closed. And for us, it would’ve been kind of a slap in the face if we were to make that available to anyone other than them,” Hair Nation CEO Angie Ballard said.

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Ballard is talking about the $1,500 incentive offered by the state to people on unemployment who get a job over the next month. They are choosing not to hire anyone who might qualify for that money.

“A lot of them are new stylists trying to build a career so they probably would’ve made more money on unemployment currently. They are hard-working people and they deserve everything that we could offer them. I just don’t think it’s fair for us to have other people have that opportunity and not them,” Mann said.

They aren’t the only business taking that stance.

Ricardo’s Grill & Pub in Versailles doesn’t plan to hire anyone until August, saying it’s not fair to their employees.

“We just thought it was unfair to the employees that worked the whole pandemic. And also to the people that actually came off unemployment early to come here. And you know, they’re making lower wages to come back to work in the beginning of the pandemic. And those are the people that really deserve the $1500,” said Michelle Galeano with Ricardo’s.

Governor Beshear talked Tuesday about a recent report that said states that cut the extra federal unemployment benefits haven’t seen an increase in job seekers. He says this step was brought to him by the business community.

“If you’ve got a good solid job, you’re blessed. I know there might be mixed feelings in this but it’s the best for our economy,” Gov. Beshear said.

Hair Nation is currently hiring, but only under certain criteria.

“As long as they can prove that they have been employed elsewhere or that they’ve been enrolled in a beauty school then we are absolutely open to hiring and interviewing,” Ballard said.

That bonus is only for the first 15,000 people who apply and fit the criteria. The last day for someone coming off unemployment to start a new job that could qualify for the bonus is July 30.

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