unemployment volunteerFlorida's unemployment rates are not so hot. At 12%, it's one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, and someone in the state government is trying to figure out how to not lose so much of that unemployment benefit to the jobless citizens of the Sunshine State. 

You know, the unemployment benefit that was taken out of their paycheck when they had a job? The unemployment benefit that maxes out at $275 per week, since Florida is one of the lowest paying in the union? Yep, that $275 a week is making Representative Kathleen Passidomo cranky, so she proposes that unemployed Floridians do some (more) work for their bennies. Passidomo is supporting legislation to make recipients of unemployment benefits volunteer at least four hours every week.

Before you say, "Hey, volunteering is a great thing!" why don't you stop and think about how that would affect you -- if this idea was to take hold on a national level.

Imagine this scenario: You've just lost your job and your family is in dire financial straits. If you're lucky, you get unemployment benefits (even luckier if you live in a state with a higher weekly rate than Florida). But your government assumes you're a lazy, good-for-nothing, instead of a victim of corporate lay-offs, downsizing, or a bankrupt company. So they ask you to prove your worth to them. Insulted yet?

Don't get me wrong, I think volunteering is a wonderful thing. And, like Representative Passidomo says, it could be a way to make contacts and find more work. Or it could be taking you away from your job search, using your limited gas money, and punishing you for not being able to hold on to a job -- even though it was no fault of your own. Also, throw in child care costs if you're a parent, and your weekly allotment is suddenly not enough to feed those kids. You know, the weekly allotment THAT YOU'VE ALREADY PAID FOR WHEN YOU WERE WORKING.

Way to screw the American people yet again! Why do I think this is totally going to pass? Watch out Floridians -- you'd better not even think about working for a company that could have lay-offs, or you'll be picking up trash on the highway. Instead of looking for another job that could also end in a lay-off. 

Do you think this is a good way to treat the unemployed?

 

Image via aficio/Flickr