Frustration with State Unemployment Compensation System

TO Florida Senators

Janet Cruz, Bill Galvano, Tom Lee, Darryl Ervin Rouson

  Florida Representatives

Fentrice Driskell, James Grant, Dianne Hart, Wengay Newton, Jackie Toledo, Susan L. Valdes

 
FROM: Bob Morrison, HCHMA Executive Director

 

Dear Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation:

On behalf of the Hillsborough County Hotel & Motel Association (HCHMA), please find below an outline of our industry’s disappointment with the inability of our unemployment compensation program to meet the needs of our displaced employees.

Thank you to Senator Cruz and Senator Rouson for your prior communication on this issue – but the entire delegation needs to be on notice and hopefully join us in helping those who are without during this difficult time.

Please see below a summary of and the basis for our concern:

#HelpOurHotelEmployees

  • Hotel workers were among the first to lose jobs as hotels temporarily closed to stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Too many of those trained employees have yet to receive state unemployment funds or CARE Act federal funds.
  • These workers are at risk because they have no, or very limited, resources to cover food, housing and medical costs.
  • Hotels are revenue generators that benefit Tampa Bay and Florida’s economy through sales tax collections and visitor spending.
  • Hotels cannot operate without a skilled workforce that enables them to maintain a 24/7 schedule.
  • When the time comes to reopen our doors and rehire, we need our employees to be ready to return to work and rebuild our industry.

While hotel general managers and their staffs submit the required documents and forms to DEO, funds are still not forthcoming or, in many cases, claims have been inappropriately denied. In some instances, the basis for the denial is incredibly placed on the hotel. You can imagine the frustration and helplessness hoteliers feel as they make every effort on behalf of their employees with little, if any, success to show for those attempts.

We need your immediate support to help clear up Florida’s inability to process claims. Moreover, there needs to be a communication plan that targets the initial customer – the employer. We are helpless to respond or to provide a status update regarding our employees. If DEO is overwhelmed, we could at least be a secondary source of information. These workers are living in fear of losing their homes or worry they don’t have enough food to feed their families. Shouldn’t the employers, as contributors to the unemployment compensation fund, be receiving an update at the very least?

The HCHMA needs your help now.  We are eager to reopen our doors but we can’t do that without our trained, not strained, staff.

#HelpOurHotelEmployees

 

Bob Morrison

Executive Director

Hillsborough County Hotel & Motel Association

P.O. Box 3298

Tampa, FL 33601-3298

813-833-8311

director@HCHMA.org