Missouri Department of Labor has provided closed captioning transcripts of our videos for your needs.
Department Featured on Top Money Managers - Episode 2
>>LINDA BROTHERTON: Welcome back to Top Money Managers, Saint Louis Edition. I’m Linda Brotherton (ph.sp.). The Director of Communications for the Department of Labor is back with us again this week to discuss how the Department strengthens Missouri’s economy and businesses. We welcome back to the program, Amy Susan (ph.sp.). Good to see you and good morning.
>>AMY SUSAN: Good morning to you. Thanks for having me back.
>>LINDA: Yeah, we’re happy to have you. Amy, most people don’t realize the role the Department of Labor plays in strengthening our economy and how it protects not just the rights of workers but the rights of employers as well. What should we be expecting from the Department of Labor?
>>AMY: Sure. As you just stated, there’s a lot of folks uninformed about what we do. Um, the first and foremost thing is that Missouri is an employment at will state. Which means an employer can hire or fire an employee for any reason as long as it’s not discriminatory and as long as it does not violate a said employment contract. It all has to do with performance. If I don’t like the way you do this work, then it just doesn’t work out for me. So there are choices that a lot of employers do not understand or not aware of. Um, to respond to that, we’ve done a number of things. One thing is that we’ve created the Speakers Bureau, which is a free service for employers, they can call us, they can go online, anything they’re interested in learning about whether it’s unemployment benefits or wage an hour laws or if they’re hiring an youth; there’s certain things they should and should not do.
>>LINDA: So we should expect, Amy that the Department of Labor is actually a tool not just for the individual but for employers that they should be using on a regular basis to help them achieve their goals.
>>AMY: That is correct.
>>LINDA: I think, you know, you say the Department of Labor and it scares people off. They think government agencies are scary, but in fact you--you really are under utilized by many individuals and many employers because of all the programs, like the one you just mentioned that people just don’t know about.
>>AMY: That is so true. And again part of our effort is outreach. We’ve done a lot of outreach campaigns recently and we’re starting to see a response. And more than anything employers are surprised that we are here and we are a utilized free service that they can tap into or call or e-mail us at any time.
>>LINDA: Amy, let’s talk specifically about what the Department of Labor does to strengthen business in Missouri and how it helps the business owner specifically. Let’s directly talk about that.
>>AMY: Sure. One of the things that we do and a prime role that we do is to retain employment. We are, of course, we have the Division of Employment Security within the Department of Labor and we want to regulate employment. We want to maintain it so that our economy thrives. The more people at work, the more money that we’re making, the better schools we have, better traffic infrastructures and so on. So, uh, part of the programs that we have, are one specifically is called Shared Work and that is a free program to any employer who’s faced with a staffing reduction. And typically a solution to a staffing reduction is a lay off. We don’t want them to do that if they can at all avoid it, we are here to help them. And what Shared Work does is rather than say you have 100 employees and you need to lay off 20, will rather than doing that you take the 100 employees and you reduce all of their hours by 20 percent. So they’re sharing the work available, everyone keeps their job, everyone keeps their healthcare benefits, they take their kids to the doctor. They can continue to make their car payment and house payment or mortgage payment and so it helps the business get by.
>>LINDA: Is this the program that other states are actually copying?
>>AMY: This is actually one that we are one of; I think 25 states that are doing this. And other states are looking into doing similar programs. And something that we are doing that’s very, very new is re-employment transition team.
>>AMY: What that is, if an employers knows hey we have to lay off 50 employers (SIC). They call us hopefully, um, the call the State Work Force Agency cuz they’re required to if they have to lay off that many workers. Then we call them, we work with them, we let them know about the Shared Work Program in hopes to prevent future lay offs. But then we have briefings with those employees so that we can transition them to new employment or current jobs that are available in that area as quickly as possible and by doing that their employees are not having to file for unemployment benefits and therefore their UI tax rates are now being increased. So that is our ultimate goal.
>>LINDA: That’s great because so many folks are uneducated. They believe that unemployment benefits are a social welfare program as opposed to an insurance program. We really need to get educated -
>>LINDA: - as a society, as a state, as a community. Explain to us what unemployment really is.
>>AMY: Sure. Well, um, the unemployment benefits program was part of the Social Security Act, not Social Services, Social Security Act -
>>AMY: - in 1935 that President Roosevelt, during the Great Depression. A lot of people don’t know that.
>>AMY: And so at that time legislatures and politicians and exec staff decided that the employment was really the bear of the employers. They were deciding whether or not to hire or fire people. So because of that they decided that employers would be the bearer of the costs, they would have to fund this program. So, like you said, it is like an insurance program. Rather than social welfare, it’s again not that whatsoever. An employer has to pay unemployment taxes into a fund in anticipation of a future lay off. Now if you have no lay offs and you’ve been part of this program for a very long time, you’re gonna have much lower rates.
>>AMY: So, it’s very similar to car insurance. When you have 16-year-olds out on the road -
>>AMY: - you’re going to give them a high premium because they have no experience on the road. You’re gonna expect those bumps and hits on the way.
>>AMY: And their premiums will go up until eventually they hit an age of 20’s, whatnot, I don’t know exactly what it is, but they can see a reduction in their rates and that’s kinda the same philosophy that we have. Is that once you--you’re a new business, you may not know, you’re gonna have some growing pains and shrinking pains.
>>AMY: And so until you kinda have matured and you’re--you’re knowledgeable about the world of economics and whatnot, you know how to run your business -
>>AMY: - successfully then you’re gonna get a better rate and you’re gonna pay less into the unemployment fund. So again it’s anticipation of lay offs only if you need them.
>>LINDA: Got it. Amy, thank you so much for being with us this morning. I appreciate your time and your efforts at the Department of Labor. Stay with us, we’ll be back after this brief message.