Bosses say $600 coronavirus unemployment boost makes reopening harder

About a month after suit-maker Hart Schaffner & Marx furloughed its nearly 250 factory employees, the Des Plaines-based company called them all back to work, marshaling their talents to cut and sew face masks suddenly in high demand to protect against COVID-19.

But there was an unanticipated hurdle: Many employees were making more money on unemployment insurance than they did working. While unemployment benefits usually pay a fraction of a person’s regular wages – 47% in Illinois, up to a cap – people laid off or furloughed amid government-mandated shutdowns are getting an additional $600 per week through July.

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